Summary: When the Apostles felt overwhelmed they created an office....DEACONS, and the church GREW!
Acts 6:1 “And in those days, when
the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of
the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected
in the daily ministration.”
We see, here, the church growing to a large number. As long as
the church was small and they each were greatly needed, they were all
pulling in one direction. They were working for a common cause. Now
that the number has gotten so large, there is murmuring. Some of the
Greeks think the Hebrew widows are being cared for better than the
Greeks. It seems that the early church was very concerned about the
needs of widows. Many times widows lived in the church and prayed for
the church. In I Timothy 5:9, Paul tells them to not take a widow
under 60 years.
Acts 6:2 “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.”
These twelve disciples who seemed to be the leaders of all the
rest are explaining that they should not be encumbered by trying to
see to the needs of all of these widows. The man or woman of God
ministering has enough to do staying in the Word of God and bringing
spiritual guidance to the people. Some one else should see to the
financial responsibilities of the church. If they have to stop and
see to the physical needs of the people, they will not be able to care
for their spiritual needs.
Acts 6:3 “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.”
Seven, as we have said before, means spiritually complete. We see
that these seven were to be men who were very close to God. They must
be wise men to take care of the finances of the body of Christ. They
must be honest and of good report. This is one of the Scriptures used
when churches choose seven deacons to raise the finances of the
church. Many people want to be a deacon of the church until they
learn that the deacons are really responsible for the financial needs
of the church.
Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to
the ministry of the word.”
The twelve apostles were not to be bothered with anything, except
the spiritual needs of the people. Perhaps, that is one of the
problems in churches today. We have made business men out of our
ministers. They learn as much about the way to raise money, to have a
bus ministry, and to satisfy the I.R.S. as they do about the Word of
God. They really should not be burdened with all of these
administration duties. It takes too much of their time away from
prayer and study of the Word.
Acts 6:5 “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:”
Of these seven, of course, Stephen was the most known to us. These
men were above reproach. They were men of high character. These men
would be fair in all their dealings. Some believe that many of these
were Hellenist (Greek Jews), but I believe they were a cross section
of men of God, so that each one would be representing their own group.
Proselyte means a new comer. In Hebrew, it meant stranger. Philip
and Stephen are really the only two out of the list that the Bible
tells us anything else about. These are like many deeply sincere
people in the church today who really work in the background and do
not feel the need to be recognized by others.
M. Hamilton Stevens, Th.D.