Stephen and Others Chosen to Serve
6:1Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews,1 because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 6:2And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables. 6:3Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 6:4But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word. 6:5And 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 Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch; 6:6whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them.
- What difference exists between the "Grecian Jews" and the "Hebrews"? The former represent the religious thoughts that are derived from the reasoning faculty or the intellect, the latter the religious thoughts that are founded on the moral law. These two realms of life should be in harmony.
False Accusation Against Stephen
6:8And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people. 6:9But there arose certain of them that were of the synagogue called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and Asia,1 disputing with Stephen. 6:10And they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake. 6:11Then they suborned men, who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.2 6:12And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes,3 and came upon him, and seized him, and brought him into the council, 6:13and set up false witnesses, who said, This man ceaseth not to speak words against this holy place, and the law: 6:14for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered unto us. 6:15And all that sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
- What do the Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and the Cilicians represent? These represent aggregations of thoughts that act according to impulse. Such thoughts are usually opposed to any new inspiration that may awaken in consciousness.
- Explain the cause of the disturbance between these aggregations of thoughts and the reasoning faculty (Stephen). When the reasoning faculty (Stephen) receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the whole mental realm is quickened with spiritual inspiration. The old states of consciousness seek to counteract the spiritual illumination; they are "not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit"--hence the mental disturbance.
- What do the elders and the scribes symbolize? The elders symbolize leading Pharisaical religious thoughts which are classed as having authority; the scribes symbolize that in our consciousness which records the standard beliefs of our inherited religious tendencies.
Following Entry: Acts 7