Chapter six points out the second of the two major internal issues. Not only did personal pride and scandal attack the Church; they also had to deal with “church politics” and racial struggles. After some time had passed, the apostles were bombarded with complaints from the Greek-speaking Jews. Their widows were being overlooked while the Hebrew-speaking widows were carefully cared for. The apostles knew this could greatly damage the Church, so they began to add structure, specifically a group of seven men who served under the apostles’ direction to make sure all the widows were served. As the church grew, the apostles needed to stay focused on the Word and prayer (Acts 6:1-6).
Verse seven contains the first of six “progress reports” Luke provided in Acts. Thus, we arrive at the first break, the church still growing yet unknowingly headed for her first major tragic blow.
One of the chosen seven men was Stephen, who is described as “A MAN FULL OF FAITH AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…FULL OF GRACE AND POWER” (Acts 6:5, 8). He was apparently a powerful preacher, and the Holy Spirit used him to perform many miracles alongside his preaching (Acts 6:9-14). This resulted in opposition against him personally. Even though he was not one of the Twelve, some foreign Jews (Asian, Egyptian, and Greek) had him arrested and produced false witnesses against him, much like they did against Jesus, accusing him of treason against God’s Law. Luke included a wonderful little note that, as he stood before them, Stephen’s face appeared angelic (Acts 6:15). What that means exactly is unclear, but they somehow knew that a messenger of God was standing before them.