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Stephen was one of the great men of faith in the early church. Though he was not an apostle, he holds a special place in scripture because he was chosen to minister to the widows who were being cared for in Jerusalem. It seems that some of the widows were being overlooked and neglected, so Stephen and six other men who were "full of faith and the Holy Spirit", were chosen to take care of them.
He also was the first Christian martyr (MAR ter). A martyr is a person who holds to a belief so strongly that he/she is willing to die for it. Such was the faith that Stephen had in Jesus Christ.
Stephen was able to work miracles among the people. He began to preach and some of the Jews would argue with him about his beliefs. These evil men persuaded some men to say that Stephen was speaking against Moses and even against God. This wasn't true, but many people got upset about it because they believed it was true.
They took hold of Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish rulers. In the picture you can see him appearing before the group. Directly in front of him is the high priest with the beautiful breastplate on the front of his garment. It contained gold and twelve different precious gems. On each stone was written the name of one of the tribes of Israel.
These were powerful men who were able to make life and death decisions about people. But Stephen was not afraid to speak the truth. As he stood before them, they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
He began to speak to them. He told about the whole history of the Jewish people beginning with Abraham. Then he accused the men, and their fathers before them, of hurting and killing the prophets, and even of killing the Righteous One, Jesus.
The rulers became very angry with him, but Stephen looking up to heaven, saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He told the men what he was seeing.
They put their hands over their ears because they didn't want to listen to him. They yelled at the top of their voices. They rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him to death.
While they were throwing stones at him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit," and "Lord do not hold this sin against them." Then he "fell asleep" (died).
He had the same forgiving spirit that Jesus had when he had said the same words when he was on the cross.
The young man who was consenting to Stephen's death was Saul of Tarsus.
Read the story in Spanish
Esteban, el Primer Cristiano Mártir
Read the story in Amharic
What does this story
mean to me?
Stephen was brave, and he was not afraid to speak the truth.
Suppose you and your friend are in a store, and you see her take something from a display and hide it under her coat. What do you do? Do you also take something to see if you can get away with it? Do you just say nothing? Or do you say to your friend, "You need to put that back. Stealing is not right, and you will be in big trouble when they catch you."?
You may lose your friend, but you will be doing her a favor if you can stop her bad behavior.
Stephen, by telling the truth, was willing to give up his life in order to please God.
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
First Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)
(Rest the mouse lightly over the ??? to see the answers in the alternate tags.)
1. To which group of women did Stephen provide help?
2. How many men were chosen for this work?
3. What do we call a person who is willing to die for his/her faith?
4.What did the evil men say about Stephen?
5.What were the Jewish rulers called?
6. What was on the breastplate of the high priest?
7. How did Stephen's face look when he began to speak?
8. Who did Stephen accuse them of killing?
9. What did Stephen see when he looked up toward heaven?
10. What did he pray?
11. Who had prayed this prayer at an earlier time?
12. Who was approving of Stephen's death?
You can read about Stephen in the Bible in
Acts 6:1-14 and Acts 7:1-60
Multiple Choice Test
Stephen - Word Search
Stephen - Crossword Puzzle
Stephen - Word Scramble
Acts 7:59-60 Fill-in the Blanks
Stephen Stands Strong
By Concordia Publishing House
For more than 35 years, the best-selling Arch® Books Bible story series has captivated children. Each book presents a complete Bible story in a fun-to-read way children can understand and remember. This book retells the story of the Deacon Stephen (Acts 6:5-7:60). Softcover from Concordia. Recommended for ages 5-9.
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Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2013-08-09
Thank you for helping me to understand the life & times of deacon Stephen .
Thank you for taking time to develop this lesson,we will cerebrate our martryres on 3rd JuneI could not figure out how to handle Steven.Thank you
May God Continue to Bless you and your family. Thank You. I love reading the story of Stephen. I have an cousin who is in prison now named Steve. I look forward to seeing him set free soon! With Christian Love, N. Korey Hart
I hope your cousin does well. I would like to recommend the New Life Behavior program for him. It was developed especially for people in prison to help them keep from returning to prison after they get out. Check it out. http://www.nlbi.net/
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Children's Bible Lessons
David & Goliath
3 Brave Boys
Parable of Talents
Paul's 1st Journey
Paul's 2nd Journey
Paul's 3rd Journey
Paul in Rome
Go to Calvary Chapel and look at story #250 for activities for "Stephen".
They have color sheets, crossword puzzles, word finds, and worksheets.
Graphic courtesy of The Bread Site public domain clipart collection
Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin