6:1 And 1 in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the a Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the b daily ministration.
(1) When Satan has assailed the Church on the
outside, and with little result and in vain, he assails it on the inside, with
civil dissension and strife between themselves: but the apostles take occasion
by this to set order in the Church.
(a) From among their own members, who became
religious Jews from among the Greeks.
(b) In the bestowing of alms according to their
6:2 2 Then
the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is
not c reason that we should leave the
word of God, and serve d tables.
(2) The office of preaching the word, and
dispensing the goods of the Church, are different from one another, and not
rashly to be joined together, as the apostles institute here. And the deacons
must seek the consent of the Church more than the apostles.
(c) It is such a matter that we may in no way
(d) Banquets: though by the name of tables other
offices are also meant, which are added to it, such as those which pertain to
the care of the poor.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of
the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
(3) In choosing deacons (and much more in
choosing ministers) there must be an examination of both their learning and
their manners of life.
Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they e
laid [their] hands on them.
(4) The ancient Church, with the laying on of
hands, as it were consecrated to the Lord those who were lawfully elected.
(e) This ceremony of the laying on of hands came
from the Jews, who used this ceremony both in public affairs, and in the
offering of sacrifices, and also in private prayers and blessings, as appears
48:13-22); and the Church also observed this ceremony, as is evident from
8:17). However, there is no mention made here either of cream, or shaving,
or razing, or crossing, etc.
6:7 5 And the
word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem
greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the f
(5) A happy result of temptation.
(f) This is the figure of speech metonymy,
meaning by "faith" the doctrine of the Gospel which brings about
6:8 6 And
Stephen, full of faith and g power, did
great wonders and miracles among the people.
(6) God trains his Church first with evil words
and slanders, then with imprisonments, afterwards with scourgings, and by
these means prepares it in such a way that at length he causes it to meet in
combat with Satan and the world, even to bloodshed and death.
(g) Excellent and singular gifts.
6:9 7 Then
there arose certain of the h synagogue,
which is called [the synagogue] of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and
Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
(7) Schools and universities in ancient times
were addicted to false pastors, and were the instruments of Satan to spread
abroad and defend false doctrines.
(h) Of the people and the school, as it were.
6:10 8 And
they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
(8) False teachers, because they will not be
overcome, flee from disputations and resort to manifest and open slandering
and false accusations.
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon
[him], and caught him, and brought [him] to the council,
(9) The first bloody persecution of the Church of
Christ, began and sprang from a council of priests, by the suggestion of the
6:13 10 And
set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous
words against this holy place, and the law:
(10) An example of frivolous objectors or false
accusers, who gather false conclusions from things that are well uttered and
6:15 And all that sat in the
council, looking stedfastly on him, i
saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
(i) By this it appears that Steven had an
excellent and wholesome countenance, having a quiet and settled mind, a good
conscience, and certain conviction that his cause was just: for seeing as he
was to speak before the people, God beautified his countenance, so that by the
very beholding of him the Jews' minds might be penetrated and amazed.