8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
We now, with this chapter, begin to move away from the ministry of Peter to that of Stephen and Paul. Stephen’s ministry was primarily to Jews from nations other than Israel. Ultimately, the role of Stephen passed to Paul. Stephen’s death influenced Paul to become a Christian (Acts 7:38; 8:1).
In this chapter, Hellenistic Jews falsely accused and arrested Stephen (Acts 6:8-15).
8 And Stephen,
In the first seven verses, Stephen had been chosen to serve widows.
full [filled up] of faith [grace in some manuscripts] and power,
This phrase describes Stephen’s character as a man of faith and power. If “grace” is the term rather than “faith,” then Stephen was a man who operated on God’s resources.
did great wonders and signs among the people.
Stephen performed miracles and signs among the people, giving him great credibility with them. These manifestations through Stephen were similar to those of the apostles.
Christians should carry themselves with character.
Stephen was a great man. This chapter marked him as an outstanding believer. Although his life was short, it was impactful. He was a man of character because he manifested grace, faith, power, integrity, and a Spirit-controlled life, among many other attributes. How many believers do we know today who embody these characteristics? Not many. Every believer has the right to be filled with the Spirit should he or she choose so (Eph 5:18). There is a corollary between the filling of the Spirit and power. Maybe the church is powerless today because we do not have people of character or living the Spirit-filled life.
God gave Stephen the ability to perform wonders and signs because not one line of the New Testament had been written yet. The early church at this juncture could not go to the New Testament as a resource, so they had to look to men who had the authority to speak on God’s behalf.