Introduction: So far this quarter we have discussed who
should witness, how we should witness, and what we should
witness. This week we turn our attention to real, live,
Bible witnesses. Let’s dive in and see what we can learn
from their examples!

  1. Stephen

    1. Read Acts 6:1-4. What was the problem among the
      early disciples described here? (Two problems.
      First, certain widows were not getting their
      proper allotment of food. Second, and worse, this
      shows dissension among the group – perhaps malice
      among those who distributed the food and certainly
      a dispute among nationality lines.)

      1. Although this story shows us problems, does it
        also reveal something good? (It shows us the
        number of Christians was greatly growing and
        it shows the Christian community was daily
        feeding its widows.)

      2. Who do you think was distributing the food at
        the time? The Twelve, or others? (From the
        way verse 2 is written, it appears others.
        However, verse 3 reveals that the Twelve had
        ultimate administrative responsibility over
        this area.)

        1. Does this mean some people got fired from
          their food distribution jobs? Does it
          mean the Twelve were not doing an
          adequate administrative job? (It probably
          means both to some degree. However, the
          context makes clear any failure of the
          Twelve was due to overburden based on the
          growing membership.)

          1. What does this teach us about jobs
            in our church?

      3. Who solved the problem? (The Twelve came up
        with the overall idea. The members chose the

        1. Does that teach us anything about
          organizing our witness today?

      4. These verses are commonly accepted as a
        description of the first deacons of the
        church. What criteria did the Twelve set up
        for these deacons? (Wise and full of the Holy

        1. Does that make sense – given the nature
          of the problem? Why?

    2. Let’s read on. Acts 6:5-7. Did the proposal solve
      the problem?

      1. Does your church suffer from a lack of
        organization? Some are overburdened and
        others are not helping?

        1. Is this just an annoyance or is this a
          critical matter that affects the ability
          of your church to grow? Do you think the
          growth described in verse 7 is due to the
          improved organization of the early church
          for witnessing?

      2. Notice the way Stephen is described among the
        new deacons. Why does he get special mention
        and the others do not? (Stephen must have
        stood out among the new deacons.)

    3. Let’s read on. Acts 6:8-10. I thought Stephen’s
      job was food distribution. What is he doing here?

      1. Was Stephen doing a good job or a poor job?
        Is the fact that you create opposition a
        tribute to your effectiveness or a tribute to
        your lack of tact? (It could be a lack of tact
        in some cases, but not here. Look at the
        glowing description of Stephen. We were
        previously told (v.5) he was “full of faith
        and the Holy Spirit,” we are now told (v.8) he
        is “full of God’s grace and power” and “did
        great wonders and signs.”)

        1. What do you think were Stephen’s “great
          wonders and miraculous signs.”

        2. Some tend to shy away from “faith
          healers” because of a concern about
          trickery. Is Stephen an example for us
          in this aspect of witnessing? Should we
          pray to do “great wonders and miraculous

        3. Should we pray for great argument skills,
          or are we already defeated if we argue?

          1. Does the merit of arguing vary
            depending on the audience?

      2. How important (v.10) was the involvement of
        the Holy Spirit in defeating the arguments of
        the “opposition?”

        1. How important is the Holy Spirit in your
          witnessing activities?

        2. Should you ask the Holy Spirit to give
          you the right words to witness? Should
          this be a part of your prayer each

    4. Read Acts 6:11-15. We just learned (v.10) that
      the “opposition” could not win the theological
      debates with Stephen. Are verses 11-14 the usual
      result of such failures? (Instead of better
      arguments, they turned to false charges.)

    5. What are the charges brought against Stephen? Do
      these sound familiar? (Read Matthew 26:59-61.)

    6. When people lie about you, when they treat you
      roughly, does your face ( Acts 6:15) look “like the
      face of an angel?”

      1. Do you think his judges missed Stephen’s
        looks? (The text says they looked at him
        “intently.” They obviously noticed.)

        1. What do you think was going through the
          minds of those judges looking at Stephen?

    7. If you have time, read the legal answer Stephen
      made to the charges in Acts 7:1-53. Let’s read on
      after his argument in Acts 7:54-60. After this
      stirring, Spirit-led argument, the hearers all
      said, “You’re right! We have resisted the Holy
      Spirit. We repent!” Right?

      1. Why did they (v.57) cover their ears? (Stephen
        has just said that he saw Jesus in heaven.
        This would be very bad news to someone who
        helped kill Jesus.)

      1. What does this teach us about witnessing?
        Results are a good measure of the strength of
        your witness?

      2. Why did the “opposition” resort to violence?
        (The last resort of a failed argument is

      3. Imagine being hit by stones. Would you feel
        like praying Stephen’s prayer found in verse

        1. Do you feel like you are “hit by stones”
          from time to time in your witnessing?

          1. Do you react as Stephen did?

        2. What will it take to get us to the verse
          60 attitude in our witnessing?

  1. Mark

    1. Read Acts 12:25, Acts 13:13 and Acts 15:36-38.
      John Mark left Paul and Barnabas and returned
      home. Why, in a lesson about examples of
      witnesses, do we have someone who quit? Someone
      Paul calls a “deserter?”

      1. Stephen gave up his life in his witnessing,
        John Mark just quit his witnessing. Is there
        room somewhere between these two extremes for
        you? Do you feel you might fit in as a

    2. Read Acts 15:39-40. Are witnesses allowed to
      disagree and argue?

      1. Why do you think Barnabas was willing to split
        up with Paul over this? (Read Colossians 4:10.
        Blood is thicker than water!)

        1. Was Barnabas right in standing up for his
          cousin? (We have Paul in Colossians 4
          telling the church to welcome John Mark.)

    3. Read 2 Timothy 4:11. Paul is now asking for John
      Mark to help him! Do you think both Paul and John
      Mark had resentments to overcome before they could
      work together? (Paul had strong feelings about
      John Mark deserting him before. John Mark knew
      that Paul did not want him along. Good witnesses
      put away harsh feelings towards each other.)

    4. Friend, these texts show us the extreme example of
      Stephen and the more common problems of
      discouragement and arguing among those who
      witness. There is room here for you. Will you
      pray to be a witness?

  2. Next Week: The Tools for Witnessing.