May 11 Evening Verse of The Day

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6:4 Essential to the work of the apostles was their devotion to prayer and to the ministry of the word. The burgeoning ministry of charity was distracting them from this calling. The Greek-speaking Hellenists from whom the seven were selected were better equipped to serve and communicate with the widows.[1]

6:4 Prayer and the ministry of the Word (cf. v. 2) define the highest priorities of church leaders.[2]

6:4 — “ … but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Church leaders and teachers, in particular, must never skimp on their time spent in prayer and in God’s Word. Since they will “receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1), they need to make sure they stay close to God.[3]

6:4 prayer and … word: Note the order here. Prayer was primary for the apostles (2:42).[4]

6:4. The Twelve then specified their own duties. They would dedicate themselves “continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This wise and simple solution freed the apostles to pursue their primary ministry.[5]

6:4 The apostles would give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. The order here is significant—first prayer, then the ministry of the word. They made it a point to speak to God about men before speaking to men about God.[6]

6:4 “devote ourselves” This Greek term is used in several senses.

1.    to closely associate with someone, Acts 8:13

2.    to personally serve someone, Acts 10:7

3.    to be steadfastly committed to something or someone

a.    the early disciples to each other and prayer, Acts 1:14

b.   the early disciples to the Apostles’ teaching, Acts 2:42

c.    the early disciples to each other, Acts 2:46

d.   the Apostles to the ministry of prayer and the Word, Acts 6:4 (Paul uses the same word to call believers to steadfastness in prayer, Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2).

 “prayer and the ministry of the word” This phrase is fronted (i.e. placed first) in the Greek sentence for emphasis. Isn’t it paradoxical that it was these “seven” who were the first to catch the vision of the world mission of the gospel, not the Apostles. It was “the seven” whose preaching forced the break with Judaism, not the Apostles.[7]

4. And we will give ourselves unto prayer. They show again that they have too much business otherwise, wherein they may exercise themselves during their whole life. For the old proverb agreeth hereunto very fitly, which was used sometimes in the solemn rites, do this. Therefore, they use the word προσκαρτερησαι, which signifieth to be, as it were, fastened and tied to anything. Therefore, pastors must not think that they have so done their duty that they need to do no more when they have daily spent some time in teaching. There is another manner of study, another manner of zeal, another manner of continuance required, that they may3 indeed boast that they are wholly given to that thing. They adjoin thereunto prayer, not that they alone ought to pray, (for that is an exercise common to all the godly,) but because they have peculiar causes to pray above all others. There is no man which ought not to be careful for the common salvation of the Church. How much more, then, ought the pastor, who hath that function enjoined him by name to labour carefully [anxiously] for it? So Moses did indeed exhort others unto prayer, but he went before them as the ringleader, (Exod. 17:11.) And it is not without cause that Paul doth so often make mention of his prayers, (Rom. 1:10.) Again, we must always remember that, that we shall lose all our labour bestowed upon plowing, sowing, and watering, unless the increase come from heaven, (1 Cor. 3:7.) Therefore, it shall not suffice to take great pains in teaching, unless we require the blessing at the hands of the Lord, that our labour may not be in vain and unfruitful. Hereby it appeareth that the exercise of prayer is not in vain commended unto the ministers of the word.[8]

[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2092). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ac 6:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ac 6:4). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1377). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 510). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1601). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Utley, R. J. (2003). Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts (Vol. Volume 3B, p. 92). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[8] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 1, pp. 236–237). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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