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Some time later. Both Lipscomb and McGarvey think this is still during the first year of the Gospel Age. either 30, or early 31 A.D. [by the corrected calendar]. There was a quarrel. Notice that somebody was already doing the work of a “church helper” [deacon] (1 Timothy 3:8). But the Greek-speaking Jews were being discriminated against. [Many Jews outside of Palestine adopted the Greek language and some customs.] Their widows were being neglected. The pride of the Palestinian Jews made them neglect the needs of these widows.
So the twelve apostles. This proves that Matthias was counted (Acts 1:26), since Paul had not yet converted to Christ. It is not right for us. Their mission did not allow them time to do this.
So then, brothers, choose. Note the apostles did not do the choosing! Seven men. This many could handle the assistance to the Greek-speaking widows. Who are known to be. Men whom the congregation could respect, and who could be trusted. And we will put them In charge. Compare Titus 1:5. Both church leaders [elders] and church helpers [deacons] are horizontal extensions of the group [local church], appointed to do a job. [Clerks watching the store, while the Boss is away.]
To prayer and the work of preaching. Note the apostles give prayer and preaching equal priority.
So they chose Stephen. He would be the first martyr. Philip. He would later do the work of an evangelist. Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas. Their names do not appear again. Nicolaus. Some try to connect him with the “Nicolaitans in Revelation, but there is no evidence to do this.
And placed their hands on them. McGarvey says: “But all the apostles did was to pray and lay on their hands; hence, this was the ceremony of their appointment.”
And a great number of priests. The unity of the group was preserved, and even priests were becoming “fulfilled Jews” in Christ! [Ezra 2:36-39 speaks of 4,289 priests coming back from Babylon. There would be more at this time.]
Stephen. His name is Greek. He is the first one not an apostle who is said to do miracles and wonders. Philip also had this power (Acts 8:6-7). [Only the apostles and those whom the apostles had “placed their hands on” had this power, as far as the Scripture tells us.] Compare Acts 8:15-19.
Of the synagogue of the Free Men. The Talmud says there were 480 synagogues in Jerusalem. This one was made up of men who had been taken to Rome as slaves, and later set free, who held Roman citizenship. Those who made up this synagogue were “Greek-speaking Jews.” Stephen’s name is Greek, and he probably would begin working with those of his own group.
They could not resist him. They could not refute his arguments. His message was very convincing.
So they bribed some men. They intend to stop what Stephen is doing. Speaking against. They cannot refute his arguments, so they accuse him of blasphemy.
They stirred up the people. By their slander. Up till now, the Christians had been popular for the most part (see Acts 6:7). These “Free Men” try to turn public opinion against Stephen and the Christians. Compare note on Acts 4:2.
This man. Instead of attacking all Christians, they direct their slander against Stephen only. By doing this, they hope to be able to prejudice the people and turn them away from Christ. Compare note on Revelation 12:17. Stephen likely did preach “the close of the Jewish Age and Christ as King.” However, he did not blaspheme either God or Moses.
Fixed their eyes on Stephen. To see how he is reacting to these charges. Like the face of an angel. If his face had been shining with a supernormal light, the Council would have dismissed in awe! It must have been peace and joy which flashed from his eyes! [Lipscomb thinks it was the supernormal glory that lit up the face of Moses. (Exodus 35:30-35).]
These files are public domain.
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16