Acts 6:1-5
Acts 6:1 (KJB)
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
Ministration - Distribution
Now that the church was beginning to start teaching and evangelizing, the number of disciples had grown and whenever something starts out, there may be some types of confusion and misunderstandings which may grow into anger on the part of a few. Since the Gentiles were now being made a part of the church along with the Hebrews, there was already factions starting to occur. The Greeks had accused the Hebrews that their widows were not being taken care of. They had accused them of neglect. This had begun to raise tensions and maybe because the Greek widows were unable to speak Hebrew were unable to speak up and this made it seem like intentional neglect. Now what was being distributed may have been money or goods since previously the new Christians had brought their donations of goods and money to the Apostles and they were giving them out as needed.
Acts 6:2 (KJB)
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
Reason - Pleasing, desirable, or acceptable
Since there were many disciples involved in the distribution, the twelve Apostles had summoned this crowd and relayed to them that their primary ministry was to teach and preach the word of God and would have been unacceptable for them to leave this task and take over the distribution tables. This is an excellent example of teaching that each Christian has a spiritual gift plus they have talents which can be used for the Kingdom of God. Here the Apostles knew that they were called to teach and evangelize and for them to take over the tables would be to literally neglect their calling as preachers of the Gospel. This is a lesson which must be learned by every Christian. If God puts us into a specific ministry, we must never divert from that ministry unless and until the Lord directs us too.
Acts 6:3 (KJB)
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.
The Apostles then responded with a plan. Always be part of the solution and not the problem. They gave a charge to the other Christians that from among themselves, they were to look for seven men, who were truly saved and walking in the Spirit that could be trusted to oversee the business of distribution of the goods. If you notice, the Apostles did not lessen their requirements for this task. They wanted true Christians with much Holy Ghost wisdom because they did not see this task as any less important. There is no such thing as an unimportant task in the Kingdom of God and that is why it is necessary that all phases of God’s work be handled by those who are truly born again. This verse also teaches that church leaders should not be the only ones to handle church business, it should include all qualified Christians in the congregation.
Acts 6:4 (KJB)
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
The Apostles were not putting down the ministry of distribution as less important as the ministry of teaching and evangelism. They knew what their ministries were and they were not going to divert from it plus there were hundreds of Christians and it was now time to begin to start getting others involved in ministry. If one is called to proclaim the word, they should not be diverted into other ministries because as I have seen in the modern church, “lending a hand” automatically converts to taking over the project or ministry.
Acts 6:5 (KJB)
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
The choice was made for the seven who would oversee the ministry of distribution in the church.
Stephen - The name means “wreath or crown.” It was given at the Olympic games and was called a Stephanos crown which was like a garland. Stephen also became a powerful preacher as he gave the history of how God worked in Israel to bring about the Lord Jesus Christ through history. (Acts 7)
Philip - The name means “warrior or lover of horses.” Philip also became a great preacher and helped the Ethiopian Eunuch understand Isaiah 53. (Acts 8)
Prochorus - The name means “leading in a chorus, dance, or leader of singers.” Nothing else is known of him.
Nicanor - The name means “conqueror, victorious, or I conquer.” Nothing else is known of him.
Timon - The name means “honorable, or deemed worthy.” Nothing else is known of him.
Parmenas - The name means “faithful or I abide.” Nothing else is known of him.
Nicolas - The name means “conqueror of the people.” Some believe that it was he who started a sect called the Nicolaitanes. (Rev 2:6 KJV) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. Since Revelation was penned in 95 A.D. this would put 62 years between his being appointed a deacon and the condemning of this cult by God in Revelation. There is no direct evidence linking Nicolas to this sect and it is done by means of the names meaning the same thing. So I would say tread lightly where the Bible is silent.
Even though nothing is know further about five of these men, one thing is for certain, at the time of their appointment, they were solid Christians worthy to be placed in special ministry. Never worry about whether the ministry you have will make you famous or not, never focus on public accolades. Focus on being faithful to whatever God assigns to you as your ministry.