Acts 6Grecians; Grecian Jews; that is, those who, having been born and educated in the Grecian countries around Palestine, spoke the Greek language, used a Greek version of the Scriptures, and conformed in many respects to Greek customs, though by parentage and in their religion they were Jews.—Daily ministration; the daily distribution of money or food to the needy.
Serve tables; attend to secular business. The tables referred to were not tables spread with food, but such as were used in receiving and paying money. For another allusion to such tables, see John 2:15.
Ministry of the word; public religious instruction.
These are nearly all Grecian names; indicating either that they were appointed to take charge of the distribution to the Grecian portion of the church only; or else, if their charge was general, that special exertion was made to conciliate those who had complained, by making the appointments mainly from their own number.—A proselyte; a man born a Gentile, and converted to the Jewish faith.
They laid their hands on them; ordained them by that ceremony. Joshua was inducted into office in the same way by Moses, (Num. 27:23, Deut. 34:9,) which shows it to have been a very ancient custom among the Jews. The laying on of hands, even in the apostles' time, was not the peculiar and distinctive ceremony of ordination, as it is now; for it was used on almost any occasion of religious solemnity. (Acts 8:17, 9:17, 28:8.) This account of the appointment and ordination of deacons has given rise to a great deal of speculation and discussion among those of all denominations who look to the practices of the early Christians for models of church organization and government, binding on the followers of the Savior in all subsequent times. Various systems have been deduced from this narrative, each made out by the help of many inferences and much conjecture. But, in fact, the appointment of these officers, made to meet an emergency so peculiarly local and temporary, seems too narrow a foundation for such a superstructure as a system of ecclesiastical polity of permanent and universal obligation. It would seem that, if the apostles had intended to found an order of ministry which was to continue through all ages, and remain permanently the same among all the nations of the earth,—under every degree of civilization, and every variety of political condition,—instead of ingrafting their plan upon an incident like this, they would have formed it expressly and deliberately, and would have laid down its regulations in comprehensive and general terms.
These are different classes of Jews from the countries around, but resident then in Jerusalem. The names generally denote the places from which they came.
The preaching of Stephen seems not to have been by virtue of his office of deacon, as that office was constituted expressly for the service of tables, that is, for attending to the secular business connected with money and accounts.
Suborned; procured by bribery.
Saw his face, &c. It beamed with an expression of holy peace and joy.
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