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Summary: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication . . .” (Acts 1:14). It means that the apostles wanted to make this their constant and main objective, and for this to happen they must not be distracted by the cares of life, and even by....

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December 17, 2013

By: Tom Lowe

Series: The Early Church

Title: The Solution (6.2-6)

Acts 6.2-6 (KJV)

2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

Commentary

2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

Then the twelve

The twelve apostles (their number was now complete, since Matthias was chosen to replace Judas; Acts 1:26): were informed of the quarrel between the two categories of Christians in the Jerusalem church; Hebrew and the Hellenistic Jews.

Called the multitude of the disciples unto them

The term “multitude” can mean either the hundred and twenty, the original members of the church, and on whom the Holy Ghost descended on the day of Pentecost; or the whole body of the church, which is more probable since what the apostles had to say concerned them all; and they all had an equal right to choose their officers and deacons.

And said, it is not reason

The Arabic version renders this clause, "this does not please us"; but the NIV translates it—"It would not be right . . . for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God . . .” which may be a better interpretation. Other Bible students prefer to render it “not suitable” and “not proper”; but I prefer “not reasonable.” The apostles needed to divest themselves of the ministry of distributing food to the widows, so they could devote themselves to the work they were called to do.

That we should leave the word of God

The Apostles were commanded by Christ to take the Gospel to the “uttermost parts of the earth”, and in view of their calling they knew their emphasis must be the study of the word, meditation upon it, and preaching it. They did not think it was reasonable to neglect or abandon the preaching of the gospel in order to personally attend to the distribution of the alms of the church. The “gospel” is called the “Word of God,” because it is His message; it is what He has spoken, or what He has commanded to be proclaimed to people.

We are not to infer from this that the apostles neglected their primary duties; but they were sometimes obliged to omit them, or limit the time they spent in the performance of those duties. Occasionally the care of the poor took up more of their time, than the work of the ministry, and therefore they thought it was not right and proper for them to continue to neglect a work of so great importance to the souls of men for the purpose of feeding their bodies.

And serve tables.

“Serve tables” is an expression which means “to take care of, or provide for the daily needs of a family.” It is an expression that is usually applied to a steward, guardian, custodian, or a servant. The word “tables” is, however, sometimes used with reference to “money,” since it is the place where money was kept for the purpose of “exchange, etc.”—“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves” (Matthew 21:12). Also: “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury” (Matthew 25:27). Here the expression means to attend to the monetary transactions of the church, and to make the proper distribution of funds designated for the needs of the poor. This was not a simple matter, because it included taking up the collection for them, investigating each case to determine their circumstances, and then distributing alms according to the needs of each family. This required a good deal of time, care, thought, and circumspection, especially in such a church, where the numbers were so large.

We are beginning to learn what the business of deacons will be. They will be appointed to take this part of the apostles' work off of their hands, and make it their own responsibility. In addition to “serving tables,” they will serve the table of the Lord, by providing the bread and wine for it; receiving both from the minister, when blessed, and distributing them to the members; collecting and distributing alms for the poor; observing what members are missing at the worship services, whom they are to visit: and they are also to serve the minister's table, by making sure that he has a sufficient remuneration to support him and his family.

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