What does Acts 6:3 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
NASB: Instead, brothers and sisters, 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.
CSB: Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.
NLT: And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
Verse Commentary:
Although the passage doesn't use the word, this is the establishment of the office of "deacon" in the church. Diakonia, the Greek root word from which "ministry" comes, specifically refers to the role of the deacons who collect and disperse resources (Acts 6:1–6); it is also used in the more general sense (Acts 20:24). It means to serve others by command of someone else. A small leadership staff cannot fill every need in a church. Forcing infinite responsibility on them is disrespectful to non-staff who have gifts of their own.

Throughout the history of Christianity, God has used conflict to refine belief and understanding. Until this time, the Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of the Jesus-followers to take care of each other's practical needs (Acts 2:44–45; 4:32–37). There is nothing wrong with this system of management if the group is small and the members diligent and attentive. There are now thousands of Jesus-followers in Jerusalem, and the benevolent mob can't keep track of everyone.

The church leadership needs some structure. Not only are the apostles willing to hand over responsibility for managing money and assets, they're willing to let others choose the candidates who will do so. This delegation of duties is consistent with the Old Testament. Moses wisely agreed to place the Israelites under the command of a hierarchy of leaders (Exodus 18:19–23). And Nehemiah established quartermasters to make sure the Levites received their due (Nehemiah 13:13).

The leadership structure of the church is different than that in the Old Testament, however. God set aside the people of the tribe of Levi to serve Him. He designated that priests would come from the line of Aaron. The other Levite families had specific duties regarding the tabernacle (Numbers 3:21–37). Their tasks were based on what family they belonged to. In the church, however, leadership isn't based on family but character. First Timothy 3:8–13 lays out the qualifications for deacons, most of which deal with integrity. While deacons need to be spiritually mature, as any church leader, the apostles especially need to know they will handle the finances honestly and responsibly.
Verse Context:
Acts 6:1–7 sees the early church in Jerusalem solve a problem caused by their rapid growth. The church is comprised of Jews from traditionally Jewish lands as well as nations to the east and Roman territories around the Mediterranean. As more people follow Jesus, those who are able donate to the apostles to care for those in need. Greek-speaking widows are less familiar to the local believers, and so they are not getting the same amount of support as those who speak Aramaic. Instead of taking on one more responsibility, the apostles commission seven men to manage the donations. One of these men is Stephen.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 6 introduces us to a Jesus-follower named Stephen. The apostles affirmed the choice of Stephen, along with six others, to make sure every Christian in Jerusalem has what they need. But Stephen is also a skilled debater. As a Greek-speaking Jew from outside Judea, Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, and modern-day Asia Minor would naturally gravitate toward him. These travelers cannot defeat Stephen's logic, but they reject his message. They falsely accuse Stephen and bring him before the Sanhedrin.
Chapter Context:
Acts 6 introduces us to a Jesus-follower named Stephen. The apostles affirmed the choice of Stephen, along with six others, to make sure every Christian in Jerusalem has what they need. But Stephen is also a skilled debater. As a Greek-speaking Jew from outside Judea, Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, and modern-day Asia Minor would naturally gravitate toward him. These travelers cannot defeat Stephen's logic, but they reject his message. They falsely accuse Stephen and bring him before the Sanhedrin.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/26/2024 5:37:46 PM
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