6:1 Now in those 1 days, when the disciples were growing in number, 2 a complaint arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews 3 against the native Hebraic Jews, 4 because their widows 5 were being overlooked 6 in the daily distribution of food. 7 6:2 So the twelve 8 called 9 the whole group 10 of the disciples together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to wait on tables. 11 6:3 But carefully select from among you, brothers, 12 seven 13 men who are well-attested, 14 full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge 15 of this necessary task. 16 6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 6:5 The 17 proposal pleased the entire group, so 18 they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, with 19 Philip, 20 Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a Gentile convert to Judaism 21 from Antioch. 22 6:6 They stood these men before the apostles, who prayed 23 and placed 24 their hands on them. 6:7 The word of God continued to spread, 25 the number of disciples in Jerusalem 26 increased greatly, and a large group 27 of priests became obedient to the faith.
6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs 28 among the people. 6:9 But some men from the Synagogue 29 of the Freedmen (as it was called), 30 both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, 31 stood up and argued with Stephen.
1 tn Grk “these.” The translation uses “those” for stylistic reasons.
2 tn Grk “were multiplying.”
3 tn Grk “the Hellenists,” but this descriptive term is largely unknown to the modern English reader. The translation “Greek-speaking Jews” attempts to convey something of who these were, but it was more than a matter of language spoken; it involved a degree of adoption of Greek culture as well.
sn The Greek-speaking Jews were the Hellenists, Jews who to a greater or lesser extent had adopted Greek thought, customs, and lifestyle, as well as the Greek language. The city of Alexandria in Egypt was a focal point for them, but they were scattered throughout the Roman Empire.
4 tn Grk “against the Hebrews,” but as with “Hellenists” this needs further explanation for the modern reader.
5 sn The care of widows is a major biblical theme: Deut 10:18; 16:11, 14; 24:17, 19-21; 26:12-13; 27:19; Isa 1:17-23; Jer 7:6; Mal 3:5.
6 tn Or “neglected.”
7 tn Grk “in the daily serving.”
sn The daily distribution of food. The early church saw it as a responsibility to meet the basic needs of people in their group.
8 sn The twelve refers to the twelve apostles.
9 tn Grk “calling the whole group…together, said.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενοι (proskalesamenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
10 tn Or “the multitude.”
11 tn Grk “to serve tables.”
12 tn It is not clear from a historical standpoint (but it is unlikely) that women would have been involved in the selection process too. For this reason the translation “brothers” has been retained, rather than “brothers and sisters” (used in contexts where both male and female believers are clearly addressed).
13 sn Seven. Jewish town councils often had seven members (Josephus, Ant. 4.18.14 [4.214]).
14 tn Or “are of good reputation” (BDAG 618 s.v. μαρτυρέω 2.b).
15 tn The translation “put in charge” is given by BDAG 492 s.v. καθίστημι 2.
16 tn Grk “of this need”; translated “necessary work” or “needed task” by L&N 42.22.
17 tn Grk “And the.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
18 tn The translation “so” has been used to indicate the logical sequence in English.
19 tn “With” is smoother English style for an addition like this. Because of differences between Greek and English style, καί (kai), which occurs between each name in the list, has not been translated except preceding the last element.
21 tn Or “a proselyte.”
23 tn Literally this is a participle in the Greek text (προσευξάμενοι, proseuxamenoi). It could be translated as a finite verb (“and they prayed and placed their hands on them”) but much smoother English results if the entire coordinate clause is converted to a relative clause that refers back to the apostles.
sn Who prayed. The prayer indicates their acceptance and commissioning for ministry (cf. Deut 34:9).
24 tn Or “laid.”
25 tn Grk “kept on spreading”; the verb has been translated as a progressive imperfect.
27 tn Grk “a great multitude.”
sn A large group. Many Jews, even some religious leaders, were responding.
28 tn The miraculous nature of these signs is implied in the context. Here the work of miracles extends beyond the Twelve for the first time.
29 sn A synagogue was a place for Jewish prayer and worship, with recognized leadership (cf. Luke 8:41). Though the origin of the synagogue is not entirely clear, it seems to have arisen in the postexilic community during the intertestamental period. A town could establish a synagogue if there were at least ten men. In normative Judaism of the NT period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present (see the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2).
30 tn Grk “the so-called Synagogue of the Freedmen.” The translation of the participle λεγομένης (legomenh") by the phrase “as it was called” is given by L&N 87.86. “Freedmen” would be slaves who had gained their freedom, or the descendants of such people (BDAG 594-95 s.v. Λιβερτῖνος).
31 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.