Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 6
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 6:1-7
6:1Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 6:2And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables. 6:3Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 6:4But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word. 6:5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch; 6:6whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them. 6:7And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
July 19, 1931: Acts 6:1-4
There was a murmuring among the Grecian Jews because their widows were neglected in the ministration. Metaphysically, what does this mean? The Grecian Jews represent new converts to the faith. Until selfishness is overcome, a sense of injustice arises in mind at every indication that the purely spiritual interests of life are receiving more attention and more sustaining power than the other worth-while interests of the individual. New converts are always careful to insure their own rights.
November 29, 1942: Acts 6:1-4
What is our responsibility as individuals? We owe loyalty to the Ideal of perfection, and should harmonize all our powers and faculties to that end.
What difference exists between the "Grecian Jews" and the "Hebrews"? The former represent the religious thoughts that are derived from the reasoning faculty or the intellect, the latter the religious thoughts that are founded on the moral law. These two realms of life should be in harmony.
April 27, 1941: Acts 6:1-7
As individuals what lesson do we learn from the statement that the Grecian Jews murmured against the Hebrews "because their widows were neglected in the daily ministrations"? The Grecian Jews represent the religious thoughts of man that have their origin in the intellect and that attempt to justify their faith by the aid of reason. The Hebrews on the other hand represent the thoughts of man that have risen from the purely material to a higher concept of Truth, but that still are under law, lacking the supreme conception of the Christ way of life. The intellect cannon through reason alone be of the same value to man as the higher conception of faith.
Can man harmonize his intellect with his religious instinct? If so, how? The twelve faculties of man avail to harmonize his intellectual with his religious instincts when his desire is centered on inner harmony and peace. If he takes no step without first concentrating his thought on the unity of all things in Spirit, he produces this harmony without difficulty.
How is the habit of concentration referred to in this lesson? By the disciples' words "We will continue steadfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word."
How are the intellectual powers quickened? By the habit of reaching out toward new fields of understanding, thus broadening and deepening the channels of ones thinking.
Why were a great company of the priests "obedient to the faith"? The priests (Levites) represent love in human consciousness. Love and faith are closely related in man's mind and heart. We love that on which we set our faith.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 6:8-15
6:8And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people. 6:9But there arose certain of them that were of the synagogue called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. 6:10And they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake. 6:11Then they suborned men, who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 6:12And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and seized him, and brought him into the council, 6:13and set up false witnesses, who said, This man ceaseth not to speak words against this holy place, and the law: 6:14for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered unto us. 6:15And all that sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
December 7, 1940: Acts 6:7-10
What is the symbolical meaning of the name "Stephen"? The name "Stephen" means "crowned"; in this lesson the symbolical meaning of the name is that reason has been crowned or illumined with spiritual truth.
What do the Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and the Cilicians represent? These represent aggregations of thoughts that act according to impulse. Such thoughts are usually opposed to any new inspiration that may awaken in consciousness.
Explain the cause of the disturbance between these aggregations of thoughts and the reasoning faculty (Stephen). When the reasoning faculty (Stephen) receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the whole mental realm is quickened with spiritual inspiration. The old states of consciousness seek to counteract the spiritual illumination; they are "not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit"--hence the mental disturbance.
What do the elders and the scribes symbolize? The elders symbolize leading Pharisaical religious thoughts which are classed as having authority; the scribes symbolize that in our consciousness which records the standard beliefs of our inherited religious tendencies.
September 13, 1914: Acts 6:8-15
THE ILLUMINATING POWER OF TRUTH
SILENT PRAYER: Truth demonstrated proves itself.
The growth of the Christian church as recited in the New Testament represents the growth of the individual who has been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This spiritual baptism has a marvelous effect upon the mind and body, and must be experienced to be even approximately understood. Those who have not experienced it look with incredulity upon the testimony of those who have, and those who have come under its stimulating power are frequently in the dark as to the meaning of the many new and strange sensations, visions, dreams and inspirations which are its accompaniment. Some go off into a wild frenzy of religious fervor and dissipate their energy in harangues to the wicked; others open up new founts of revelation based upon the Scriptures, and become the founders of new sects; while others heave and sigh in the arms of religious love and zeal without exercising wisdom or judgment.
Every phase of religious experience is depicted in the Scriptures, and we can all see the reflection of our character in its various moods in this universal mirror of our human life. Well-balanced people are not swept off their feet when the Holy Spirit lifts them into higher perceptions—they seek a place of mental poise where they can analyze and get the understanding and permanent good out of it. The Spirit stimulates every faculty, and every center of consciousness is quickened. When the individual or I Am has learned to go within its thought realm and watch the movements of these populous cities in the brain and body, it will find these Scriptures a great assistant in pointing out the tendencies of certain mental attitudes in bringing about harmony or inharmony. All the dominant traits of character are here tabulated, and the results of their activities along all lines of human thought pointed out.
