9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.
Stephen encountered opposition from a synagogue called “the Freedmen” in verses 9 to 15.
Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians Libya, a seaport in Northern Africa), Alexandrians [capital of Egypt in North Africa], and those from Cilicia and Asia [Asia Minor or western Turkey today]),
Stephen developed opponents from the Synagogue of the Freedmen. This synagogue was Greek speaking and may have been established by freed slaves.
Paul was from Cilicia and the city of Tarsus.
disputing with Stephen.
The word “disputing” carries the idea of a formal debate.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
Stephen’s opponents were unable to match his wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke. They resorted to underhanded methods to undermine him.
Then they secretly induced men to say,
Synagogue members enlisted people to give false testimony to the Sanhedrin of 71 members against Stephen. They got people to swear to a lie.
“We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
The charge of these false witnesses was blasphemy against Moses and God. This was deception and slander toward Stephen. The accusation against Moses was to undermine the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
And they stirred up [aroused] the people,
False witnesses stirred mob psychology against Stephen. Since the people no longer supported Stephen, the fakers did not worry that the crowd would turn on them. Almost any mob is influenced by mob psychology.
The “elders” were civil leaders in Israel.
and the scribes;
The “scribes” were teachers of the law.
and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.
The false witnesses against Stephen captured him and brought him for a trial before the Sanhedrin Council.
Christians will often endure opposition for speaking truth.
Opposition came to Stephen, not because of the miracles he performed but because he preached the truth. He did not accommodate his message to the situation; he was a man of integrity in his preaching.