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Acts 6


1 And (1) in those days, as the number of the disciples grew, there arose a murmuring of the (a) (*) Grecians towards the Hebrews, because their widows were (♣) neglected in the (b) daily ministering.


(1) When Satan hath assailed the Church without, and that to small purpose and in vain, he assaileth it within, with civil dissension and strife between themselves; but the Apostles take occasion thereby to set order in the Church.
(a) Of their parts which of Grecians became religious Jews.

(*) Whose ancestors were Jews and dwelled in Greece; herefore these spake Greek, and not Hebrew.

(♣) They were not looked unto in the distribution of the alms.
(b) In the bestowing of alms according to their necessity.


  (2) Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples together, and said, It is not (c) meet that we should leave the word of God to serve the (d) (*) tables.


(2) The office of preaching the word and dispensing the goods of the Church, are different one from another, and not rashly to be joined together, as the Apostles do here institute; And the Apostles do not choose so much as Deacons without the consent of the Church.
(c) It is such a matter, as we may in no wise accept of it.
(d) Banquets though by the name of tables, other offices are also meant, which are annexed to it, such as pertain to the care of the poor.

(*) That is, to make provision for the maintenance of the poor, for as much as they were not able to satisfy both the offices.


 3  (3) Wherefore brethren, look you out among you seven men of honest report, and full of the holy Ghost, and of wisdom, which we may appoint to this business.


(3) In choosing of Deacons (and much more of Ministers) there must be examination both of their learning and manners of life.


 4 And we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministration of the word.


 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude; and they chose Stephen a man full of (♣) faith and of the holy Ghost, and (*) Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a (♠) Proselyte of Antioch,


(♣) He joineth faith with the other gifts of the holy Ghost.

(*) Acts 21:8 .

(♠) Meaning one that was turned to the Jewish religion.


  (4) Which they set before the Apostles; and they prayed, and (e) (*) laid their hands on them.


(4) The ancient Church did with laying on of hands, as it were consecrate to the Lord, such as were lawfully elected.
(e) This ceremony of laying on of hands came from the Jews, who used this order both in public affairs, and offering of sacrifices, and also in private prayers and blessings, as appeareth Genesis 28, and the Church observed this ceremony, 1 Timothy 5:22; Acts 8:17; but here is no mention made either of cream, or shaving, or razing, or crossing, etc.

(*) This ceremony the Jews observed in solemn sacrifices, Leviticus 3:2, and also in prayer and private blessings, Genesis 48:14; likewise in the primitive Church it was used, either when they made ministers or gave the gifts of the holy Ghost; which gifts being now taken away, the ceremony must cease.


  (5) And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the Priests were obedient to the (f) (*) faith.


(5) A happy end of temptation.
(f) This is the figure Metonymy, meaning by faith, the doctrine of the Gospel which engendereth faith.

(*) That is, to the Gospel, which is received by faith.


  (6) Now Stephen full of faith and (g) power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.


(6) God exerciseth his Church first with evil words and slanders, then with imprisonments, afterwards with scourgings, and by these means prepareth it in such sort, that at length he causeth it to encounter with Satan and the world, even to bloodshed and death, and that with good success.
(g) Excellent and singular gifts.


  (7) Then there arose certain of the (h) (*) Synagogue, which are called Libertines, and Cyrenians, and of Alexandria, and of them of Cilicia, and of Asia, and disputed with Stephen.


(7) Schools and Universities were of old time addicted to false pastors, and were the instruments of Satan to blow abroad and defend false doctrines.
(h) Of the company and college as it were.

(*) Or college; divers nations had colleges at Jerusalem, wherein their youth was instructed, as we see in universities.


 10  (8) But they were not able to resist the wisdom, and the Spirit by the which he spake.


(8) False teachers, because they will not be overcome, flee from disputations to manifest and open slandering and false accusations.


 11 Then they (*) suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and God.


(*) That is, instructed and set forth false witnesses; and thus malice seeketh false shifts when truth faileth her.


 12  (9) Thus they moved the people and the Elders, and the Scribes, and running upon him, caught him, and brought him to the Council,


(9) The first bloody persecution of the Church of Christ begun and sprang from a Council of Priests by the suggestion of the University doctors.


 13  (10) And set forth false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the Law.


(10) An example of cavilers or false accusers, which gather false conclusions of things that are well uttered and spoken.


 14 For we have heard him say, that (*) this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the ordinances, which Moses gave us.


(*) They spake this in contempt.


 15 And as all that sat in the Council looked steadfastly on him, they (i) saw his face as it had been the (*) face of an Angel.


(i) Hereby it appeareth that Stephen had an excellent and goodly countenance, having a quiet and settled mind, a good conscience, and sure persuasion that his cause was just; for seeing he was to speak before the people, God beautified his countenance, to the end that with the very beholding of him, the Jews' minds might be pierced and amazed.

(*) Not only a certain confidence, but also great majesty appearing in him.




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