Acts 6:1-7 is about cultural conflictBut the story is not just about providing food for another person; it is about caring for someone from another culture. Hansung Kim in “Rereading Acts 6:1-7” and Justo L. Gonzalez in “Reading from my bicultural place: Acts 6:1-7” focus their interpretation on the cultural clash between the Hebrew leadership and the Hellenists. Kim suggests this story is the church’s first struggle with intercultural conflict (Kim 57). He finds it interesting that biblical scholars are thinking of the administrative issues, while mission scholars are focusing on what is a cultural and political conflict (Kim 58). Gonzalez identifies his Cuban heritage, and Spanish accent as fundamental to his reading and understanding of this scripture (Gonzalez 140).
From a cultural standpoint Kim notes that the Hellenists and Hebrews may have had different rituals and the Hellenists may have been denied table fellowship because of that (Kim 59). While the Hebrews would know Greek, the language of the empire, the Hellenists would not know Aramaic, the local language (Kim 58). Gonzalez suggests “[t]he Hellenists are looked upon with suspicion by many of the more orthodox Jews. Their faith and religious practices may not be entirely orthodox” (Gonzalez 142). Kim notices “the Hebrews were likely to have greater access to the decision-making process than the Hellenists” (Kim 60). The result was unequal treatment. In Kim’s experience Western missionaries generally speak the organizational language as a first language, know the decision making ins and outs, and engage in organizations that are designed around western cultural sensibilities (Kim 60). Similarly Gonzalez notes that even today churches create structures that unintentionally block access to people of different cultures than that of those in power (Gonzalez 141). The selection of Matthias in Acts 2—and the rule that the new apostle must have known Jesus—limited the twelve to only Hebrews (Gonzalez 143). And yet the twelve were Galilean—outsiders to the Jerusalem community—that may have made them more understanding of the Hellenist’s complaint (Gonzalez 143).
Gonzalez is impressed that the early church did not put a token minority into a position of authority, but rather changed the structure of the leadership, with the seven now in charge of all the resources of the growing church, a position that is administrative, but with great authority (Gonzalez 144). Still more remarkable, these seven administrators are then filled with the Holy Spirit to become significant preachers of the word (Gonzalez 145). Kim is equally empowered, finding the story will lead members to speak out and encouraging leaders to make a space for people from other cultures to speak (Kim 61). He notes that this will require people with authority to recognize what they don’t know about other cultures and that the right response to grievances is to change the systems (Kim 61). Kim argues this text calls for existing leadership to recognize and listen to other cultural voices, and make a place for leadership alongside, rather than under, the western leadership (Kim 62). Read as a story of cultural clash, Acts 6:1-6 suggests that the people who have been neglected must be part of the resolution, not simply allocated an equal share of the resources, but also encouraged to be part of the leadership. In the cultural divide between people who have enough food, and those who need more food, the response that Acts 6:1-6 offers is to put the people who need food in charge.
Kim, Hansung “Rereading Acts 6:1-7: Lessons for multicultural mission organizations” in Evangelical Mission Quarterly January 2009 Vol 45, no. 1 pp 56-63.
Gonzalez, Justo L., “Readings from my bicultural place: Acts 6:1-7”, in Reading from this Place Vol 1: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in the United States Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1995.
 While traditionally this pericope goes through verse 6, both Kim and Gonzalez include verse 7 which describes the continued growth of the community.