Verse 4. "We will give ourselves continually to prayer" - proskarterhsomen,, We will steadfastly and invariably attend, we will carefully keep our hearts to this work. The word is very emphatic.
To prayer.-See this defined, Matt. vi. 5. Even apostles could not live without prayer; they had no independent graces; what they had could not be retained without an increase; and for this increase they must make prayer and supplication, depending continually on their God.
"Ministry of the word." - diakonia tou logou, The deaconship of the word. The continual proclamation of the Gospel of their Lord; and, to make this effectual to the souls of the hearers, they must continue in prayer: a minister who does not pray much, studies in vain.
The office of deacon, diakonov, came to the Christian from the Jewish Church. Every synagogue had at least three deacons, which were called µyonrp parnasim, from onrp parnes, to feed, nourish, support, govern. The nrp parnas, or deacon, was a sort of judge in the synagogue; and, in each, doctrine and wisdom were required, that they might be able to discern and give right judgment in things both sacred and civil. The zj chazan, and m shamash, were also a sort of deacons. The first was the priest's deputy; and the last was, in some cases, the deputy of this deputy, or the sub-deacon. In the New Testament the apostles are called deacons, 2 Cor. vi. 4; Eph. iii. 7; Col. i. 23: see also 2 Cor. xi. 15. Christ himself, the Shepherd and Bishop of souls, is called the deacon of the circumcision, legw de criston ihsoun diakonon gegenhsqai peritomhv, Rom. xv. 8. As the word implies to minister or serve, it was variously applied, and pointed out all those who were employed in helping the bodies or souls of men; whether apostles, bishops, or those whom we call deacons. Some remark that there were two orders of deacons: 1. diakonoi thv trapizhv, deacons of the TABLE, whose business it was to take care of the alms collected in the Church, and distribute them among the poor, widows, &c. 2. diakonoi tou logou, deacons of the WORD, whose business it was to preach, and variously instruct the people. It seems that after the persecution raised against the apostolic Church, in consequence of which they became dispersed, the deaconship of tables ceased, as did also the community of goods; and Philip, who was one of these deacons, who at first served tables, betook himself entirely to preaching of the word: see chap. viii. 4, &c. In the primitive Church, it is sufficiently evident that the deacons gave the bread and wine in the Eucharist to the believers in the Church, and carried it to those who were absent, Just. Mar. Apol. ii. p. 162; they also preached, and in some cases administered baptism. See Suicer on the words diakonov, khrussw, and baptisma. But it appears they did the two last by the special authority of the bishop. In the ancient Roman Church, and in the Romish Church, the number of seven deacons, in imitation of those appointed by the apostles, was kept up; and in the council of Neocaesarea it was decreed that this number should never be exceeded, even in the largest cities: vide Concil. Neocaesar. Canon. xiv. other Churches varied this number; and the Church of Constantinople had not less than one hundred. Deacons were ordained by the bishops, by imposition of hands.
None was ordained deacon till he was twenty-five years of age, and we find that it was lawful for them to have wives. See Suicer under the word diakonov, and see the note on Matt. xx. 26.