Acts 6

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Acts 6
Papyrus 8 - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin inv. 8683 - Acts of the Apostles 4, 5 - verso.jpg
Acts 5:2–9; 6:1-6 on the verso side of Papyrus 8 (4th century).
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5

Acts 6 is the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records the ordination of the first seven deacons and the work of one of them, Stephen. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[1]


Acts 4:31–37; 6:8-15 on the recto side of Papyrus 8 (4th century).

The original text was written in Koine Greek and is divided into 15 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Appointment of the Seven (6:1-7)

In this part Luke provides 'a brief glimpse into the inner workings of the church', bracketed with 'two summary verses' (5:42; 6:7).[3] The candidates to perform the care functions in the community are marked out as 'full of the Spirit' (verses 3, 5), and 'the transmission of authority from the apostles' is 'very deliberately assured through prayer and the laying on of hands' (verse 6).[3]

Verse 5

And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,[4]

All the selected seven men have Greek names (verse 5) suggesting a 'diaspora connection', although many Palestinian Jews at the time also spoke Greek.[3]

Stephen on trial (6:8–7:1)

One of the seven, Stephen, soon gets into dispute, not with the temple hierarchy, but with members of a group of diaspora synagogues in Jerusalem (6:9).[3]

Verse 9

Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.[5]
  • "Synagogue of the Freedmen" (KJV: "synagogue of the Libertines"): A particular synagogue in Jerusalem which is attended by former slaves, or "freemen", and may include their descendants.[6] The word "Freedmen" or ""libertine" is from a Latin title libertini indicating "a group of Jews of Italian origin who were now settled in Jerusalem" and this term is also known from Latin sources, such as Tacitus, Annals, 2:85.[3] The Theodotus inscription provides the evidence that 'there was at least one Greek-speaking synagogue in Jerusalem in the first century'.[3]

Verse 14

[False witnesses from the Synagogue of the Freedmen said]: "for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us."[7]
  • "This Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place": The words of the accusation may come in part from John 2:19, partly on the prediction in Matthew 24:2, which 'Stephen must have known, and may well have reproduced'.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  2. ^ Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Alexander 2007, p. 1036.
  4. ^ Acts 6:5 NKJV
  5. ^ Acts 6:9 NKJV
  6. ^ Hunter, S.F., "Libertines", International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1939
  7. ^ Acts 6:14 NKJV
  8. ^ Ellicott, C. J. (Ed.) Ellicott's Bible Commentary for English Readers. Acts 6. London : Cassell and Company, Limited, [1905-1906] Online version: (OCoLC) 929526708. Accessed 28 April 2019.


External links

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