on Acts 6 :2
It is not reason - Ουκ αρεστον εστι, it is not pleasing, proper, or fitting, that we should leave the word of God, that we should give up ourselves, or confide to others, the doctrine of salvation which God has commanded us to preach unto the people.
And serve tables - Become providers of daily bread for your widows and poor: others can do this, to whom our important office is not intrusted.
on Acts 6 :2
Then the twelve - That is, the apostles. Matthias had been added to them after the apostasy of Judas, which had completed the original number.
The multitude of the disciples - It is not necessary to suppose that all the disciples were convened, which amounted to many thousands, but that the business was laid before a large number; or perhaps "the multitude" here means those merely who were more particularly interested in the matter, and who had been engaged in the complaint.
It is not reason - The original words used here properly denote "it is not pleasing or agreeable"; but the meaning evidently is, it is not "suitable" or "proper." It would be a departure from the design of their appointment, which was to preach the gospel, and not to attend to the pecuniary affairs of the church.
Leave the word of God - That we should neglect or abandon the preaching of the gospel so much as would be necessary if we attended personally to the distribution of the alms of the church. The "gospel" is here called the "Word of God," because it is his message; it is what he has spoken, or which he has commanded to be proclaimed to people.
Serve tables - This expression properly denotes "to take care of, or provide for the table, or for the daily needs of a family." It is an expression that properly applies to a steward or a servant. The word "tables" is, however, sometimes used with reference to "money," as being the place where money was kept for the purpose of "exchange, etc.," Matthew 21:12; Matthew 25:27. Here the expression means, therefore, to attend to the pecuniary transactions of the church, and to make the proper distribution for the needs of the poor.
on Acts 6 :2
6:2 It is not right that we should leave the word of God and serve tables - In the first Church, the primary business of apostles, evangelists, and bishops, was to preach the word of God; the secondary, to take a kind of paternal care (the Church being then like a family,) for the food, especially of the poor, the strangers, and the widows. Afterward, the deacons of both sexes were constituted for this latter business. And whatever time they had to spare from this, they employed in works of spiritual mercy. But their proper office was, to take care of the poor. And when some of them afterward preached the Gospel, they did this not by virtue of their deaconship, but of another commission, that of evangelists, which they probably received, not before, but after they were appointed deacons. And it is not unlikely that others were chosen deacons, or stewards, in their room, when any of these commenced evangelists.