On the ninth of Februay there will be be no study.
A few of us have some other places we will need to be.
I will be at the church in the hall at 6:30 if anyone wants to meet for a few minutes. Other wise I will see you all on the 16th of February. I will post again before then....

Monday- Jan. 26- Acts Chapter 13

Road Trip!!!
The beginning journeys of Paul.
Although earlier in Acts we have mission trips... This starts the on going travels of Paul.

If in today's world you find yourself spending much time at the airport on business, the rest of the book of Acts will sound familiar

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Acts 6:1
Luke turned away from the conflict between the Sanhedrin and the church leaders to introduce two groups within the Jerusalem church. They were the "Grecian" Jews (Greek, Hellenistai, or "Hellenists’) and "Hebraic" Jews. At first glance, we may be surprised that there were different groups of Jews in the community of believers. But it appears there were. What is more, they were crucial to the story of Acts. It’s important we identify these Hebraic and Hellenistic Jews, for it will help us understand the situation of the Jerusalem church, and how the gospel message was preached.

Most commentators divide the Grecian and Hebraic Jews along linguistic and geographic lines. The Hellenistic Jews would be ones who spoke mainly Greek, and had once lived outside of Palestine. But they had permanently (or at least temporarily) settled in Jerusalem—retired, as it were, to the homeland. Nevertheless, they would still have had affinities with lands of the Jewish dispersion around the Mediterranean from which they came. The Hebraic Jews would be those who spoke mainly Aramaic, and may have been born in Jerusalem or Judea. A modern parallel would be the distinction between Jews who were born in Palestine (sabras) and those who emigrated to Israel from Europe and the Arab world.

The Hellenistic Jews in the church would probably have attended Greek-speaking synagogues before they became Christians. The Hebraic Christians would have once attended synagogues in which Aramaic was used. Of course, defining these two groups solely by their language and place of birth lacks some precision.

Paul called himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Philippians 3:5) and classed himself among the Hebraioi (2 Corinthians 11:22). But he was fluent in Greek and came from Tarsus in Asia Minor, not Jerusalem. In that sense, Paul was a Hellenist. Complicating the matter is the fact that while Paul had been born a Diaspora Jew, it’s probable that he had lived since his youth in Jerusalem, where he was immersed in the foundations of Judaism.

Clearly, we must go further when trying to understand the difference between Hebraic and Hellenistic Jews. Some commentators feel that the Hellenistic Jews were more devoted to the ancestral religion and culture than the Palestinian Jews. Why would they have returned to Judea, whose culture and economy were less attractive than those of other regions and cities of the Roman Empire? As a modern example, we can think of European Zionist Jews around the turn of the century who had a fierce desire to return to their Palestinian homeland, or the Orthodox Jews who flocked to Jerusalem.

Further, we can probably assume that Diaspora Jews who had settled in Jerusalem may have been looked upon with dislike and suspicion by the natives. The immigrants would have had different languages (Greek and native tongues), values and culture. We can see this attitude of suspicion and resentment today by native-born people against immigrants as millions migrate from one nation to another.

According to the Talmud, Pharisaism made little secret of its contempt for Hellenists and, unlike those from Syria or Babylonia (regions that are often considered extensions of the Holy Land in Talmudic discussions), they were frequently categorized by the native-born and assumedly more scrupulous populace of Jerusalem as second-class Israelites (Richard N. Longenecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, "Acts," page 329)

As the church in Jerusalem grew larger (1:1), more and more Hebraic and Grecian Jews came into the church. We might find it surprising that some of the prejudices between the two groups had carried over into the church, since Luke had painted such an ideal picture of the community (4:32). But that had been at the very beginning of the church. As the church grew in numbers and diversity, the situation was beginning to change, and that is what the first part of chapter 6 will tell us about. As the case of Ananias and Sapphira showed, all was not well with everyone in the church.

One of the difficulties is that the Hellenistic Jews were being discriminated against in the Jerusalem church. Perhaps the slight was not intentional, but it was nonetheless real. Luke implies that the Hellenists may have been a somewhat neglected minority, and for a time, not well served.

Plagiarized from

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