Acts Chapter 6
In our previous article discussing Acts 5 we mentioned that there was trouble within the ranks of the early Christians. The Hellenist widowed new believers felt that the Hebrew or Jerusalem widowed new believers were favored in church welfare. According to the very first verse in chapter 6, the Hellenists widows were not getting any food or financial help from the body of believers called The Way (church):
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. (ESV)
The Hellenists (Greek speaking Jews converted to Christianity) were those outside of Jerusalem or Israel proper. Their ancestry had been dispersed from Israel (Northern Kingdom) to the “hinterlands” over 700 years earlier by the Assyrians. The Assyrians as a power were no longer a factor. By now it is Romans in charge; previously Greek (Alexander the Great), and prior to that the Persians. Going backwards it is Rome, Greek (conquered lands left to Alexander’s Generals), Persian, Assyrian, Israel divided into two kingdoms.
The Twelve apostle/disciples were perplexed at this issue. Must they leave their pulpit and street ministries (missionaries) to police the Christian Church treasuries and food program? This verse alone (V2) should immediately take a bible student to the Gifts of the Spirit. All Spirit given gifts (functions) are needed in the function of the church as a body of believers but a hand is not an eye.
JIV: Far too many self-claiming Christians want to make this a right to eternal security but deny the power of the Gift of the Holy Spirit within them; one that is given to EVERY new believer to help the church body function as a whole. See Ephesians 4:16. If one is just a pew spectator, is s/he part of the functioning body of the Christ?
For a good article on Spiritual Gift effectiveness go to https://bible.org/seriespage/6-spiritual-gifts-1-corinthians-121-11 and read the article by Robert L. Deffinbaugh.
Word of caution: Do not accept or dupe one’s self into believing that verse 3 of Acts 6 is an excuse for only a few to be involved in the function of any assembly of believers we mistakenly identify as a church member and not a functioning part of the body.
Verse five identifies these seven men as chosen to work in the capacity of administration of supplying to the needy. This did not mean they were excused from witnessing and evangelism. Philip, one of the seven chosen, is a prime example of this when he meets the Ethiopian Eunuch later on in chapter 8 of Acts.
JIV NOTE: Acts 8 is an astounding event of how God controls even after 1,000 years, King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba then, now Philip. Stay tuned. You will be enlightened to something there is a great chance you never heard from any pulpit or Sunday Study.
Acts 6 then goes into the how and why Stephen, one of the seven chosen to “serve the tables” (Acts 6:8-15) was stoned (Acts 7:54-8:2). It is significant to note that in 6:7 there were a “great number of priests” who became believers. It is not recorded and to some, a chagrin that we do not have recorded history as to what these priests of Judaism did with their Temple responsibilities and their new found faith in Christ.
Make a good mental note that even though Stephen was chosen as one of the seven to “serve tables” according to Acts 6:8 he was also an evangelist. Accordingly we cannot excuse our “church responsibilities and attendance” as good enough or a valid replacement for witnessing and sharing the gospel.
In a previous article we discussed what it means to be unequally yoked under any circumstances, not isolated to marriage. Since Acts 6 is a short chapter let me expound on this unequally yoked comment. We teach – You Decide.
2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
2 John 1:9-11 ESV Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your *house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
*House is oy-kee’-ah in the Greek: “an abode, a house of worship (family of believers)…”