Written by: Thomas Kilian, Chaplain
Posted on: 2023.02.06
Acts 6:1-7 “Choosing of the Seven” (New American Standard Bible, 2011)
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas; Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. The word of God kept on spreading; the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”
1. As the early Church congregation increased, so did their needs. One great need was the distribution of food to the vulnerable and poor.
2. An internal problem developed in the early Church. A conflict occurred between the Jews and the Hebrews of the congregation concerning the widowed being unfairly treated.
3. The twelve Apostles called for a meeting with all the disciples of the congregation.
4. The twelve Apostles told the congregation that it was not good for them to stop their primary task of preaching to busy themselves with “table waiting.”
5. The twelve Apostles told the congregation to choose seven men to administer the food program. With the charge, they gave instructions detailing the requirements for choosing the men.
6. The twelve Apostles established for the congregation that as apostles, they would continue to focus on their preaching work.
7. The congregation affirmed that the Apostles needed to focus on their ministry of the Word, so they chose others to administer the food program.
8. The church selected seven men from the congregation and brought the men before the Apostles. The Apostles then did their work, praying over them and laying their hands on them to set them apart to do work.
9. The outcome of the seven being charged to keep the office of deacon was that the Word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples increased without hindrance.
10. In the end, the charge made by the Apostles was received by the congregation, which made it possible for the ministry of God’s Word to influence even priests who were becoming obedient to the faith.
1. -- The Apostles needed to focus on preaching, so they delegated the responsibility of choosing others by the church for the chosen to administer the food program to the ekklesia. Each person was shown to be a vital part to play in the life of the Church (see 1 Corinthians 12)
2. -- The Apostles identified their primary task of preaching and empowered others to help them take up new and pressing responsibilities that would otherwise overburden them.
3. -- The food program represented an administrative task that was not taken lightly. Even so, the Apostle’s priorities were correct. The ministry of public prayer and study of the Word should never be pushed to the side because of administrative burdens.
4. -- (1) God calls and equips His leaders in a work, 2) the people of God recognize that they have been set apart onto a particular work/office, 3) Christ’s leadership verifies their calling and publicly sets them apart to work/office in accordance to the accountable structure provided by the Apostles in Christ. This results: CARING FOR EACH SOUL UNTILL GOD'S GRACE IS KNOWN BY ALL!