|Acts 6:1-8 |
1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Greek Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food.1
2 Then the twelve called all the disciples to them, and said, "It is not reasonable that we should neglect the word of God, and serve tables."
3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of honest reputation and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint to oversee this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
5 And their saying pleased the whole multitude; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, as well as Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus a convert from Antioch.
6 These men were brought before the apostles; and when the apostles had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God increased; the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
8 Now Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
1 The widows and orphans had previously been supported by the tithes collected by the Levite priesthood. When a Jew joined the Christian believers, all support from the Jewish temple was lost. Coupled with the fact that the gospel was more easily accepted by the poor, the early Church was filled with many in need of the necessities of life — including widows. Then a famine occurred, which struck the poor particularly hard. This is why Paul was later insisting money be collected from contributions of the churches in Asia — to support the brothers in Jerusalem.