In today's lesson is depicted the discord which arises from argument. Stephen means crowned, and refers to the highest point of intelligent expression in the body, the head. The head is the seat of the reason, and when one who is strong in this part of the consciousness receives the Spirit power, he is quickened in all that pertains to that realm, hence the logic and reason of the spiritual life appeals to him and he seeks to prove his position by argument. Here is where his trouble begins. Argument stirs up antagonism, and other parts of the consciousness, the Libertines, Cyrenians and Alexandrians, representing fixed states of thought in the realm of sense, rise up and oppose the further progress of spiritual ideas. They are not able to withstand the truth of the statements, but they argue that there is a blasphemy. This cry of "blasphemy" is always made by those who are put to rout by the Truth—it is their last resort. So we find in our own minds this tendency to fear that we can go too far in spiritualizing our thought and its environment. When the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, or the Spiritual Man Demonstrated, shows us that this fleshly temple must be replaced by one of incorruptible substance, which will not be under the mortal law (Moses), we are apt to halt in our upward flight. But when the illumined Stephen is brought before the whole consciousness, "All that sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel." In the face of all opposition Truth shines undimmed.
August 19, 1923: Acts 6:8-15
What is the symbolical meaning of the name "Stephen"? The word "Stephen" means "crowned;" in this lesson the symbolical meaning of the word is that reason has been crowned or illumined with spiritual Truth.
What do the Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and the Cilicians represent? The Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and the Cilicians represent aggregations of thoughts that act according to impulse and are usually opposed to any new inspiration that may try to establish itself in consciousness.
Explain the cause of the disturbance between the aggregations of thoughts and the reasoning faculty (Stephen). When the reason (Stephen) receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit the whole mental realm is quickened with spiritual inspiration. The old states of consciousness resist the spiritual illumination; they are not "able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit"—hence the mental disturbance.
What do the elders and the scribes symbolize? The elders symbolize leading, pharisaical religious thoughts that are classed as having authority; the scribes symbolize that in consciousness which records the standard beliefs of our inherited religious tendencies.
When opposing states of mind are stirred up within one, what happens? Opposing states of consciousness always produce misunderstandings, exaggerations, false accusations.
What directly aroused the opposition of the intrenched sense consciousness against Stephen? According to the text Stephen was filled with great zeal. He had the wisdom of Spirit, he did signs and wonders, and he exploited his spiritual experiences without reservation.
April 26, 1925: Acts 6:8-15
Define: "And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people." The word "Stephen" means "crowned." Crowns are worn on the head, and the head is the seat of the intellect. Therefore this passage of Scripture means that the intellect has been illumined, and has received power to demonstrate in the outer realms of consciousness.
What is one of the signs of intellectual understanding of Truth? One of the signs of intellectual understanding is the desire to argue. This argumentative tendency excites opposition in the outer realms of thought.
Is there a wisdom of the intellect? The intellect has intelligence and understanding, but, strictly speaking, it is not capable of expressing pure wisdom.
What do the Libertines, and the Cyrenians, and the Alexandrians represent? The Libertines, and the Cyrenians, and the Alexandrians represent fixed states of thought in the realm of sense, which object to the expression of spiritual ideas.
When our perceptive faculties are not grounded in spiritual wisdom, what results? The thoughts of the external and personal realms of consciousness rise in violent opposition, to the combative presentation of Truth.
Can Truth, even in this stage of growth, be entirely overwhelmed by such opposition? No. Truth shines out even from an intellectual viewpoint. "All that sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him [Stephen], saw his face as it had been the face of an angel".
January 22, 1950: Acts 6:8-15
Do grace and power fit us to do any special work in the Christ consciousness? Stephen, who was "full of grace and power," was able to work great wonders and signs among the people. In like manner grace and power lend impetus to our work.
Do grace and power equip a person for disputation? No. Stephen was drawn into a dispute with the Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and those of Cilicia and Asia. These all represent fixed states of thought in the realm of sense.
Does error yield willingly and graciously to Truth? No. When error is strongly entrenched in consciousness it stubbornly opposes the advancement of Truth ideas. Often it seeks to discredit them in order to preserve its domination over the individual.
Do those in sense consciousness give heed to the appearance of Truth? No, then are oblivious to all but their already formed and fixed opinion and can neither hear nor see Truth when it is clearly presented to them. In the council all who looked at Stephen "saw his face as it had been the face of an angel," but they were not convinced of the truth by that sign.
Is it wise to insist upon our own opinion or conviction when arguing with those of opposite beliefs? No, it is never wise nor advisable to do this. It antagonizes others instead of converting them.
Transcribed by Dan Beckett on 9-8-2013.