1 Now during the days when the disciples were multiplying in number [in Jerusalem. See verse 7], some Greek-[speaking] Jews began to complain to the Hebrews that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution [of food]. 2 So, the twelve apostles called the whole group of disciples together and said to them, "It is not right that we should neglect preaching the word of God in order to serve meals [to people]. 3 Brothers, select from among you seven men with good reputations, who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to take care of this matter. 4 But we will continue earnestly in prayer and the preaching of God's word." 5 This arrangement pleased the whole group, so they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolaus, a proselyte [i.e., convert to the Jewish religion] from Antioch. 6 [Then] they presented these men to the apostles, who prayed for them while placing their hands on them [to signify their appointment].
7 So, the message of God increased [in its influence] and the disciples multiplied in number greatly in Jerusalem, [so that even] a large number of [Jewish] priests became obedient to [the message of] the faith.
8 And Stephen [i.e., one of the seven men chosen to minister to widows, verse 5], who was full of [God's] favor and power, performed great wonders and [miraculous] signs in front of the [Jewish] people. 9 But several men from the synagogue, made up of freed slaves from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and Asia, began arguing with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up to the wisdom and [power of] the Holy Spirit by which Stephen spoke.
11 Then they enlisted men to say [i.e., to testify falsely against Stephen, verse 13], "We heard him criticizing Moses and [even] God." 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the teachers of the law of Moses and searched for him, seized him and brought him before the Council. 13 They had arranged for the false witnesses to say, "This man will not stop speaking against the Temple and the law of Moses, 14 for we [ourselves] heard him saying that this Jesus from Nazareth would destroy the Temple and change the customs handed down to us by Moses." 15 Then, as all the Council members stared at Stephen, his face appeared to them like an angel's.