Bible Stories for Adults
Acts 6 - 7
Welcome and Announcements
Next Week - Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8)
Bible Words to Remember:
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
The Early Christian Community (Acts 4:32-35)
How tight of a community existed in the early Christian church?
What does it mean that they shared everything they had? Did they loan lawnmowers, or what?
Did this communal living become the main focus of this group?
How extensive was the charity within the church?
Charity Problems (Acts 4:36-5:11)
What member helped provide an example to encourage others?
How were the believers shown that charity is to be based on love, not on desire for praise?
How did Jesus tell us not to give for the sake of being praised by men?
Another Charity Problem (Acts 6:1)
What other problem popped up relating to charity in the early church?
Grecian Jews - Those who spoke only Greek (the language of the world)
Note that the first contention in the Christian church was a money matter
Hebraic Jews - Those who spoke Aramaic (likely also spoke Greek)
Why did widows receive a daily food distribution?
1 Timothy 5:3-5
Giving to the needy was a highly respected thing to do among the Jews
Every Friday morning, synagogue members collected donations from market & homes
Distributed to needy that afternoon enough for 2 meals/day for the coming week
Kuppah (Basket) - Weekly distribution fund
Tamhri (Tray) - Daily collection for emergency needs
The Size of the Problem
How big of a problem could this have been?
Acts 2:41, 47b; 4:4; 5:14
Jews from other parts of the world (diaspora) moved to Jerusalem for various reasons
Many did so out of religious yearning to be close to the temple (Zionists)
Many older Jews moved to Palestine to die honorably as a faithful Jew in Israel
Some rabbis said the dead would rise only in Israel
When diaspora Jews died in Israel, their widows were left with no family to care for them
(righteous dead of other lands had to roll back to Israel underground - very unpleasant)
The Solution (Acts 6:2-4)
With twelve apostles to manage the church, why couldn't this be easily corrected?
Were they saying that serving the needy was not important enough for their attention?
1 Corinthians 12:14, 17-18, 27, 29
So how could the needy be cared for?
What would the apostles do with all of the extra time they would now have?
The Result (Acts 6:5-7)
Did the Hebraic Jews stack the deck of these 7 deacons with Hebrews?
What does this show us that the early church understood about Christian life?
How were these first lay ministers inducted into this ministry?
What happened to the church after its first conflict was resolved in this manner?
Note: Nearly 20,000 priests rotated into Jerusalem in 1-week shifts twice per year
Stephen (Acts 6:8-10)
Did any of the seven deacons (servers) have any other spiritual gifts?
With the apostles teaching in Solomon's Colonnade in the temple, where did Stephen teach?
Who was likely a member of the synagogue mentioned here?
How effective was Stephen in this debate?
Was Steven so effective because he had received such good training by the apostles?
If You Can't Beat 'Em, Take 'Em to Court (Acts 6:11-14)
Did Stephen's debaters become Christians or at least honorably concede defeat?
What charges did they present against Stephen?
Who was similarly charged with such false accusations before the Sanhedrin?
The Defense (Acts 6:15-7:1)
How did Stephen respond to these accusations?
Of whom does the appearance of this blasphemer against Moses and God remind us?
How did Jesus respond to the accusations made of Him?
The high priest was able to get Jesus to talk. Who persuaded Stephen to talk?
God is Not Restricted to a Place (Acts 7:2-8)
How does Stephen restate his point that God is everywhere, not just in the temple?
How does he show that God may work in ways we can't understand, but must accept by faith?
How could Abraham accept such a ridiculous promise that wouldn't be realized for 500 years?
God's Men Rejected, Then Accepted (Acts 7:9-36)
Was Stephen accusing the Jews of being the first to reject one chosen by God?
How did God turn this rejection into good?
Was Joseph ever accepted by his brothers?
Who was the next one chosen by God that the Jews rejected?
How did God turn this rejection into good?
Was Moses accepted by the Jews the second time?
The Customs Moses Handed Down (Acts 7:37-50)
What were the customs Moses handed down that Stephen was accused of wanting to change?
The Jews always respected and kept these laws they were trying to protect from Stephen, right?
They must have learned to respect and keep these laws over time, right?
Weren't the Jews right in zealously protecting the temple, the house of God?
But now the temple was God's house and should be treated as such, right?
Speech Summary (Acts 7:51-56)
How did Stephen summarize his speech in his concluding comments?
Did Stephen's speech persuade them to repent and accept Jesus this second time?
How did God bless Stephen for so boldly stepping out in faith and witnessing?
The Prosecution Rests (Acts 7:57-60)
Had the Sanhedrin heard anything like this before?
Did they respond to it better this second time?
Did Stephen apologize for his comments and beg for his life?
What promise did Jesus give that Stephen was the first to realize?
Note: Martyr is Greek for witness
Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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