On this Wednesday, October 6th, we read through the 6th chapter of the Book of Acts. For a printable version of this study, click HERE
Read Acts Chapter 6
What stands out to you as you read this chapter?
Are there any words or phrases that you feel are key ideas in this chapter?
What other features do you wish you knew more about (culture, religion, customs, etc.) in order to help you understand this chapter?
How do you think this chapter fits in the larger story of Acts and the Bible as a whole?
ACT OUT: How does the Holy Spirit want to use this text in your life, for others or for yourself?
It’s obvious from the last part of chapter 5 that the apostles had a unique job description. Did you catch Acts 5:41, that the apostles who had been arrested and whipped (“flogged”) were rejoicing, having been counted worthy to suffer disgrace in Jesus’ name? Their reluctance to become administrators in Acts 6:2-4 should be understood in that light. Staying on mission, they opened space for a new office to be created, the office of deacon.
The seven men chosen and set apart (Acts 6:6) were to share in gospel ministry, not just help manage an organizaLon. Immediately upon their ministry’s beginning, ethnic tensions were eased (Acts 6:1) and the word of God spread, growing the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:7). Luke lists them by name (Acts 6:5). One of them, Stephen, seems to have had the grace, gifts, and ministry you’d expect to see in an apostle. His fate was to be that of an apostle as well.
Stephen is known as the first Christian martyr. It seems strange to us, but Luke means to connect Stephen’s martyrdom not only with the sufferings of the apostles, but with the suffering and glory of the risen Christ. Did you notice the similarities between the details of Stephen’s accusation, arrest, and trial and that of Jesus in the Gospels? How then should we think of our own suffering and spiritual opposition? As Stephen stood before the council, his face shone with the radiance of Christ’s glory (Acts 6:15).
Prayer: Suffering Savior, thank you for providing for your children in great and small ways. Thank you for deacons who picture your service and sacrifice. Glorious Father, empower me by your Spirit; help me to rejoice in trouble and never back down from the testimony of Jesus on my lips. Amen.