More people trusted Christ and were added to the church, but sadly some Greek speaking Jews (“Hellenists,” v. 1) felt their widows were deliberately neglected while other Jewish widows (“Hebrews”) were being taken care of. The apostles thus addressed the church body about the issue (v. 2) and gave guidelines to select godly men to take care of this real need (vv. 3-4). The church did so (v. 5), publicly and formally setting such men apart for this work (“laid hands on them,” v. 6). The result was the continued spread of the gospel (v. 7).
One of the men chosen to so serve, Stephen, powerfully preached the gospel (v. 8). Unbelieving Jews failed to biblically rebuke Stephen’s preaching (vv. 9-10), so they resorted to slander (v. 11), emotionalism (v. 12a), physical abuse (v. 12b), and lies (vv. 13-14).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- It is easy to allow attitudes and prejudices you had before you were a Christian continue to influence you as a Christian (v. 1). You must do your part to set such aside, and the church must do its part to minister to everyone in the body (vv. 2-6). Do your part!
- The church must be involved in the work of the church. Leadership must inform the congregation of the issues and give Scriptural direction. When these things happen the church body is edified, and the gospel goes forth. Do your part!
- Organization and structure exist for ministry to the body, not the other way around! While there sadly will always be problems in churches and leadership, the problem is not with Christ’s church as he established and ordered it, but with sinners.
- Opposition to the cause of Christ never has a biblical “leg” to stand on, and never follows godly processes and practices. Don’t be surprised when attacks and slander come, and don’t respond sinfully. Be controlled by faith, grace, and the Holy Spirit. Be more concerned about the name and reputation of Christ than your own.