The Meaning of Acts 6:7 Explained

Acts 6:7

KJV: And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

YLT: And the word of God did increase, and the number of the disciples did multiply in Jerusalem exceedingly; a great multitude also of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Darby: And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was very greatly multiplied, and a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith.

ASV: And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

What does Acts 6:7 Mean?

Verse Meaning

This verse is another one of Luke"s summary progress reports that ends each major section of Acts (cf. Acts 2:47; Acts 9:31; Acts 12:24; Acts 16:6; Acts 19:20; Acts 28:31). It also corresponds to other summary paragraphs within this section of the book (cf. Acts 4:32-35; Acts 5:12-16). Luke linked the spread of God"s Word with church growth. This cause and effect relationship has continued throughout history. The advances of the gospel and the responses of the people were his primary concern in Acts 3:1 to Acts 6:7. Many of the numerous priests in Jerusalem were also becoming Christians. One writer estimated that about2 ,000 priests lived in Jerusalem at this time. [1] The gospel did not win over only the "laity" in Israel.
"The ordinary priests were socially and in other ways far removed from the wealthy chief-priestly families from which the main opposition to the gospel came. Many of the ordinary priests were no doubt men holy and humble of heart, like Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, men who would be readily convinced of the truth of the gospel." [2]
This pericope helps us see several very important things about the priorities of the early church. First, the church showed concern for both spiritual and physical needs. Its leaders gave priority to spiritual needs (prayer and the ministry of the Word), but they also gave attention to correcting injustice and helping the poor. This reflects the Christians" commitment to loving God wholeheartedly and loving their neighbors as themselves, God"s great ethical demands. Second, the early church was willing to adapt its organizational structure and administrative procedures to minister effectively and to meet needs. It did not view its original structure and practices as binding but adapted traditional structures and methods to facilitate the proclamation of the gospel and the welfare of the church. In contrast, many churches today try to duplicate the form and functions of the early church because they feel bound to follow these. Third, the early church did not practice some things that the modern church does. Rather than blaming one another for the problem that arose, the disciples corrected the injustice and continued to give prayer and the ministry of the Word priority. Rather than paternalistically feeling that they had to maintain control over every aspect of church life, the apostles delegated authority to a group within the church (that had the greatest vested interest) and let them solve the distribution problem. [3]
Acts 6:7 concludes Luke"s record of the witness in Jerusalem. From that city the gospel spread out into the rest of Judea, and it is that expansion that Luke emphasized in the chapters that follow next.

Context Summary

Acts 6:1-15 - Meeting Murmuring Within And Persecution Without
The Grecians here mentioned were Jews who had lived abroad and spoke Greek. There were as yet no Gentiles in the Church. It was regarded as an annex to Judaism, and people had to become Jews before they were admitted to its privileges.
What a glimpse is here afforded of the simplicity and fervor of the primitive Church! The daily ministration of relief; the choice of godly men to attend to secular details; the prime importance of prayer and the ministry of the Word; the recognition by the Apostles of the rights of the people-all is so spiritual and so worthy of the era of the Holy Spirit. Alas, that so fair a dawn should ever have been overcast!
The Church must dedicate to God those whom she has chosen under the guidance of His Spirit. Stephen on the one hand, and Saul on the other, were the leaders of their respective parties. We see traces of the latter in the references to them of Cilicia, Acts 6:9. Stephen's enemies prevailed over him by brute force, but he was conqueror through the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. [source]

Chapter Summary: Acts 6

1  The apostles, desirous to have the poor cared for,
2  as also careful themselves to dispense the word of God, the food of the soul,
3  recommend,
5  and with the church's consent ordain seven chosen men to the office of deaconship
7  The word of God prevails,
8  Stephen, full of faith and the Holy Spirit, confuting those with whom he disputed,
12  is brought before the council,
13  and falsely accused of blasphemy against the law and the temple

Greek Commentary for Acts 6:7

Increased [ηυχανεν]
Imperfect active, kept on growing all the more because the apostles were now relieved from the daily ministration of the food. [source]
Multiplied [επλητυνετο]
Imperfect passive. The two imperfects kept pace with each other. Of the priests (των ιερων — tōn hierōn). Who were usually Sadducees. It was a sad day for Annas and Caiaphas and all the sect of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17). Were obedient to Imperfect active of υπακουω — hupakouō repetition, one after another. The faith (τηι πιστει — tēi pistei). Here meaning the gospel, the faith system as in Romans 1:5; Galatians 1:23; Judges 1:3, etc. Here the word means more than individual trust in Christ. [source]
Of the priests [των ιερων]
Who were usually Sadducees. It was a sad day for Annas and Caiaphas and all the sect of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17). [source]
Were obedient to [υπηκουον]
Imperfect active of υπακουω — hupakouō repetition, one after another. The faith (τηι πιστει — tēi pistei). Here meaning the gospel, the faith system as in Romans 1:5; Galatians 1:23; Judges 1:3, etc. Here the word means more than individual trust in Christ. [source]
The faith [τηι πιστει]
Here meaning the gospel, the faith system as in Romans 1:5; Galatians 1:23; Judges 1:3, etc. Here the word means more than individual trust in Christ. [source]
To the faith [τῇ πίστει]
Opinions differ greatly as to whether this is to be taken as meaningfaith in Jesus Christ, orfaith considered as Christian doctrine - the Gospel; the faith in the ecclesiastical sense. This passage and Galatians 1:23are the strong passages in favor of the latter view; but the general usage of the New Testament, added to the fact that in both these passages the former meaning gives a good, intelligible, and perfectly consistent sense, go to confirm the former interpretation. 1. In the great majority of New Testament passages faith is clearly used in the sense of faith in Jesus Christ: “the-DIVIDER-
conviction and confidence regarding Jesus Christ as the only and perfect mediator of the divine grace and of eternal life, through his work of atonement” (Meyer). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
2. This interpretation is according to the analogy of such expressions as obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), where the meaning is, clearly, obedience to Christ: obedience of the truth (1 Peter 1:22). Accordinglyfaith, though it becomes in man the subjective moral power of the new life, regenerated through the power of the Spirit, is regarded objectively as a power - the-DIVIDER-
authority which commands submission. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
3. This interpretation is according to the analogy of the expression hearing of faith (Galatians 3:2), which is to be rendered, not as equivalent to the reception of the Gospel, but as the report or message of faith; i.e., which treats of faith, ἀκοὴ , hearing being always used in the New Testament in a passive sense, and often renderedfame, rumor, report (see Matthew 4:24; Matthew 14:1; Mark 1:28; John 12:38; Romans 10:16). Compare, also, obedience of faith (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26), where faith is to be taken as the object, and not as the source, of the obedience; and hence is not to be explained as the obedience which springs from faith, but as the obedience rendered to faith as the authoritative impulse of the new life in Christ. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
The great majority of the best modern commentators hold that faith is to be taken as the subjective principle of-DIVIDER-
Christian life (though often regarded objectively as a spiritual power), and not as Christian doctrine. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
[source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 6:7

