This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
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The

Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 6

"Among the brethren [1-7], Among the people [8-15]"

 

By this time the church has grown considerably, and by this time it numbers well into the thousands that have joined to it. As the church growns the twelve apostles are getting quite a burden placed upon them.

Acts 6:1 "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration."

"Disciples" means "students", those that were studing the word. This is refering to the Hebrew children that only spoke Greek, which were called "Hellenists"," This is refering to the "daily ministration" of the Word of God, the daily teaching of the doctrines of Christ. These Greek speaking widows could not understand Hebrew in which the teaching took place. This sets the stage for other problems in languages, in which many christians of today are confused over, and that is the speaking of two or more languages, (or tongues) are spoken during a service.

So the problem spoken of here, is in the fact that twelve men could only cover so much area on the ministry, and when they are preaching and teaching, there is simply not time to deal with other matters. Television, and radio did not exist and the mails were not developed as we have it today. They had to move fast whereby they could all be ministered to. It was an impossible task for twelve men.

Acts 6:2 "Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables."

There were certain things that had to be done continually, such as the feeding program, and the serving of communion, these twelve men simply could not do it all. The disciples were saying that it isn't right that we take our mind off the teaching of God's Word, to do these chores. When a person is getting ready to bring forth and teach the Word of God, there should be nothing to stand in the way of the preparation for the teaching.

Acts 6:3 "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business."

Here we have the seven chosen, the biblical number that stands for spiritual completeness. Out of these seven, there will be one man that will be tried by the Sanhedrin, and stoned for stating the teachings of Jesus Christ, and taking a stand before the councils of the world. We are talking about Stephen and the message that he gave. This trial is covered in Acts 7, and very soon after that we will be introduced to Paul.

Remember that Peter and the other eleven of the Apostles were the eye witnesses to the facts concerning to Jesus teaching, and healing while He was walking on earth in the flesh. These were not called deacons at this time, but more like teaching assistants.

Acts 6:4 "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."

This is where the disciples turn the preaching of God's Word from part time to full time. They will not be distracted from this day forward, in the details of the ministry, serving at the tables, or even administring the communion. This will be the duties of those chosen as their assistants.

Acts 6:5 " And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

"Stephen" the first man chosen to assist the twelve, is going to give the most complete plan of salvation, in his trial, that it would be good to remember Acts 7 when you are dealing with other people, giving the salvation plan of the Word of God. It gives the genealogy of our people the seed line of Abraham, and gives a complete account from Abraham to the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven to sit on the right and of the Father.

The word "Stephen" comes from the Greek [Stephanos], and means "a crown". Stephen was a man whose faith is unquestionable. It is also interesting to know the definition of these names. "Philip" means "a lover of horses"; "Prochorus" means "a leader of the chorus"; "Nicanor" means "conqueror"; "Timon" means "valuable"; "Parmenas" means "abiding" one that hangs in their tough; Nicolas" means "victor of the people", and he was a convert from Antioch. A proselyte is a Gentile who was converted to Christianity and was not of Israel. It is interesting what the meanings of the names were of those selected by the multitude to serve them.

Acts 6:6 "Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them."

The Apostles laid their hands on these seven, and asked for God's blessings on them. These men were not made deacons, though in the Greek, their assisting position comes from the same prime as the word deacon.

Acts 6:7 "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

Any time one person cares to participate in the work of the Lord, God blesses that work and causes His Word to grow. Here again is the requirement to receive the Holy Spirit; "To be obedient to God". To be obedient make you a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only. You become a teacher of the word and a follower of all that is taught in the Word of God.

Acts 6:8 "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people."

Stephen was full of the faith and power of the Holy Spirit. It was by that Holy Spirit that was in Stephen that made these great wonders and miracles possible. Just like in Peter's miracles also, in either case the only miracles that are possible are those performed by the Holy Spirit. It is obvious that God had chosen Stephen, and gifted him in teaching also.

Acts 6:9 "Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

"Synagogue" in the manuscripts are plural, there were many of them. These Libertines were former slaves of the Roman government, who had been set free by their masters. During the civil wars many Jews had been enslaved, and afterwards under a decree of Tiberius expelling all Jews from Rome, The Jews were sent back to Palestine and set free. This was about 20 A.D., and these former slaves were called the "Libertines".

All these people who were disputing Stephens authority, were all part of the religious community, and in any church even today when you pick certain ones to lead, there is always others that want to gang up and challenge his authority. They were all Jews who held onto the traditions of the temple. Stephen had just been chosen, so why not pick on Stephen. They felt that if they could disprove Stephen, and make a fool out of him, they could put a stop to this doctrine that was infiltrating the temple.

Acts 6:10 "And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake."

These men that were challenging Stephen were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which Stephen spake; that Spirit was the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is given in Luke 21 in the end generation, when God's elect are delivered up before the "instead of Christ" [Satan, the Antichrist]. Then the Holy Spirit speaking through them will speak in such a fashion that even the gainsayers, that is to say your enemies will be convinced by what you say.

Luke 21:15 "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

So here we have a type, Stephen, using that wisdom of the Holy Spirit that is filling him and giving him the words and wisdom that he spoke.

Acts 6:11 "Then they suborned men, which said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God."

"Suborned men" [instruct privately, instigate] are men with no values, they don't mind perguring themselves and lying in a court of law, when the court will not hold them liable for their falsehoods. The religious community will really disappoint you a great deal, when you take a close look at their doctrines, and try to force a documentation of their foundation. This is exactly what Stephen had done, and this religious body had even gone so far here as to bring in false witnesses to lie in this court of law, the Sanhedrin, to say things that Stephen did not say.

