What does Acts 6:4 mean?
ESV: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
NIV: and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.'
NASB: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.'
CSB: But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
NLT: Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.'
KJV: But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Verse Commentary:
The apostles have realized that not all the Jesus-followers are receiving the support they need. In this case, the loose, generous system of donations is overlooking the Greek-speaking widows (Acts 6:1). Jesus has given the apostles their task: to spread His message. They have faithfully done so, to the point that the church in Jerusalem includes thousands of Jews and proselytes. That is their job, so they willingly pass on the administration of the donations to others who are qualified (Acts 6:2–3).

Ironically, "ministry" is from the Greek root word diakonia, the same word from which we get our term "deacon." The seven men selected are to be deacons of the resources of the church and the provision of the people (Acts 6:5); the apostles are to be deacons of the Word. This is not a sign that pastors are somehow "above" less prestigious tasks (John 13:14–16). It is a sign that those other than pastors ought to support their leaders by taking on what tasks they can.

The apostles are not taking the easy road. The Sanhedrin has recently beat them because they preach in Jesus' name (Acts 5:40). Tradition says that all but one will die a martyr's death because they spread Jesus' word. Before that happens, however, the apostles need to make sure they equip the Jesus-followers as thoroughly as possible (Acts 2:42). Twelve apostles cannot reach everyone in the Roman Empire and all the people in the nations to the east. But they can train people who can.

The apostles' emphasis on prayer and the ministry of the Word and their willingness to delegate responsibilities should give us pause about the problems we expect our pastors and elders to solve. They should have the time to determine the major theological issues and lead the church in the direction the Holy Spirit leads. We should be willing to find solutions for the smaller problems and, with their agreement, get them done.
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 4/22/2024 2:38:18 PM
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