Introduction: Would you like to do great things for God? Is your
desire to do great things hindered by the fact that your Church
assignment is something ordinary? For example, “soul-winning” is not
your assignment, rather coordinating potluck. This week we turn our
attention to a man who stands out in the potluck crowd when it comes
to witnessing. His assignment was food distribution. Let’s jump into
our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Controversy

    1. Read Acts 6:1. What is the claim of discrimination? (It is
      not a claim based on religion or race, but rather on
      national origin. It appears to be more of a cultural

      1. Do you think the charge is true? Or, is this just
        the kind of false claim that arises from cultural
        differences and hypersensitivity? (We don’t have
        enough information to know.)

    2. Read Acts 6:2-3. Do the twelve disciples believe the
      charge is true? (What they actually decide is that they do
      not want to deal with it. They resolve to set up a group
      of administrators who will be sure that the distribution
      of food is done fairly.)

      1. What are the qualifying traits they are looking for
        in the seven food administrators? (Men who are full
        of the Holy Spirit and wise.)

        1. Why do they need to be wise? (Discrimination
          claims between different cultures is a
          difficult matter. It is hard to know exactly
          how to fix the problem without creating more

    3. Read Acts 6:5. Recall that the original charge was that
      the Greek widows were being neglected. These names are all
      Greek. Is there a lesson in this? (Certainly, having Greek
      Jews involved is important. However, the names may not
      accurately reflect their cultural backgrounds.)

        1. Who did the choosing here? The Twelve? (No. The
          members of the early church. This was not a
          choice made by the leadership.)

          1. Why? (This is further proof the Twelve
            wanted this responsibility taken from
            their shoulders.)

    4. Read Acts 6:4. What will be the focus of the Twelve?
      (Prayer and ministry of the word.)

    5. What lessons should we learn from these four verses? (You
      don’t want complaints to fester. Whether they are true or
      not, you want to address them in some way and not ignore
      them. Letting the complainers have a hand in the
      resolution is important. Responsibility in the Church
      should be focused. If it is too broad, then important
      details may be missed. All those in administration should
      be full of the Holy Spirit, even if they have a seemingly
      mundane task. Being wise is also important.)

    6. Read Acts 6:6-7. My translation states, “So, the word of
      God spread.” Is there a connection between growth and the
      resolution of the controversy? (I think this is what the
      writer has in mind. He wants us to know that resolving
      this problem in the church allowed it to grow.)

  2. Stephen

    1. Read Acts 6:8-10. What is Stephen’s job? (Read Acts 6:2.
      The Twelve were to engage in ministry and Stephen was to
      “wait on tables.”)

      1. Why is Stephen involved in ministry? Has he forgotten
        his job description? Is he invading the work of the
        Twelve? (Nothing in this account suggests that
        Stephen is doing anything wrong. This tells us that
        it is the opportunity of everyone in the church,
        regardless of formal responsibilities, to share the

      2. What other reason do we have to believe that ministry
        is part of Stephen’s proper work? (Verse 10 tells us
        that the Holy Spirit is speaking through Stephen. We
        also read that he does “great wonders and miraculous
        signs.” Clearly, God is promoting Stephen’s ministry

    2. Read Acts 6:11. Stephen’s opponents cannot meet his
      arguments. What do we know about the honesty of the
      charges brought against Stephen? (If a group has to work
      secretly, if they have to “persuade” people to make
      charges, then you know the charges are questionable.)

      1. What lesson do we learn about deciding who is right
        in a debate? (If one side gives up debating the
        merits, and instead uses contrived legal attacks or
        physical attacks, that gives you a clue as to who is

    3. Read Acts 6:12-15. What do you think it means that
      Stephen’s face “was like the face of an angel?”

      1. If you were a member of the Sanhedrin, and the person
        facing charges had a “face like the face of an angel”
        what should you conclude?

    4. Read Acts 7:1-3. How do we know that Stephen is a lawyer?
      (The question presented to him has a “yes” or “no,”
      answer. Instead of answering the question, Stephen goes on
      for another 49 verses!)

    5. I invite you to read the next 49 verses, but for our
      discussion let’s skip down and read Acts 7:54-58. What
      kind of judicial process is this? (Stephen does not answer
      the question posed to him, instead, he outlines the
      history of the relationship of Israel and God. He recites
      that Israel resisted and killed God’s prophets up through
      the killing of Jesus. In response, the crowd becomes angry
      and kills him. This is complete chaos as far as any legal
      process is concerned.)

    6. Read Acts 7:59-60. Why not hold this sin against them?
      Stephen just got through explaining why their ancestors
      and now they were guilty of rebellion and unfaithfulness
      to God. His murder is consistent with the line of sins he
      has just outlined.

      1. Do you think that God holds the murder of Stephen
        against those who killed him in anger? (Read Luke
        11:4. The issue is not whether they were sinning,
        they were. The issue is forgiving those who sin
        against us.)

      2. Have you forgiven those who have sinned against you?

  3. Saul/Paul

    1. Read Acts 8:1. Saul (who is later known as Paul)
      understands the law and he understands the Scriptures. How
      could he approve of Stephen’s murder? (We all do things
      that are irrational because we want a certain outcome.
      Saul thought that the Christians were harming his

      1. Why do you think the apostles stayed in Jerusalem?

      2. Read Acts 1:7-8. How do you think the apostles
        understood this direction from Jesus?

    2. Read Acts 8:2-3. If you had just been converted to
      Christianity, would this make you more or less determined
      to stay with your new faith? (The statement that Saul was
      destroying the church tells us that people were
      intimidated, and perhaps gave up their new beliefs.)

    3. Read Acts 8:4-8. Let’s assume that Satan or his angels are
      inspiring this persecution. How is their strategy working?
      (I think it is backfiring. Instead of destroying the work
      of God, they are spreading it.)

      1. Think about this for a minute. Isn’t this result
        predictable? Does this mean that Satan is not that
        smart? (Read Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:19-20. We
        must not leave the hand of God out of our evaluation.
        He takes things that are meant to be bad and turns
        them into something good. I also believe that Satan’s
        intelligence is clouded by his anger and animosity.)

    4. Read Acts 8:14-17. Is this a reason for the apostles to
      have remained in Jerusalem? (The new church needed
      leadership. It needed a “headquarters.” This allowed the
      people to report back and the Apostles to go to places
      they were needed.)

    5. Friend, if you desire to do great things for God, ask Him
      to fill you with the Holy Spirit and direct the path of
      your life. Why not do that right now?

  4. Next week: The Conversion of Paul.