What does Acts 6:8 mean?
ESV: And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
NIV: Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
NASB: And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
CSB: Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
NLT: Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.
KJV: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
NKJV: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Verse Commentary:
We don't know a lot about Stephen; Scripture does not mention him beyond the context of his story in Acts 6—7. He is a Hellenist Jewish-Christian, meaning he is Jewish, but is not from Jerusalem; he was raised elsewhere in the Roman Empire where the primary language was Greek instead of Aramaic. He is "of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3) and other church members choose him to be one of the first deacons (Acts 6:5). However long he has been a Jesus-follower, he has used his time to good effect; other Hellenist Jews cannot match his wisdom, in large part because he is so submissive to the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:10).

"Wonder" is from the Greek root word teras, and "signs" is from the root word semeion. A wonder is a miracle that reveals a hidden truth, while a sign identifies the miracle-worker as God's messenger. We don't know why the men Stephen is debating refuse to accept the authority represented in the miracles he performs. The reason they give is that Stephen wants to see the temple destroyed. Stephen will succinctly explain why this is a non-issue with a quick recitation of Israel's history (Acts 7:1–50).

The God-endowed protection that God has given the early church in Jerusalem is eroding. The Jewish leadership has arrested and beaten the apostles (Acts 5:17–42). Jesus trained the apostles to expect persecution (John 15:18–20), and it's reasonable to assume the apostles passed on this warning to the new Christians. God knows Stephen's opponents will grow into a mob that will kill him (Acts 7:54–60), but He will effectively use Stephen's sacrifice. The coming persecution will spread Jesus' followers and His gospel message all over the known world.
Verse Context:
Acts 6:8–15 gives a short explanation of why the Jews get angry with Stephen and bring him before the Sanhedrin. Scripture does not record exactly what he says that enrages his audience. When they cannot defeat him with logic, they falsely accuse him of threatening the temple, which is the same charge the Sanhedrin tried to use against Jesus (Mark 14:57–59). Like Jesus, Stephen has said no such thing. And, like Jesus, Stephen's message is far more radical—radical enough for the mob to kill him (Acts 7).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 6 introduces us to a Jesus-follower named Stephen. The apostles affirmed the choice of Stephen, along with six others, to make sure every Christian in Jerusalem has what they need. But Stephen is also a skilled debater. As a Greek-speaking Jew from outside Judea, Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, and modern-day Asia Minor would naturally gravitate toward him. These travelers cannot defeat Stephen's logic, but they reject his message. They falsely accuse Stephen and bring him before the Sanhedrin.
Chapter Context:
Acts 6 introduces us to a Jesus-follower named Stephen. The apostles affirmed the choice of Stephen, along with six others, to make sure every Christian in Jerusalem has what they need. But Stephen is also a skilled debater. As a Greek-speaking Jew from outside Judea, Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, and modern-day Asia Minor would naturally gravitate toward him. These travelers cannot defeat Stephen's logic, but they reject his message. They falsely accuse Stephen and bring him before the Sanhedrin.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/26/2024 5:04:10 PM
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