6:1 And 1 in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the a Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the b daily ministration.
(1) When Satan has assailed the Church on the outside, and with little result and in vain, he assails it on the inside, with civil dissension and strife between themselves: but the apostles take occasion by this to set order in the Church. 6:2 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is not c reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve d tables.
(a) From among their own members, who became religious Jews from among the Greeks.
(b) In the bestowing of alms according to their need.
(2) The office of preaching the word, and dispensing the goods of the Church, are different from one another, and not rashly to be joined together, as the apostles institute here. And the deacons must seek the consent of the Church more than the apostles. 6:3 3 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.
(c) It is such a matter that we may in no way accept it.
(d) Banquets: though by the name of tables other offices are also meant, which are added to it, such as those which pertain to the care of the poor.
(3) In choosing deacons (and much more in choosing ministers) there must be an examination of both their learning and their manners of life. 6:6 4 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they e laid [their] hands on them.
(4) The ancient Church, with the laying on of hands, as it were consecrated to the Lord those who were lawfully elected. 6:7 5 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the f faith.
(e) This ceremony of the laying on of hands came from the Jews, who used this ceremony both in public affairs, and in the offering of sacrifices, and also in private prayers and blessings, as appears in ( Genesis 48:13-22 ); and the Church also observed this ceremony, as is evident from ( 1 Timothy 5:22 ; Acts 8:17 ). However, there is no mention made here either of cream, or shaving, or razing, or crossing, etc.
(5) A happy result of temptation. 6:8 6 And Stephen, full of faith and g power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
(f) This is the figure of speech metonymy, meaning by "faith" the doctrine of the Gospel which brings about faith.
(6) God trains his Church first with evil words and slanders, then with imprisonments, afterwards with scourgings, and by these means prepares it in such a way that at length he causes it to meet in combat with Satan and the world, even to bloodshed and death. 6:9 7 Then there arose certain of the h synagogue, which is called [the synagogue] of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
(g) Excellent and singular gifts.
(7) Schools and universities in ancient times were addicted to false pastors, and were the instruments of Satan to spread abroad and defend false doctrines. 6:10 8 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
(h) Of the people and the school, as it were.
(8) False teachers, because they will not be overcome, flee from disputations and resort to manifest and open slandering and false accusations. 6:12 9 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon [him], and caught him, and brought [him] to the council,
(9) The first bloody persecution of the Church of Christ, began and sprang from a council of priests, by the suggestion of the university teachers. 6:13 10 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, i saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
(10) An example of frivolous objectors or false accusers, who gather false conclusions from things that are well uttered and spoken.
(i) By this it appears that Steven had an excellent and wholesome countenance, having a quiet and settled mind, a good conscience, and certain conviction that his cause was just: for seeing as he was to speak before the people, God beautified his countenance, so that by the very beholding of him the Jews minds might be penetrated and amazed.