Stephen's Crown

A man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Acts 6:5

14 Reasons To Rejoice

Sunday, August 29, 2010
14 Reasons To Rejoice [1 Peter 1:1-6]

1. We are God's elect (chosen)
2. We are strangers in this world
3. We have been sanctified by the Spirit
4. We have been sprinkled by the blood of Jesus
5. Jesus is Christ and Lord
6. God the Father has abundant Mercy
7. We have been given new birth
8. We have a living hope.
9. Jesus Christ is risen
10. We have an inheritance
11. Our inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and will not fade away
12. Our inheritance is kept in heaven
13. We are shielded by God's power
14. Our salvation is secure

Stephen's Crown

Saturday, August 21, 2010
It is noteworthy that there have always been those faithful believers whose love for and commitment to the Lord seems to shine through so greatly that others around them notice.

Stephen was such a man. Stephen, whose Grecian name means "crown," and hence the name of this Bible Study Blog. Stephen was "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts. 6:5).

I was so encouraged by the testimony of Stephen. How that even when no one would listen, he would still preach and share the Gospel. The Apostle Paul may arguably be the best Apostle there was, but it was the faithful testimony of Deacon Stephen that influenced the great ministry of the Apostle Paul. It was only fitting to start this Bible Study blog with Deacon Stephen, this faithful disciple of God whose testimony still impacts the lives of believers even today.

Although the name of this Bible Study blog is Stephen's Crown, the studies will not be limited to only one faithful character, but to faithful characters in the Bible whose testimonies shine through even to this day.

Each time a faithful character is introduced on this blog, ask the question, "What can I learn his/her faithfulness?"

May this Bible study blog be a source of blessing and encouragement to each one who reads it.

Stephen's Persecutor: Saul Of Tarsus

In Acts 7:58, one man among Stephen's persecutors is prominently named: Saul (of Tarsus). Saul would later on become the 13th Apostle. But before looking into that, let's take first take a look at the dark side of Stephen's Persecutor.

Saul was born in Tarsus in Cilicia around A.D. 1–5 in a province in the southeastern corner of modern day Tersous, Turkey. He was of Benjaminite lineage and Hebrew ancestry. His parents were Pharisees—fervent Jewish nationalists who adhered strictly to the Law of Moses—who sought to protect their children from “contamination” from the Gentiles. Anything Greek was despised in Saul’s household, yet he could speak Greek and passable Latin. His household spoke Aramaic, a derivative of Hebrew, which was the official language of Judea. Saul’s family were Roman citizens but viewed Jerusalem as a truly sacred and holy city.

Stephen: The First Martyr

Saturday, August 14, 2010
Acts 7 records the preaching of Deacon Stephen. In this chapter, Stephen reminds the Jews of their faithful patriarch, Abraham, and how God had led him from a pagan land into the land of Israel, where He made a covenant with him that was still in effect. He preached of the journey of his people, through Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt to their deliverance by Moses 400 years later. He brought to mind how Moses had met God in the wilderness of Midian in a burning bush, and Deacon Stephen explained how God had empowered Moses to lead His people from idolatry and slavery to freedom and times of refreshing in the Promised Land. Throughout Deacon Stephen's preaching, he repeatedly reminded the Jews of their continual rebellion and idolatry, in spite of the mighty works of God to which they were eyewitnesses. Instead of returning to God, the Jews, who were blinded by their arrogance, got so irritated to the point where they were now accusing Deacon Stephen of blasphemy.

Stephen: The First Deacon

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
There have been faithful Christians whose love for and commitment to the Lord make their light shine through so greatly that others around them take notice--Stephen was such a man. Nothing is known about Stephen’s personal life. Nothing about his parents nor and if he had any siblings, wife, or children; however, what is known about him is what is truly important. Acts 6:5 introduces Stephen as "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." He was the first deacon to be chosen by the twelve Apostles because he was faithful, even when faced with certain death.