At this time, when the number of believers was increasing rapidly, the Greek-speaking believers started arguing with the Aramaic-speaking believers.* They complained that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.
The twelve apostles called all the believers together, and told them, “It's not appropriate for us to give up spreading the word of God so we can wait at tables. Brothers, choose from among you seven trustworthy men full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will hand this responsibility over to them. We ourselves will give our full attention to prayer and the ministry of spreading the word.”
Everybody was happy with the arrangement, and they chose Stephen, (a man full of trust in God and of the Holy Spirit), Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus (originally a Jewish convert from Antioch). These men were presented to the apostles who prayed for them and placed their hands on them in blessing. The word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem greatly increased, with a large number of priests committing themselves to trusting in Jesus.
Stephen, full of grace and God's power, performed wonderful miracles among the people. But some started arguing with him. They were from the synagogue calledthe Free,” as well as Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia Minor. 10 But they weren't able to stand against Stephen's wisdom or the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 So they bribed some men to say, “We heard this man blaspheme Moses, and God too!”
12 They stirred up the people, and together with the elders and the teachers of the law, they came and arrested him. They brought him before the council, 13 and called false witnesses who testified against him.
This man is always slandering the holy Temple and the law,” they said. 14 “We've heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple, and will change the laws§ we received from Moses.”
15 Everyone sitting on the council looked closely at Stephen, and his face shone like the face of an angel.
* 6:1 Literally, “Hellenists” and “Hebrews.” 6:9 Presumably a synagogue made up of former slaves. 6:13 Literally, “this holy place,” also in 6:14. § 6:14 Also translated “customs”; however in the context this has far more to do with legal and ceremonial requirements.