New American Standard Bible
"Therefore, brethren, 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.
King James Bible
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.
Darby Bible Translation
Look out therefore, brethren, from among yourselves seven men, well reported of, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we will establish over this business:
World English Bible
Therefore select from among you, brothers, seven men of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Young's Literal Translation
look out, therefore, brethren, seven men of you who are well testified of, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may set over this necessity,
Acts 6:3 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Look ye out - Select, or choose. As this was a matter pertaining to their own pecuniary affairs, it was proper that "they" should be permitted to choose such men as they could confide in. By this means the apostles would be free from all suspicions. It could not be pretended that "they" were partial, nor could it ever be charged on them that they wished to embezzle the funds by managing them themselves, or by entrusting them to men of their own selection. It follows from this, also, that the right of selecting "deacons" resides "in" the church, and does not pertain to the ministry. It is evidently proper that men who are to be entrusted with the alms of the church should be selected by the church itself.
Among you - That is, from among the Grecians and Hebrews, that there may be justice done, and no further cause of complaint.
Seven men - Seven was a sacred number among the Hebrews, but there does not appear to have been any "mystery" in choosing this number. It was a convenient number, sufficiently large to secure the faithful performance of the duty, and not so large as to cause confusion and embarrassment. It does not follow, however, that the same number is now to be chosen as deacons in a church, for the precise number is not commanded.
Of honest report - Of fair reputation; regarded as men of integrity. Greek: "testified of," or "bear witness to"; that is, whose characters were well known and fair.
Full of the Holy Ghost - This evidently does not mean endowed with miraculous gifts, or the power of speaking foreign languages, for such gifts were not necessary to the discharge of their office, but it means people who were eminently under the influence of the Holy Spirit, or who were of distinguished piety. This was all that was necessary in the case, and this is all that the words fairly imply.
And wisdom - Prudence, or skill, to make a wise and equable distribution. The qualifications of deacons are still further stated and illustrated in 1 Timothy 3:8-10. In this place it is seen that they must be people of eminent piety and fair character, and that they must possess "prudence," or wisdom, to manage the affairs connected with their office. These qualifications are indispensable to a faithful discharge of the duty entrusted to the officers of the church.
Whom we may appoint - Whom we may "constitute," or set over this business. The way in which this was done was by prayer and the imposition of hands, Acts 6:6. Though they were "selected" by the church, yet the power of ordaining them, or setting them apart, was retained by the apostles. Thus, the rights of "both" were preserved - the right of the church to designate those who should serve them in the office of deacon, and the right of the apostles to organize and establish the church with its appropriate officers; on the one hand, a due regard to the liberty and privileges of the Christian community, and, on the other, the security of proper respect for the office as being of apostolic appointment and authority.
Over this business - That is, over the distribution of the alms of the church - not to preach, or to govern the church, but solely to take care of the sacred funds of charity, and distribute them to supply the needs of the poor. The office is distinguished from that of "preaching" the gospel. To that the apostles were to attend. The deacons were expressly set apart to a different work, and to that work they should be confined. In this account of their original appointment, there is not the slightest intimation that they were to "preach," but the contrary is supposed in the whole transaction. Nor is there here the slightest intimation that they were regarded as an order of "clergy," or as in any way connected with the clerical office. In the ancient synagogues of the Jews there were three men to whom was entrusted the care of the poor. They were called by the Hebrews "parnasin" or "pastors" (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. et Talin.; Matthew 4:23). From these officers the apostles took the idea probably of appointing deacons in the Christian church, and doubtless intended that their duties should be the same.
LibraryFilled with the Spirit
'Men ... full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.' ... 'A man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost....' 'Stephen, full of faith and power.'--ACTS vi. 3, 5, 8. I have taken the liberty of wrenching these three fragments from their context, because of their remarkable parallelism, which is evidently intended to set us thinking of the connection of the various characteristics which they set forth. The first of them is a description, given by the Apostles, of the sort of man whom they conceived to be fit to …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts
The Acts of the Apostles
The Seven Deacons
"Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.
Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?"
At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.
"A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
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