|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-7 Hitherto the disciples had been of one accord; this often had been noticed to their honour; but now they were multiplied, they began to murmur. The word of God was enough to take up all the thoughts, cares, and time of the apostles. The persons chosen to serve tables must be duly qualified. They must be filled with gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, necessary to rightly managing this trust; men of truth, and hating covetousness. All who are employed in the service of the church, ought to be commended to the Divine grace by the prayers of the church. They blessed them in the name of the Lord. The word and grace of God are greatly magnified, when those are wrought upon by it, who were least likely.
Verse 6. - When they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. They did not pray without imposition of hands, nor did they lay hands on them without prayer. So in the sacraments, in confirmation, and ordination, the outward sign or rite is accompanied by prayer for the thing signified. And God's grace is given through the sacrament or rite in answer to the prayer of faith (see Acts 8:15, and the Office for Baptism, the Prayer of Consecration in the Office for Holy Communion, and the Confirmation and Ordination Services). (For the laying on of hands as a mode of conveying a special grace and blessing, see Numbers 27:3; Deuteronomy 34:9; Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 4:40; Acts 8:17; Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 5:22; Hebrews 6:2.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Whom they set before the apostles,.... They did not barely nominate and propose them to them, but they brought them into their presence, and placed them before them, as the persons whom they had chosen, in order to be ordained by them.
And when they had prayed; for these seven men set before them, that they might appear to be richly qualified for this office, and might honourably and faithfully discharge it, to the peace of themselves, the advantage of the church, and the glory of God:
they laid their hands on them; that is, they ordained them, they installed them into their office, and invested them with it, using the rite or ceremony of laying on of hands, which was used by the apostles for the conferring of gifts, and in benedictions, and at the ordination of officers; and seems to be borrowed from the Jews, who used, it at the creation of doctors among them, and at the promotion of them to that dignity; and which they call or ordination by imposition of hands; though that rite was not looked upon to be essentially necessary: for so they say (f),
"ordination or promotion to doctorship is not necessarily done, "by the hand", as Moses did to Joshua, but even "by word" only; it was enough to say, I ordain thee, or be thou ordained or promoted.''
(f) Juchasin, fol. 60. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them—the one proclaiming that all official gifts flowed from the Church's glorified Head, the other symbolizing the communication of these to the chosen office-bearers through the recognized channels.
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