The Apostles Choose Seven to Assist Them

Acts 6:1–6

1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 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:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“God’s command to His people in every age is: ‘Organize yourselves’ (D&C 88:119). Moses chose seventy men to aid him in judging and regulating Israel [see Numbers 11:14–30]. Here the ancient Apostles select seven brethren to aid them in administering the affairs of whatever system of United Order was then in operation. The work assigned them fell within the realm of those temporal matters normally handled by the Aaronic Priesthood, thus leaving the Apostles free to handle the more difficult matters of their Melchizedek ministry.

“Two of these seven gained scriptural recognition for their subsequent valiant ministries. Stephen’s preaching won him a martyr’s crown [see Acts 6:8–15; 7:1–60]. And Philip won many souls to the Christian faith in the city of Samaria and elsewhere [see Acts 8:5–40].

“. . . Church leaders must delegate responsibility or perish under a mountain of administrative detail that no mortal man can bear. Here the Apostles in effect choose to magnify their callings as ministers of the word rather than attempt to carry on the day to day regulation of the programs of the Church.

“. . . The Apostles made the appointments; the delegation of authority came from them; but nominations came from the Church members. In principle this is the same as a bishop recommending a young man to serve as a missionary with the actual call coming from the President of the Church. Those who receive the inspiration from the Spirit to call people to church service can and should receive recommendation and counsel from those in positions to give it. Since all who are called to service in the Church become the servants and representatives of the Lord, they must be ‘full of the Holy Ghost,’ and as a consequence be able to receive the inspiration to do their work in the way the Lord wants it done.

“. . . Those called to positions of presidency and administration are ordained and set apart by the laying on of hands; the ordinance thus performed endows the Church member with the needed power and authority to perform the assigned work [compare Acts 8:14–17].”

(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:65–66.)

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