Matthew 24:12 Shall abound [πληθυνθῆναι]
Lit., shall be multiplied. See Acts 6:1, Acts 6:7; Acts 7:17; Acts 9:31; Hebrews 6:14. [source]
Acts 21:20 How many thousands [ποσαι μυριαδες]
Old word for ten thousand (Acts 19:19) and then an indefinite number like our “myriads” (this very word) as Luke 12:1; Acts 21:20; Judges 1:14; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 9:16. But it is a surprising statement even with allowable hyperbole, but one may recall Acts 4:4 (number of the men--not women--about five thousand); Acts 5:14 (multitudes both of men and women); Acts 6:7. There were undoubtedly a great many thousands of believers in Jerusalem and all Jewish Christians, some, alas, Judaizers (Acts 11:2; Acts 15:1, Acts 15:5). This list may include the Christians from neighbouring towns in Palestine and even some from foreign countries here at the Feast of Pentecost, for it is probable that Paul arrived in time for it as he had hoped. But we do not have to count the hostile Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27) who were clearly not Christians at all. All zealous for the law (παντες ζηλωται του νομου — pantes zēlōtai tou nomou). Zealots (substantive) rather than zealous (adjective) with objective genitive (του νομου — tou nomou). The word zealot is from ζηλοω — zēloō to burn with zeal, to boil. The Greek used ζηλωτης — zēlōtēs for an imitator or admirer. There was a party of Zealots (developed from the Pharisees), a group of what would be called “hot-heads,” who brought on the war with Rome. One of this party, Simon Zelotes (Acts 1:13), was in the number of the twelve apostles. It is important to understand the issues in Jerusalem. It was settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15; Galatians 2) that the Mosaic ceremonial law was not to be imposed upon Gentile Christians. Paul won freedom for them, but it was not said that it was wrong for Jewish Christians to go on observing it if they wished. We have seen Paul observing the passover in Philippi (Acts 20:6) and planning to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16). The Judaizers rankled under Paul‘s victory and power in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles and gave him great trouble in Galatia and Corinth. They were busy against him in Jerusalem also and it was to undo the harm done by them in Jerusalem that Paul gathered the great collection from the Gentile Christians and brought it with him and the delegates from the churches. Clearly then Paul had real ground for his apprehension of trouble in Jerusalem while still in Corinth (Romans 15:25) when he asked for the prayers of the Roman Christians (Romans 15:30-32). The repeated warnings along the way were amply justified. [source]
Acts 3:10 Were filled [επληστησαν]
Effective first aorist passive. At that which had happened (τωι συμβεβηκοτι — tōi sumbebēkoti). Perfect active participle of συμβαινω — sumbainō Acts 3:11 The Codex Bezae adds “as Peter and John went out.” As he held Genitive absolute of krateō to hold fast, with accusative rather than genitive to get hold of (Acts 27:13). Old and common verb from kratos (strength, force). Perhaps out of gratitude and partly from fear (Luke 8:38). In the porch that is called Solomon‘s (epi tēi stoāi tēi kaloumenēi Solomōntos). The adjective Stoic (stoikos) is from this word stoa (porch). It was on the east side of the court of the Gentiles (Josephus, Ant. XX. 9, 7) and was so called because it was built on a remnant of the foundations of the ancient temple. Jesus had once taught here (John 10:23). Greatly wondering Wondering out of Late adjective. Construction according to sense (plural, though laos singular) as in Acts 5:16; Acts 6:7; Acts 11:1, etc. [source]
Acts 3:10 As he held [kratountos autou)]
Genitive absolute of krateō to hold fast, with accusative rather than genitive to get hold of (Acts 27:13). Old and common verb from kratos (strength, force). Perhaps out of gratitude and partly from fear (Luke 8:38). In the porch that is called Solomon‘s (epi tēi stoāi tēi kaloumenēi Solomōntos). The adjective Stoic (stoikos) is from this word stoa (porch). It was on the east side of the court of the Gentiles (Josephus, Ant. XX. 9, 7) and was so called because it was built on a remnant of the foundations of the ancient temple. Jesus had once taught here (John 10:23). Greatly wondering Wondering out of Late adjective. Construction according to sense (plural, though laos singular) as in Acts 5:16; Acts 6:7; Acts 11:1, etc. [source]
Acts 3:10 Greatly wondering [ekthamboi)]
Wondering out of Late adjective. Construction according to sense (plural, though laos singular) as in Acts 5:16; Acts 6:7; Acts 11:1, etc. [source]
Acts 8:17 Laid they their hands [επετιτεσαν τας χειρας]
Imperfect active, repetition. The laying on of hands did not occur at the great Pentecost (Acts 2:4, Acts 2:33) nor in Acts 4:31; Acts 10:44 nor is it mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12; 14. It is mentioned in Acts 6:7 about the deacons and in Acts 13:3 when Barnabas and Saul left Antioch. And in Saul‘s case it was Ananias who laid his hands on him (Acts 9:17). Hence it cannot be concluded that the Holy Spirit was received only by the laying on of the hands of the apostles or by the hands of anyone. The so-called practice of “confirmation” appeals to this passage, but inconclusively. [source]
Romans 14:1 Weak in the faith []
Probably referring to a class of Jewish Christians with Essenic tendencies. Better, as Rev., in faith, the reference being to faith in Christ, not to christian doctrine. See on Acts 6:7. [source]
Romans 12:6 According to the proportion of faith [κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως]
Ἁναλογία proportionoccurs only here in the New Testament. In classical Greek it is used as a mathematical term. Thus Plato: “The fairest bond is that which most completely fuses and is fused into the things which are bound; and proportion ( ἀναλογία ) is best adapted to effect such a fusion” (“Timaeus,” 31). “Out of such elements, which are in number four, the body of the world was created in harmony and proportion” (“Timaeus,” 32). Compare “Politicus,” 257. The phrase here is related to the measure of faith (Romans 12:3). It signifies, according to the proportion defined by faith. The meaning is not the technical meaning expressed by the theological phrase analogy of faith, sometimes called analogy of scripture, i.e., the correspondence of the several parts of divine revelation in one consistent whole. This would require ἡ πίστις thefaith, to be taken as the objective rule of faith, or system of doctrine (see on Acts 6:7), and is not in harmony with Romans 12:3, nor with according to the grace given. Those who prophesy are to interpret the divine revelation “according to the strength, clearness, fervor, and other qualities of the faith bestowed upon them; so that the character and mode of their speaking is conformed to the rules and limits which are implied in the proportion of their individual degree of faith” (Meyer). [source]
2 Corinthians 13:5 The faith []
See on Acts 6:7. In a believing attitude toward Christ. [source]
Galatians 1:23 The faith []
See on Acts 6:7, and comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:2. The subjective conception of faith as trustful and assured acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, tends to become objective, so that the subjective principle is sometimes regarded objectively. This is very striking in the Pastoral Epistles. [source]
Galatians 1:23 That once persecuted us [ο διωκων ημας ποτε]
Present active articular participle, a sort of participle of antecedent time suggested by ποτε — pote “the one who used to persecute us once upon a time.” The faith (την πιστιν — tēn pistin). Here used in the sense of “the gospel” as in Acts 6:7. [source]
Galatians 1:23 The faith [την πιστιν]
Here used in the sense of “the gospel” as in Acts 6:7. [source]
Ephesians 4:5 Faith []
The principle of faith; not that which is believed - the body of Christian doctrine, which does not promote unity. See on Acts 6:7. [source]
Philippians 1:27 Striving together for the faith [συναθλοῦντες τῇ πίστει]
The verb occurs only here and Phlippians 4:3. The figure is that of an athletic contest, and is in keeping with standfast. Not to be rendered striving in concert with the faith, thus personifying faith, and making the faith signify the gospel teaching. For the faith as christian doctrine, see on Acts 6:7. Faith is to be taken in its usual subjective sense of trust in Christ or in the Gospel. Together refers to the mutual striving of the Philippians; not to their striving in concert with Paul.sa40 [source]
Colossians 1:23 Continue in the faith [ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει]
The verb means to stay at or with ( ἐπί ). So Philemon 1:24, to abide by the flesh. See on Romans 6:1. The faith is not the gospel system (see on Acts 6:7), but the Colossians' faith in Christ. Your faith would be better. [source]
2 Thessalonians 3:2 All men have not faith []
See on Acts 6:7; see on Galatians 1:23. [source]
1 John 5:4 Our faith [πίστις ἡμῶν]
Πίστις faithonly here in John's Epistles and not in the Gospel. Our faith is embraced in the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. On the question of the subjective and objective use of the faith, see on Acts 6:7. [source]
1 John 1:10 His word [ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ]
Not the personal Word, as John 1:1, but the divine message of the Gospel. See Luke 5:1; Luke 8:11; Acts 4:31; Acts 6:2, Acts 6:7, etc. Compare “the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The truth is the substance of the word. The word carries the truth. The word both moves the man (John 8:31, John 8:32) and abides in him (John 5:38; John 8:37). The man also abides in the word (John 8:31). [source]
Jude 1:3 The faith []
The sum of what Christians believe. See on Acts 6:7. [source]
Revelation 2:13 My faith []
See on Acts 6:7. [source]

