VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Was multiplied (plhqunontwn). Lit., "when the disciples were multiplying;" the present participle indicating something in progress. A murmuring (goggusmov). See on the kindred word murmerers, Jude 16.
Grecians (Ellhnistwn). Rev., much better, Grecian Jews, with Hellenists in margin. "Grecians" might easily be understood of Greeks in general. The word Hellenists denotes Jews, not Greeks, but Jews who spoke Greek. The contact of Jews with Greeks was first effected by the conquests of Alexander. He settled eight thousand Jews in the Thebais, and the Jews formed a third of the population of his new city of Alexandria. From Egypt they gradually spread along the whole Mediterranean coast of Africa. They were removed by Seleucus Nicator from Babylonia, by thousands, to Antioch and Seleucia, and under the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes scattered themselves through Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, and the Aegean islands. The vast majority of them adopted the Greek language, and forgot the Aramaic dialect which had been their language since the Captivity. The word is used but twice in the New Testament - here and ch. ix. 29 - and, in both cases, of Jews who had embraced Christianity, but who spoke Greek and used the Septuagint version of the Bible instead of the original Hebrew or the Chaldaic targum or paraphrase. The word %Ellhn, which is very common in the New Testament, is used in antithesis, either to "Barbarians" or to "Jews." In the former case it means all nations which spoke the Greek language (see Acts xviii. 17; Rom. i. 14; 1 Cor. i. 22, 23). In the latter it is equivalent to Gentiles (see Rom. i. 16; ii. 9; 1 Corinthians x. 32; Gal. ii. 3). Hence, in either case, it is wholly different from Hellenist.
Hebrews. Hebrew is the proper antithesis to Hellenist. A man was 'Ioudaiov, a Jew, who traced his descent from Jacob, and conformed to the religion of his fathers. He might speak Greek and be a Hellenist. He was 'Ebraiov, a Hebrew, only as he spoke Hebrew and retained Hebrew customs. The distinction between Hebrew and Hellenist was a distinction within the Jewish nation, and not between it and other nations. Thus Paul calls himself a Hebrew of Hebrews; i.e., a Hebrew and of Hebrew parents (Philip. iii. 5; compare 2 Cor. xi. 22).
Were neglected (pareqewrounto). Only here in New Testament. Lit., were overlooked. The imperfect denoting something habitual.
Daily (kaqhmerinh). Only here in New Testament.
Ministration (diakonia). Or service. See on minister, Matt. xx. 26. The reference is to the distribution of provision.
Leave (kataleiyantav). Rather forsake or abandon: leave in the lurch. Serve tables. Superintend the distribution of food.
The great majority of the best modern commentators hold that faith is to be taken as the subjective principle of Christian life (though often regarded objectively as a spiritual power), and not as Christian doctrine.
Of the libertines. In Jerusalem, and probably in other large cities, the several synagogues were arranged according to nationalities, and even crafts. Thus we have in this verse mention of the synagogues of the Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and Asiatics. Libertines is a Latin word (libertini, freedmen), and means here Jews or their descendants who had been taken as slaves to Rome, and had there received their liberty; and who, in consequence of the decree of Tiberius, about 19 A.D., expelling them from Rome, had returned in great numbers to Jerusalem. They were likely to be the chief opponents of Stephen, because they supposed that by his preaching, their religion, for which they had suffered at Rome, was endangered in Jerusalem.
Caught (sunhrpasan). Used by Luke only. Better as Rev., seized. See on Luke viii. 29.