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Bible Commentaries
Acts 6

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Acts 6:1

Number -- multiplied -- The number of believers was growing, cf. Acts 5:14; Acts 6:7

Daily ministration -- διακονίᾳ, diakonia. Were these men "deacons"? They certainly were in the general sense, and were the forerunners of the official work of "deacons" seen later - 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Verse 2

Acts 6:2

word of God -- cf Acts 6:4

serve tables -- Probably the "tables" where distribution to those needing help was given. The term also denotes the daily needs of a family.

serve -- or minister, διακονεῖν, διακονέω diakoneō , to serve, to minister.

Verse 3

Acts 6:3

Look out among you . Notice that the congregation selected the men and the apostles gave their approval Acts 6:6.

Full of the Holy Ghost -- With respect to fruits of a holy life Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9. No evidence of miracles being performed by others as yet except by the apostles.

Verse 4

Acts 6:4

Ministry of the word -- The first duty, teaching and preaching, was not to take second place to helping the poor when others could do that.

Verse 5

Acts 6:5

Vs. 5 - All seven names are Grecian. Men were chosen from among the group that was being neglected. Probably such men would have better knowledge of who those in need were.

Nicolas -- Antioch -- The only one whose origin is mentioned; he must have been important to Luke. Much later more time and information is given about Antioch Acts 13:1 ff.

Verse 6

Acts 6:6

They set -- Notice that the congregation selected the men Acts 6:3 and the apostles gave their approval.

Laid hand on them -- A sign of official recognition for a designated work (1 Timothy 4:14 see note). Also the means of the imparting spiritual gifts Acts 8:17-18. It is after this laying on of hands by the apostles that we later find Stephen doing wonders and miracles Acts 6:8 and speaking with such wisdom and spirit Acts 6:10; and Philip also working miracles in Samaria Acts 8:13.

Verse 7

Acts 6:7

Obedient to the faith -- "Faith" used objectively for the Christian religion. "Faith" is seen as someting to be obeyed! Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26

Verse 8

Acts 6:8

Stephen -- Stephen was selected first to "serve tables" but we find now find him performing miracles and preaching Acts 6:5.

What a wonderful example of someone growing and developing in the faith and moving on to a higher task.

Full of faith -- Faith here used subjectively, trust and conviction.

Wonders and miracles -- He was now doing this subsequent to the laying on of the apostles’ hands Acts 6:6.

Verse 9

Acts 6:9

Libertines -- Chrysostom explains them as "freedmen of the Romans" thought to have been former prisoners or slaves of Romans who were now free men.

Cyrenians -- North Africa, one from here bore Jesus’ cross Matthew 27:32.

Alexandrians -- Two-thirds (100,000) of the population of this Egyptian coastal city were Jews. It was a scholarly city where the Greek translation (the Septuagint, or LXX) of the Hebrew scriptures had been made and which was very frequently quoted by the New Testament writers.

Cilicia -- This was a province of Asia Minor, on the seacoast, at the north of Cyprus. The capital of this province was Tarsus, the native place of Paul, Acts 9:11. As Paul was of this place, and belonged doubtless to this synagogue, it is probable that he was one who was engaged in this dispute with Stephen. Compare Acts 7:58.

Vs. 9 - Stephen was a Hellenistic Jewish-Christian disputing with Hellenistic Jews. This was most likely the very Grecian synagogue where he himself formerly worshiped and the men some of whom he must have known personally.

Verse 10

Acts 6:10

Not able to resist -- They there not able to meet his logical arguments nor to give mundane reason for the miracles which he did. When failing to do that, they worked on the emotions of the people Acts 6:12 ("stirred up the people") and met Stephen with violence as is often the case.

Wisdom and spirit -- Whether this is his own wisdom and spirit or something supplied by the Holy Spirit we cannot be sure. But the power and effect of his efforts could not be matched. It probably is an indication that Stephen spoke inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 11

Acts 6:11

Suborned men -- NASB "secretly induced"; ESV "secretly instigated;" NIV "secretly persuaded."

Webster, "1. to procure privately or unlawfully, as -- by bribery to commit some crime."

Against Moses -- Probably Stephen was preaching the truth of Colossians 2:14 and Ephesians 2:15 and the very teaching of Christ as he warned of the coming destruction of the temple, Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21.

Verse 12

Acts 6:12

Stirred up the people -- When not able to meet the logical arguments of Stephen Acts 6:10, the opposition turned to arouse the emotions of the people.

The council -- The Sanhedrin. We visualize the semi-circle of this court with Stephen in the center and the mob behind him hurling their accusations to the court.

Verse 13

Acts 6:13

Set up false witnesses -- These men "put forward" were the "suborned men" of Acts 6:11. We are reminded of Jesus’ own trial and words in Matthew 5:11-12; Matthew 26:59.

Against -- holy place -- law -- Stephen seems to have been preaching the message Christ gave in Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:1-2; John 4:21; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9-10.

Verse 14

Acts 6:14

Shall destroy -- Stephen seems to have been preaching the message of Christ Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:1-2;

Change the customs -- John 4:21; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:9-10

Verse 15

Acts 6:15

Looking steadfastly . ."fixing their gaze," "fastening their eyes"

Face of an angel -- What was Stephen’s appearance? Peaceful, serene, confident? He must have looked like one who was in the presence of the Lord.

Stephen: The Angel-Faced Man

1. Sees heavenly things - Acts 7:56

2. Says heavenly things - Acts 7:59

3. Enters into Heaven’s rest - Acts 7:60

Revelation 14:13; Psalms 116:15

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Acts 6". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/acts-6.html. 2021.
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