The First Martyr ~ Acts 6-7

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  • To explain the definition of “deacon” and “martyr”
  • To list events from Acts 6-7
  • To compare the character of Stephen and the character of the “enemy”

Stephen Acts 6-7Materials: Inductive Bible Study Form, Bible, Character Information

Geography: Israel; Jerusalem

Background: The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in the upper room and more and more people joined the new church. Miracles and preaching caused an uproar in Jerusalem. The apostles were persecuted, but they responded with thanksgiving. And more and more people were joining the early church each day.

Main Events of Acts 6-7:

{This is a great story which which to create a comparison and contrast list. Keep it simple for young children. See the Modification for Older Children below for a printable you can use.}

After the apostles were persecuted, the church continued to grow and grow and grow! And because there were so many people, a complaint was made by a group of Greek Jews. They claimed that their widows were being neglected by the apostles. The twelve men did not want anyone overlooked, so they gathered everyone together and said, “Choose seven men among you so that they might do this business.” The apostles needed to teach and pray, not serve every need. Others could do that. But what type of men were to be chosen? They were to have a good reputation, be full of the Holy Spirit, and wise. {Discuss the meaning of these character traits.}

Seven men, or deacons, were chosen and one was Stephen. The scriptures say he was full of faith, the Holy Spirit, and power. He also did wonders and signs among the people.

Then a group of people started to argue with Stephen. {On the board write: “Enemies” and “Stephen”. This story is filled with action! As you tell the story, or read the scripture, write down the verbs describing the actions of each.}

Argued with him
Persuaded others
Stirred up people
Seized him
Brought him
Set up false witnesses
Spoke with wisdom
Full of the Holy Spirit
Cut to the heart
Gnashed teeth
Cried out
Stopped their ears
Cast him out
Put cloaks
Stoned him
Gazed into heaven
Saw the glory of God and Jesus
Called on God
Forgave his enemies

These enemies of Stephen were so angry! And they couldn’t seem to “beat” Stephen. Why? (He was filled with the Holy Spirit.) Stephen preached in such a way that the Council could not “beat” him.

Picture this: The mob grabbed Stephen and dragged him outside the city. He was thrown down and the people surrounded him. They picked up rocks and threw them at Stephen. Stephen lifted his head up to heaven and saw Jesus standing beside the Father.

This is significant! Nowhere else in scripture do we see a picture of Jesus standing beside the Father. Usually He is sitting beside the Father. Why is it that when Stephen saw Jesus, He was standing?

Application of Acts 6-7:

Have you ever been to a race, or watched one on TV before? What are the spectators doing? (Standing and jumping and yelling for the racers.) The Bible tells us that every Christian is running a race, a race of life. And we want to run our race in such a way that it pleases Jesus.

I think Jesus was standing for Stephen. I think Jesus was pleased with Stephen and the way he ran his race. The stoning continued and Stephen forgave his enemies. He closed his eyes…and then he was with Jesus. And I think he heard, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

Stephen was the first martyr, or person to die for his faith in Jesus. There have been many, many more martyrs through the years, including people today who are killed because they believe in Jesus.

Do you want to live a life that pleases Jesus? Would Jesus stand for you?

Modification for Older Children:

Have older children use their Bibles to fill out the Character Information Sheet below, or work on it together as a group.

Stephen Acts 6-7Compare the enemies and Stephen. Which type of person do you want to be? One who causes strife? One who forgives? Discuss the characteristics of Stephen and how we can become like him.

Other Resources for Acts 6-7:

Acts 6 Lesson

Stephen is Persecuted

The Stoning of Stephen

Acting Out Stephen’s Story

Coloring Page of Stephen

A Cute(??) Claymation of the Stoning of Stephen

Thoughts? Questions? Please leave a comment below.

** Clip art used by permission from



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