February 13, 2011
The early church faced not only persecution but also the danger of distraction. As Alistair Begg explains, while the church was still getting established, a problem arose when one group felt neglected in the daily distribution of food for the widows. In response, the apostles proposed selecting spiritual, sensible men to meet this need, allowing the Twelve to focus on the essentials of prayer and preaching the Word. As then, so it is today: when God’s people prioritize the proclaiming of His message, the church will be unhindered, and the Gospel will continue to spread.
1Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists1 arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers,2 pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.