Stephen is consider the first recorded New Testament martyr who died after Jesus' resurrection. He was an early Jewish convert to Christianity who possessed a high level of wisdom and spiritual maturity. In fact, his character was such that the early church chose him, and six others, to be the first specially designated servants (other than the apostles) of the fledgling Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1 - 6).
Stephen's knowledge of the Scriptures and ability to refute those who argued against the gospel was exceptional and noteworthy. The result of those who attempted to dispute Stephen and what he taught was, "they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:10).
Unable to refute, Biblically, the gospel, Jews from Alexandria, Asia, Cilicia and other places get Stephen arrested on false charges. He is dragged before the Sanhedrin, the highest religious court among the Jews, to answer the accusations.
Stephen's stirring synopsis of Old Testament history and condemnation of the hypocrisy of those who say they follow God is more than the Sanhedrin can handle (Acts 7). Their fury and total indignation elevates to the level where they gnash their teeth!
Stephen is then blessed with a unique vision.It is so incredible that when he describes it to the Jewish religious leaders they scream and plug their ears because they think he is uttering the highest blasphemy! The leaders, who reject the teaching that Jesus is the Messiah, hear Stephen state he sees heaven opened and witnesses not only God on his throne but also Jesus Christ standing (not sitting!) at his right hand! Stephen is quickly rushed outside Jerusalem and stoned.
See our listing for Dorcas.
The name Theophilus means "lover of God." Luke dedicated both his gospel and the book of Acts to this person. Nothing more is known about the person. Luke's reference to him as "most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:3) could mean he was a person of rank or possibly a Roman officer.
Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, is also called Didymus (the Greek equivalent of his name) in the KJV Bible (John 11:16, 20:24, 21:2).
The phrase "doubting Thomas" is sometimes used to refer to someone who requires proof before believing something. Its origin lies in Thomas' refusal to believe Jesus rose from the dead unless he saw him personally and placed his hand on his wounds (John 20:25).
Foxe's Book of Martyrs believes Thomas preached the gospel in Parthia and India. He then, according to the book, was martyred when pagan priests thrust a spear through him.
Timon was one of the first seven men, selected by the early church, to handle the daily distribution of food to the poor saints in Jerusalem. These men are commonly referred to as the New Testament's first deacons. Nothing more is known about Timon.
Zaccheus, a short Jew, was the tax collector for Jericho. Like many of his fellow collectors, he was wealthy through theft, extortion and other means of dishonest gain (Luke 3:12 - 13, 19:7 - 8).
Desirous to see Jesus' arrival in Jericho he climbs a large tree. The Lord surprises Zaccheus by not only knowing his name but also declaring he we eat at his house! The notorious taxman then repents of his ill-gotten gains and promises to give back what he stole.
Zacharias was the husband of Elizabeth and father of John the Baptist. He was a priest of the Abijah division who served in Jerusalem's temple. According to the New Testament, both he and his wife were righteous elderly people who, before God's invention in their lives, were unable to bear any children.
In the middle of 6 B.C., during his service in the temple, Zacharias is visited by the angel Gabriel. He is informed that his wife will bear a child, named John, and that his mission would be to prepare the way for the Messiah. Zacharias disbelieves what he is told and is rendered mute until after John's birth.