A friend told me she struggles with reading the scriptures because the words all blend together. She doesn’t know how to bring the scriptures alive for her.
Bringing the scriptures alive can mean something different to each person. The best way for scriptures to come alive, of course, is to pray and ask the Lord for the Holy Ghost’s guidance and instructions.
But I told her I’d share the way it comes alive for me as I study and what questions come up as I read. I try to ask lots of questions to stimulate ideas on how to find and apply the lessons in the verses. I look for patterns. I don’t always pursue answers to the questions that come up, but I generally will think about them for a moment to see if I can answer them through the Holy Ghost’s promptings, other scriptures, or logically.
Again, the cool thing about personal study is it’s based on your experiences and what matters to you. But I love hearing other people’s insights and learn from their thoughts and the questions they ask, so I hope this can be beneficial to my friend and you. I’d love to read your thoughts and insights on Acts 6 in the comments!
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their were in the daily .
Multiplied reminded me of multiply and replenish. The church was multiplying. Was it replenishing? How does this relate to God’s commandment to Adam and Eve?
Greeks murmuring. How did they even know what was happening in another congregation? What’s the impact of this murmuring?
I looked up “murmuring” in Bible Hub’s Strong’s Concordance and the word means “a muttering, murmuring, grumbling.” Of course, I thought of Laman and Lemuel. The Church was trying to build Zion. Many had consecrated all. Some had withheld part and died for their deceptions.
In the latter-days, the Saints failed to build Zion. The Lord said the reason why was because “there were jarrings, and , and , and , and and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.”
The widows in a consecrated society really shouldn’t be neglected. Why were they neglected? How would the Apostles fix the problem?
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of , full of the Holy Ghost and , whom we may appoint over this .
I love numbers, so 7 stands out. Why 7?
Honest, full of the Holy Ghost, and wisdom. The previous chapter referenced dishonest Ananais and Sapphira’s attempts to feign righteousness. The leaders would need wisdom to discern members’ needs.
Full of the Holy Ghost. This principle has consumed my personal study times. What does it mean to be full of the Holy Ghost? A baptism of fire and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost? More? Less?
The Greek usages for “full” include abounding in, complete, and completely occupied with.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the of the word.
5 ¶ And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they Stephen, a man full of faith and of the , and , and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
Multitude reminded me of the “multiplied” in verse 1.
Stephen means “crown.” He was full of faith. Had he received the fullness?
Philip means “horse-loving.”
Prochorus is from words meaning “before” and “a dance or chorus.”
Nicanor is possibly from words meaning “to conquer or prevail” and “a man.”
Timon means “a valuing, a price.” Not the character from The Lion King which always comes to mind when I read this verse.
Parmenas means “constant.”
Nicolas means “people’s victory.”
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they their on them.
Who does the “they” in “they had prayed” refer to?
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the were obedient to the faith.
The word increased. It multiplied. Disciples multiplied.
“A great company … were obedient to the faith.” Not all? Was this really significant to the growth of the church in general?
8 And Stephen, full of faith and , did great wonders and among the people.
Again “full.” I wish we had a record of his wonders and miracles. The power and authority exist today. Are we full of faith and power as a people? Am I?
In Acts 6, full and multiplied are my two pattern words. Full and multiplied stands before lack and disputing.
9 ¶ Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the , and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, with Stephen.
“Disputing.” Grumbling. Murmuring. Envying.
10 And they were not able to resist the and the spirit by which he spake.
Why did they eventually resist then?
Alma 35:3 And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their . ; therefore they would not hearken unto the words
11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak words against Moses, and against God.
Suborned = bribe or otherwise induce (someone) to commit an unlawful act such as perjury. They had to do this because of the lack of any witnesses.
12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
Elder is an office in the priesthood. We just read that a great company of priests were obedient to the faith. What about these men? Did they feel obedient to their faith? Who was right or were both wrong? These stories cause me to regularly inspect my heart. I may be going through correct motions, but be totally out of alignment with the Lord.
Stirring up the people is so visual to me. Not only are these men inciting dissent and division, but the people are wishy-washy themselves. I see liquid in a blender or cookie dough in a bowl being mixed. All the ingredients are being acted upon by me, the stirrer.
Lehi taught his sons “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.”
Do I let others stir me up? Or do I act for myself in body and mind? Do I stir up others through grumbling or self-righteousness or division?
Satan stirs up hearts to contention or discouragement or division. So many examples of the impacts of being stirred up in the Book of Mormon.
13 And set up , which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the which Moses delivered us.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the of an .
ALL saw his angelic face. Those “wicked” men saw an angel. How did they know what the face of an angel looked like? Would we know what the face of an angel looked like? The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels. Do angels minister to us?
If they all saw it, why would they still proceed to stone Stephen? Laman and Lemuel saw an angel and still murmured. Nephi saw the same angel and followed God.
Was Stephen being transfigured or translated before His vision of the Father and the Son and the people all saw it?
Other examples of faces like angels:
Matthew 17: 1-2 Jesus taketh And was before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light., James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Helaman 5:36 [And] behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they didexceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld.
Exodus 34: 29-30, 33, 35 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the Moses while he talked with him. not that the skin of his faceof testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that
And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
Mosiah 13:5-6 Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord. And he spake with and authority from God;