Sunday: The Appointment of the Seven

Read Acts 6:1. What was the complaint of the Hellenistic believers?

“The cause of complaint was an alleged neglect of the Greek widows in the daily distribution of assistance. Any inequality would have been contrary to the spirit of the gospel, yet Satan had succeeded in arousing suspicion.

The Appointment of the Seven

The Appointment of the Seven

Prompt measures must now be taken to remove all occasion for dissatisfaction, lest the enemy triumph in his effort to bring about a division among the believers.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 88.

The solution proposed by the apostles was that the Jews choose seven men from among themselves to “serve [diakoneo] tables” (Acts 6:2), while they would spend their time in prayer and the “ministry [diakonia] of the word” (Acts 6:4). Since diakoneo and diakoniabelong to the same word-group, the only real difference is between “tables” in Acts 6:2 and “the word” in Acts 6:4. This, together with the adjective “daily” (Acts 6:1), seems to point to the two main elements of the early church’s daily life: teaching (“the word”) and fellowship (“tables”), the latter consisting of the communal meal, the Lord’s Supper, and prayers (Acts 2:42Acts 2:46Acts 5:42).

That is, as the authoritative trustees of Jesus’ teachings, the apostles would occupy themselves mostly with the believers’ doctrinal teaching and with prayer, while the Seven would be in charge of the fellowship activities, in the several house-churches. Their duties, however, were not limited to those of deacons as this term is understood today. They were in fact the first congregation leaders of the church.

Read Acts 6:2-6. How were the Seven chosen and commissioned to service?

The candidates were to be distinguished by moral, spiritual, and practical qualities: they should have an honorable reputation and be filled with the Spirit and wisdom. With the community’s approval, the Seven were selected and then commissioned through prayer and laying on of hands. The rite seems to indicate public recognition and the bestowal of authority to work as deacons.

It’s so easy to sow dissension in the ranks, isn’t it? How can we do all in our God-given power to keep peace among us and to focus on mission?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons