What does Acts 6:6 mean?
ESV: These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
NIV: They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
NASB: And they brought these men before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
CSB: They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
NLT: These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.
KJV: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
NKJV: whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
Verse Commentary:
When presented with a problem by the culturally Greek members of the church, the Aramaic-speaking apostles empowered the church to solve it (Acts 6:1–2). The church chooses men who have a good reputation, wisdom, and an abundance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3). Although the apostles will have to rely on "prayer and…the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4) regarding the integration of Gentiles into a Jewish-based religion later (Acts 11:1–18), the presence of the Holy Spirit and the character of a person should always be more important than cultural similarities.

The wording here resembles passages where Jesus-followers lay money and resources before the apostles (Acts 4:34–37). The congregation is dedicating these seven men to minister as the apostles see fit. The apostles turn around and give the men authority to decide how they will address the problem. The apostles can do this because of their dedication to prayer and because they know the character of the men and their relationship with the Holy Spirit.

The Bible speaks of laying hands on another often. Jesus laid His hands on the children (Matthew 19:13). Jairus begged Jesus to lay hands on his dying daughter (Mark 5:23). In Jesus' ministry, laying on of hands is related to blessing and healing. In the church, some receive the Holy Spirit when an apostle lays his hands on them (Acts 8:16–19; 9:17–18; 19:5–6), but most receive the Holy Spirit without the ritual. Jesus did not commission the apostles by laying His hands on them, but the early church does ordain those set aside for a special ministry with the laying on of hands (Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14). It appears the laying on of hands is a cultural practice, as the Bible describes it but doesn't command it.
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 4:51:27 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com