Nice and clean. Ready for more Texas road.
Thursday, 24 March 2022
Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Acts 6:2
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
Chapter 6 opened with a problem concerning a complaint by the Hellenists against the Hebrews. Their widows were being neglected during the daily distribution. With that set forth, it now says, “Then the twelve.”
It is a reference to the twelve apostles. Judas had gone off the list when he hung himself and Matthias had been added to it by the drawing of lots. It is these twelve that have now “summoned the multitude of the disciples.”
This is probably not a reference to all of the disciples. By Acts 4:4, there were about five thousand believers, with many more being added since then (Acts 5:14). Rather, this may be those who were there and referenced in verse 1, meaning those who had brought the complaint forward and those against whom the complaint had been made.
Or it may simply be referring to a large number that was regularly in the area. Either way, it is a multitude large enough to be addressed concerning the matter and to take part in its resolution. It is to this group that the apostles gathered together “and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God.’”
The translation is incorrect, it is an aorist participle. It has happened and should be rendered “having left,” or even better, “having forsaken,” or “having abandoned.” They were obviously called to attend to the matter, thus having abandoned their primary responsibility which was to attend to the word of God. Instead of that, they were facing a matter of quibbling that should have been resolvable by others in order to “serve tables.”
The Greek word, translated as “serve,” signifies “to wait at a table on guests.” The literal meaning is “to kick up the dust” because the one attending to the table scurries about. The idea of a table in this context is that which is used to serve at. It can be food or it can be money – such as in Matthew 21:12. Either way, the idea is that of a distribution of something that is meant to sustain the needs of those coming forward to it.
As this is a common job, anyone responsible enough could do it. To interfere with the apostles’ study and teaching of the word in order to serve tables would be counterproductive to the intent of their commission.
Life application: As surprising as this may be, the number of pastors that write their own sermons, in part or in whole, is actually rather small. The number of them that do so in larger churches is even smaller. Outlines of sermons, or entire sermons, are available in books. They are prewritten and cover almost every topic one can think of. They can be obtained from online resources. Completely unique sermons can be bought for one-time use by a single person. Others are available to anyone who is willing to pay whatever fee is charged.
For larger churches, there is often a designated sermon writer or even a team that comes together to write the pastor’s sermon for Sunday morning. As cheesy as this sounds, it is as common as eggs in a henhouse. If a pastor isn’t writing his own sermons, what does that say about his care of, and for, the word of God? What does it say about his devotion to the congregation? What does it tell you about his priorities? Do you care that the person in the pulpit at your church may not even know whether the theology he is presenting to you is actually correct or not?
At some point, see if you can find out how the pastor or preacher you listen to develops his sermons. Does he write them himself, or use outlines already laid out by others and then fill in the blanks? Does he just copy sermons from denomination resources or elsewhere? Having a knowledge of where he gets his sermon material from will tell you much about his priorities concerning the word and concerning the faith.
And the same is true with “Bible studies.” Quite often, the Bible is never used. Instead, a book by a pastor or scholar may be the subject material. Outlines by other preachers or teachers may be the content of the study. Isn’t the person supposed to be opening and teaching from the Bible at a Bible study? If the Bible is used, are the notes for the study his, or just items printed off from some book or online resource?
These things should actually be at the forefront of the minds of those who are being instructed. If the pastor, preacher, or teacher isn’t using his own materials, how do you know if he even intimately understands what he is presenting? Maybe he is actually more suited to serving tables than serving the word of God to you. A fancy speaker does not equate to proper theology. Be aware of what you are absorbing as you spend your time seeking out the truth of God from the word.
Gracious and glorious God, Your word is a precious treasure. Please direct us to those who carefully consider Your word, who diligently study Your word, and who competently teach Your word. It is too precious for us to be led astray by those who are not properly versed in it. Thank You for Your glorious and superior word. Amen.