Thursday, March 14, 2013

Seven Deacons Appointed

Acts 6:1-7 NIV

The Choosing of the Seven

1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jewsa among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”

5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

7So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Appointing Deacons

Here was the first breach made on those who were before of one heart and of one soul. Partiality crept in unawares on some; and murmuring on others. Ah Lord! how short a time did pure, genuine, undefiled Christianity remain in the world! 

The first part of this chapter contains an account of the appointment of "deacons." It may be asked, perhaps, why the apostles did not appoint these officers at the first organization of the church? To this, question we may reply, that it was better to defer the appointment until an occasion should occur when it would appear to be manifestly necessary and proper.

When the church was small, its alms could be distributed by the apostles themselves without difficulty.  But when it was greatly increased when its charities were multiplied; and when the distribution might give rise to contentions, it was necessary that this matter should be entrusted to the hands of "deacons”.

Those who are here termed Grecians, Ηλληνισται(hellenistai),  Hellenists, were Jews who settled now at Jerusalem, but lived in countries where the Greek language was spoken. They are distinguished here from those called Hebrews, by which we are to understand native Jews, who spoke the Hebrew language.

When all the disciples had put their property into a common stock, it was intended that out of it each should have his quantum of supply. The foreign or Hellenistic Jews began to be jealous, that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration, that they either had not the proportion, or were not duly served; the Palestine Jews being partial to those of their own country.

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