To speak against Moses, means that you are speaking against the law, and they also are bringing charges that Stephen spoke against God. This is a serious charge.

Acts 6:12 "And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,"

Here we have the religious community of the Jews, lead by the Kenites, moving against God's Spirit. The "council" again is the Sanhedrin, the same religious court that Jesus was tried, and lied against with false witnesses, then Peter and the Apostles were brought in before them and they sought how they could murder them, from the last chapter of Acts, and now they are plotting to bring other false witnesses, and plotting to murder Stephen on false charges brought against him.

After a while you start to get the picture that there is something radically different about the religious leaders of that day. They did not conduct themselves after the laws of Moses, and their doctrines had changed so far from the Word of God, that these Kenite religious leaders thought nothing of murdering and using out-right lies to protect their traditions and man made doctrines. The Sanhedrin was corrupted, and only used as a tool to protect their religious form.

Acts 6:13 "And set up false witnesses, which said, "This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:"

"This holy place" is Jerusalem, and the "law" which is to say "Moses".

Acts 6:14 "For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us."

Here is something that you should be careful of; words can be stated in a spiritual sense, that do not apply in the physical sense. An example of the is as Jesus was accused of as stated Matthew 26:61 "And said, "This fellow said, `I am able to destroy the Temple of God, and to build it in three days.' " Jesus spoke these words in a spiritual sense that His body that was the Temple, would be destroyed and in three days That Body would be resurrected and come out of the tomb, forming the "many membered body of Christ".

This same Sanhedrin had heard this accusation on the day before passover, when the tried Jesus as recorded in Matthew 26, and brought in probably the same false witness that accused Jesus to get rid of Stephen. They were just as blind to spiritual matters then as they were on this day with Stephen. However we must also remember that what has happened was all within God's control, and must come to pass, for every thing that happened and word that was spoken was in accordance with the Prophecy within God's Word. This is why Jesus would continue to say, "Have you not heard", "It is written", and so on.

Words spoken can be twisted, and even in todays religious world you will see biblical scholars, are researching the life of this same Jesus of Nazareth. They are not scholars of God's Word because of the following:

First of all they will make statements such as, "It is possible that Jesus was married." This shows the ignorance of those that are not Christians that try to translate the writings of Christian works. Friend, never study under an interpreter of God's Word that is notChristian. They just do not understand the proper translation, and the metaphors and figures of speech that Christians use.

And example of this is is the pure statement that a Christian is betrothed to Christ, all of us are, and once you accept Christ you are part of the bride of Christ. This is a spiritual parable, so to speak, that makes a unity bond with Christ, much as in a marriage. This bond is in the spiritual ties of your soul that lives forever with Christ. When we refer to ourselves as the virgin bride of Christ, is shows our commitment in our patience in waiting for His coming, and that we will not go whoring after any other false religion, or in the case today, the "instead of christ", who is Satan, the Antichrist, which shall come first. No one but a Christian can understand these relationships, and their Spiritual applications, and the understanding is given only by the Holy Spirit.

So with this in mind, when it talks about Mary Magdalene being betrothed to Christ, in the physical sense it means that they were engaged to be married. Friend there are many others that were also betrotherd to Christ, and that includes you, if you are a Christian.

So you see in their ignorance, these critics [and there is nothing high about them in their stupidity] of Stephens day are no difference that the critics of our day, they are playing on words of the false witnesses. In these latter days we will have an onslaught of new findings by these critics, all given to draw all Christians under on religious blanket and away from the studing of God's Word. It is happening in our generation, as the preparations are being made for the one world religious order that will give authority to Satan himself, ruling as the "instead of Christ".

This term "Antichrist" is also misused from the original manuscripts. "Anti" in the Greek comes from the Greek word "Anti," also, and is # 473 in Strongs Greek dictionary. "a prime particle; opposite, i.e. instead, or because of, or in addition to..." Antichrist will come, and will be accepted instead of the true Christ, because those accepting him will not know the difference. They will be blind to the identity of Satan because they have been taught to accept the first Christ in their traditions, such as the rapture theory. Their false shepherds will lead their flocks to the "instead of Christ". This is possible because the Christians just will not know the signs of the times, nor the order of the trumpets. They are taught confusion, and are satisfied to be sweet talked Sunday after Sunday, instead of being prepared for the great deceptions that will come upon the entire world.

Until you know the doctrine of Christ you are not fit, nor do you have the knowledge to interpret the writings of Jesus Christ. You simply do not have the ears to hear, nor the eyes to see and understand His teachings. When you make statements under the title of scholar and in name of Jesus, and you are not a Christian, you deserved to be nailed to the barn door. That is what happened here to Stephen, they made statements that they had no ideas of their true meanings. You can place "scholar" to anyone, even old baseball players are given doctors degrees for their teaching kids how to throw a ball, these days.

Acts 6:15 "And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel."

Stephen sat there before the Sanhedrin in that court room, and in his face you could see the Holy Spirit beaming in his face. He knew what He was about to face, and it illuminated him spiritually. Stephen will give them the knowledge that they will not have the power to gainsay against. This is a gift from God from the Holy Spirit, and remember back in verse five? "...and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,..." Faith brings action, and that action brings on trust in the Holy Spirit. Then it is that Holy Spirit that does the speaking through the mouth of Stephen.

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