The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Acts 6

Act 6:1

Act 6: "In Act 6 is revealed: The First Organisation (vv 1-7). It is important that ecclesias be established in the principles of 'decency and order,' so that the greatest good is elevated in the minds and hearts of each member. The First Martyr is revealed in v 8, for Stephen faced the false accusation of his fellows (vv 8-11). Stephen is arrested and charged (vv 12-15) as a result of the evil reports arousing the feelings of the people, exciting them to arrest Stephen. There is to be a reflection of the trials and death of the Lord Jesus in his servant Stephen" (GEM).

Background: Converts to Christianity would certainly be denied any form of public support -- to which their fellow-Jews might be entitled.

WHEN THE NUMBER OF DISCIPLES WAS INCREASING: Cp the situation of the persecuted Jews in Egypt: Exo 1:7,20.

Complaining: the first symptom of any loss of unanimous goodwill (Act 4:32).

GRECIAN JEWS: Jews who spoke Greek.

HEBRAIC JEWS: Jews who spoke Hebrew (cp Phi 3:5; 2Co 11:22).

THEIR WIDOWS: The "enrolled" widows: Act 9:41; 1Ti 5:3,9-11,16.

WERE BEING OVERLOOKED: Poss the language barriers contributed to the problem.

Act 6:2

// Jethro's advice to Moses -- "Delegate": Exo 18:13-26.

TO WAIT ON TABLES: The seven, and those whom they supervised (v 3n), were taking upon themselves the "form of servants" (cp Phi 2:7,8).

Act 6:3

FULL OF THE SPIRIT AND WISDOM: No definite article; should be "full of spirit and wisdom" -- ie, energetic and wise.

WE WILL TURN THE RESPONSIBILITY OVER TO THEM: Even the seven were in supervisory roles.

Act 6:5

The first ecclesially-sponsored charitable organization.

Men of Hellenistic names. (Not decisive, however, since some Hebrews had Greek names: Nicodemus, Didymus.)

Act 6:6

WHO PRAYED AND LAID HANDS ON THEM: See Lesson, Laying on of hands. They receive the gift of "administration" (1Co 12:28).

Act 6:7

THE NUMBER OF DISCIPLES IN JERUSALEM INCREASED RAPIDLY: Implying there were believers outside of Jerusalem as well.

A LARGE NUMBER OF PRIESTS: First major inroad into ranks of Jewish authority: "For the lips of a priest OUGHT TO preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men SHOULD seek instruction" (Mal 2:7).

Act 6:9

FREEDMEN: AV has the rather misleading "Libertines".

CILICIA: Perhaps including Saul of Tarsus (a city of Cilicia).

Act 6:10

THE SPIRIT BY WHOM HE SPOKE: The power of speech for defense was promised to the apostles (Mat 10:19) and the disciples in general (Act 6:10; Luk 12:11,12).

Act 6:11

PERSUADED: "Hupoballo" = to put under -- ie to substitute. Once in NT. RSV has "secretly instigated"; AV has "suborned": suggesting false accusations -- as against Christ -- insinuation, innuendo.

AGAINST MOSES AND AGAINST GOD: In their zeal for the Law, they put Moses ahead of God.

Act 6:13

FALSE WITNESSES: Cp Mat 26:59-61; Mar 14:55-59.

Vv 13,14: They charge Stephen with speaking against the Temple and the Law. In answer to these charges, Stephen (in Acts 7) will demonstrate: (1) true worship of the One God is independent of place or ancestry, and (2) the true blasphemers are his accusers, who rejected God and crucified His Son.

Act 6:14

JESUS WILL DESTROY THIS PLACE: Cp the charges against Jeremiah (Jer 26:4-11).

Act 6:15

FACE OF AN ANGEL: Bright as the face of Moses had been (Exo 34:30). Stephen was a doomed man before he opened his mouth to defend himself, but the Sanhedrin was being given a divine warning -- in the brightness of his countenance. (This explains also Stephen's early ref to the "God of GLORY": Act 7:2.)

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