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Acts 6: 1-7 The Apostles choose helpers Footnotes:


6: 1-7: These are traditionally regarded as the first deacons, but their functions are more like that of presbyters or bishops. The Hellenists were not necessarily Jews from the dispora, but were most probably Palestinian Jews who spoke only Greek. The Hebrews were Palestinian Jews who spoke Hebrew or Aramaic and who may also have spoken Greek. Both groups belong to the Jerusalem Jewish Christian community. The conflict between them leads to a restructuring of the community that will better serve the community’s needs. The real purpose of the whole episode, however, is to introduce Stephen as a prominent figure in the community whose long speech and martyrdom will be recounted in Ch 7.


6: 2-4: The essential function of the Twelve is the “service of


the word,” including development of the kerygma by formulation of the teaching of Jesus.


6: 6: They …laid hands on them: the customary Jewish way of designating persons for a task and invoking upon them the divine blessing and power to perform it.


Acts 6: 1-7 1 At the time, as the numbers of disciples continued to grow, the


Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. 3 Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, 4whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so the chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. 7The word of God continued to be spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.


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