Mustangs at Las Colinas – Dallas, Texas.
Sunday, 27 March 2022
And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, Acts 6:5
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
The apostles’ instructed that seven men should be selected to attend to the daily distribution while they would continue with the duties of their ministry. With that noted, Luke next records, “And the saying pleased the whole multitude.”
This doesn’t mean that the apostles required their approval, but that the decision of the apostles was a good, just, and fair one that was agreeable to all who heard it. With this happily rendered decision, it next says, “And they chose Stephen.”
Stephen is the first to be noted of the seven chosen. The reason for noting him first will become evident as the narrative continues. His name (Stephanos in the Greek) means “Crown.” The word stephanos is used in the New Testament when referring to the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, as well as the various crowns Paul, Peter, and James refer to in their writings. Revelation also uses the word eight times. Of this person, he is next described as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”
This statement will be more fully realized later in this chapter and throughout Acts 7. He had a deep-seated faith in the truth of God in Christ as it is realized in the Person of Jesus. He understood Scripture well enough to be able to clearly see that everything written there was leading to Jesus, and that Jesus was the fulfillment of it all. Further, later in this chapter, and as Stephen will speak before the people, the filling of the Holy Spirit for performing signs and wonders, as well as faithfully speaking about the scriptural writings, will become evident.
Next, it says, “and Philip.” His name means “Horse Loving.” He will be noted again in Acts 21 as the evangelist with four daughters who prophesied. Also, as the name was a common one, he may or may not be the same person who preached in Samaria in Acts 8 and then later in the same chapter who met with the Ethiopian eunuch. Next, it notes the following men: Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas.
They are known by their names only and nothing further is noted of them. The name Prochorus literally means “Before the Dancing,” or “Before the Chorus,” but the intent may be “Choir Director.” Nicanor literally means “Man of Victory,” but it may indicate something like “Victorious,” or “Conqueror.” Timon means “Valuable,” or “Honoring.” Parmenas means “Near-Stayer.” One might paraphrase it as the “Guy Close By.” Finally, the list ends, saying, “and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.”
The name means “Victor Over the People.” A proselyte is a non-Jew that has been circumcised and has adopted the religious practices of the Jews.
All of the names are Greek. Although this does not mean they are all Hellenistic Jews, it could mean that. Many Hebrews Jews had both a Hebrew name and another name, usually a Greek one. Whether they are all Hellenists or not, the Greek names show an affinity for the Hellenists. As such, they would be well-suited to be a part of the daily distribution where the Hellenistic widows had been previously overlooked. The selection shows wisdom because of this.
Life application: The selection of these men to serve is specifically given to reveal that the problem had been handled, that the decision was appealing to everyone, and that their particular selection was agreeable because they identified with those who had been previously neglected.
However, the first requirement was already stated in the previous verses. They were first and foremost to be of good reputation and full of the Holy Spirit. It is a lesson that has been almost wholly ignored in our modern world. People of ability have traditionally been chosen because of their abilities first and foremost. It is true that many people of ability have been overlooked because of their race, culture, gender, and so on. But in today’s woke world, those characteristics are being placed above ability.
As such, businesses, companies, schools, the military, and governments at all levels are being filled with people who are wholly unqualified for their duties. People are promoted because of skin color, even if they don’t have the reasoning of a rabbit. They are promoted because of their gender, even though they could not find their way out of a public bathroom. And they are selected for high-level positions because they have moral leanings comparable to Nero.
When the biblical model is ignored, a society cannot endure. The world is heading down the exact same path that it followed before the flood of Noah. Wickedness is pervading every aspect of society, and the strong and determined hand of judgment will come upon the world because of it. As Christians, we are not to accept nor tolerate these things. We are to keep ourselves from being molded into society’s corrupting image. Instead, we are to work as best we can to have society return from the path it has chosen to one of reason and right morals.
Stand firm on what the Bible reveals. Hold fast to its instruction and be pleasing to the Lord who has so directed it to be.
Lord God, Your word is not something we can compromise on. We must hold to its moral precepts and stand fast on what You have revealed. Help us in this. The world is devolving into wickedness and immorality, and it is so easy to be swept along with that tide. May we stand fast on the Rock of our salvation and proclaim the better way! Yes, help us in this Lord God. Amen.