The word deacon comes from a Greek word which means “minister” or “servant”. In the early Church it was the deacon’s duty to carry out the official charitable works of the Church, i.e., distributing food to the poor, visiting the sick, etc. .... theadventboston.org
1. Complaint of the Grecians Jews
Act 6:1 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.
Notes: Arose a murmuring of the Grecians. "The Grecians" were not Greeks, or Gentiles, but foreign Jews, who were born and brought up out of Palestine, and spoke the Greek language. This class of Jews was found in almost every city where Paul preached. See Act_13:14-16.
against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected ...
the Hebrews — those Jews born in Palestine who used their native tongue, and were wont to look down on the “Grecians” as an inferior class. it properly denotes those who “imitate” the customs and habits of the Greeks, who use the Greek language, etc. In the time when the gospel was first preached, there were two classes of Jews - those who remained in Palestine, who used the Hebrew language, and who were appropriately called “Hebrews”; and those who were scattered among the Gentiles, who spoke the Greek language, Barnes Notes
were neglected — “overlooked” by those whom the apostles employed, and who were probably of the Hebrew class, as being the most numerous. The complaint was in all likelihood well founded, though we cannot suspect the distributors of intentional partiality. “It was really just an emulation of love, each party wishing to have their own poor taken care of in the best manner” JFB.
in the daily distribution.
Thayer’s Dictionary: the service of those who prepare and present food relief.
2. Contention causes the Necessity of Appointing Deacons
Act 6:2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
Notes: The multitude of the disciples - It is not necessary to suppose that all the disciples were convened, which amounted to many thousands, but that the business was laid before a large number; or perhaps “the multitude” here means those merely who were more particularly interested in the matter, and who had been engaged in the complaint.
"It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. “
Notes : The Preaching of the Word was Priority for the Apostles. So many church leaders are surrounded with menial tasks while the believers sit and do nothing. It is thought that they are chosen and paid so they can do it. This is the disease of professional Ministry. The answer is Act 6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. MKJV. Act 6:4 But, as for us, we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the delivery of the Message." WNT
Act 6:3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.
Seven men of good repute: Seven was a sacred number among the Hebrews, but there does not appear to have been any “mystery” in choosing this number. It was a convenient number, sufficiently large to secure the faithful performance of the duty, and not so large as to cause confusion and embarrassment. It does not follow, however, that the same number is now to be chosen as deacons in a church, for the precise number is not commanded.Barnes
Of good repute or honest reputation. Of fair reputation; regarded as men of integrity. Greek: “testified of,” or “bear witness to”; that is, whose characters were well known and fair.
who are full of the Spirit and wisdom, and we will put them in charge of this work. ASV
Full of the Spirit (see Infilling of the Holy Spirit) Theme Number 8 below.
wisdom: sophia:Thayer Definition: 1) wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters.(spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs)
- The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
- The soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment: ( "some questioned the wisdom of building the dam so close to an active volcano"). Google Research
3. The Choosing and the Ordination of these men as Deacons
Act 6:5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
Act 6:6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
1. They chose Stephen a man full of Faith and the Holy Spirit,
Each one of the seven has a Greek name and was undoubtedly a Hellenist, not an Aramaean Jew. Consummate wisdom is here displayed for the murmuring had come from the Hellenists, seven of whom were chosen to take proper care of the widows of Hellenists. This trouble was settled to stay settled so far as we know. Nothing is here told of any of the seven except Stephen who is “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” and Nicolas “a proselyte of Antioch” (who was not then born a Jew, but had come to the Jews from the Greek world).
1. Preaching and Prayer are priorities for Ministers of The Gospel
2. Choose men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to do menial tasks in the church.