What do the individual words in Acts 6:7 mean?

And the word - of God continued to increase was multiplied number of the disciples in Jerusalem exceedingly a great then multitude priests were becoming obedient to the faith
Καὶ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ηὔξανεν ἐπληθύνετο ἀριθμὸς τῶν μαθητῶν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ σφόδρα πολύς τε ὄχλος ἱερέων ὑπήκουον τῇ πίστει

λόγος  word 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: λόγος  
Sense: of speech.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ηὔξανεν  continued  to  increase 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐξάνω 
Sense: to cause to grow, augment.
ἐπληθύνετο  was  multiplied 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: πληθύνω  
Sense: to increase, to multiply.
ἀριθμὸς  number 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀριθμός  
Sense: a fixed and definite number.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μαθητῶν  disciples 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: μαθητής  
Sense: a learner, pupil, disciple.
Ἰερουσαλὴμ  Jerusalem 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: Ἰερουσαλήμ  
Sense: denotes either the city itself or the inhabitants.
σφόδρα  exceedingly 
Parse: Adverb
Root: σφόδρα  
Sense: exceedingly, greatly.
πολύς  a  great 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
ὄχλος  multitude 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ὄχλος  
Sense: a crowd.
ἱερέων  priests 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἱερεύς  
Sense: a priest, one who offers sacrifices and in general in busied with sacred rites.
ὑπήκουον  were  becoming  obedient 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ὑπακούω  
Sense: to listen, to harken.
τῇ  to  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πίστει  faith 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: πίστις  
Sense: conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it.