Here is a Bible study with commentary and a summary on Acts chapter six.
Acts 6:1 “Now in those days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint of the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.”
The disciples and the church had a problem. They had growing pains and had trouble serving the widows themselves, so they said “Choose from among yourselves seven men of good repute, full of wit and wisdom, whom we will appoint to this office. But we will dedicate ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:3-4). This was to ensure that Greek or Hellenistic widows would receive the support they needed, as apparently only Hebrew widows were cared for at this time (Acts 6:1). This could be because the early church was predominantly Jewish. These types of problems come with the growth of the church, and if you read Acts chapter 3 through 5, you can see that the church was growing rapidly at that time, just as it says, “when the disciples increased in number” (Acts 6:1).
Why were Hellenistic widows ignored?
Was it intentional?
What does it mean by requiring these “men to be of good character”?
Acts 6:7 “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
When the church settled the problem of caring for Greek or Gentile widows, the church began another period of rapid growth. The disciples are increasing in great proportion in the city of Jerusalem and even many Jewish priests, not just a few, have come to believe and obey what they have learned from the apostles. When the church grows, it usually means they devote themselves to the apostle’s teachings and care for widows, which to God is pure religion (James 1:17).
Can a church grow if it doesn’t even take care of its own widows?
What does it mean that even “many” Jewish priests became obedient to the faith?
What does it mean that “the word of God continued to increase”?
Acts 6:10-11 “But they could not resist the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. So they secretly instigated men who said, ‘We heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God .
Stephen was a mighty man of God, as it is said he was “full of grace and power, did great wonders and wonders among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. (Acts 6:8-9). It didn’t matter that he was outnumbered or that scholars debated him; no one could resist his wisdom of the scriptures and with the power of the Spirit of God they were no match for Stephen.
What reasoning do you think Stephen used to prove that Jesus is the Christ?
Why did they get up and argue with Stephen?
Do you think that happened in the synagogue?
Acts 6:11-12 “Then they incited men in secret, saying, ‘We heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.’ And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him, seized him and brought him before the council.
The Jews had become so vicious in trying to have Stephen stoned that they went so far as to “Set up false witnesses who say, ‘This man keeps speaking words against this holy place and against the law’ (Acts 6:13), which was obviously false. They were ready to take all measures; giving false testimony before the council, spreading rumors and lies, and even accusing Stephen of speaking against the law of God, which he never did and never would do. some jews “witnesses” even said “we heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses transmitted to us” (Acts 6:14). It is also false because Moses prophesied the coming of Jesus (Deut 18:15-19). They also accused Stephen of blaspheming Moses and God. Notice that they placed Moses before God, indicating that they held the law in higher esteem than they held God. They had their rituals and traditions, and teaching the Jews about Jesus was a threat to them.
What does “the restless people” mean?
Why would they accuse Stephen of blasphemy against God and Moses?
Acts 6:15 “And looking at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
What was there in Etienne’s eyes that seemed to them like the face of an angel? Why did Luke record this passage this way? Was it because he had complete peace over everything? Had the Spirit told Stephen that he would soon be with the Lord? We are never told why he had that look but we can assume he was confident in his upcoming trial. We just don’t know for sure.
Why did Stephen’s face have to look like an angel?
Was it because he had great peace or because he knew he would soon be with the Lord?
Was that why the crowd was “looking at him?”
Acts chapter six is a great chapter because it shows that the church was growing and problems caused by growth were easily solved by the church. Growth is a very good problem to have. Even persecution shows us that the church must have done something right because no one is persecuted unless they tell the truth. It’s so true that the truth will set you free…or really drive you mad. You have both in the Jewish leadership and in the church of God.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Editor of What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.