Make a Donation
About The Author
Holy Day Calendar
Free Online Bibles
Bible Reading Plan
|Get Daily Bible Study on Facebook||Get Daily Bible Study on Twitter Follow @WayneBlank|
by Wayne Blank
"Hellenists" or "Grecians"
Hellenists are mentioned specifically twice in The Bible, either as "Hellenists" (e.g. in the RSV) or as ""Grecians" (e.g. in the KJV). Both Scriptures references, whether stated as "Hellenists" or "Grecians," referred to Jews who spoke Greek and lived somewhat according to Greek ways. They did not congregate with the Hebrew-speaking Jews of Jerusalem during the time of Christ, but had their own synagogues.
As with the Hebrew-speaking Jews of Israel, many Hellenists / Grecians became Christians, although even within the church the cultural division between the Hebrew and Greek-speaking Jews remained, at least for a time:
"And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians [Hellenists in RSV] against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve [i.e. The Twelve Apostles] called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of The Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business [see also Deacon and Deaconess]. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."
Christianity began as a division among Jews; some recognized and accepted Jesus of Nazareth [see Nazarene] as the long-awaited Messiah, and some did not, or would not (it should be kept in mind that in Scriptures that describe "the Jews" opposing the early church, it was almost always other Jews, Christian Jews, that they were opposing - for every Jew there was that wanted Jesus crucified, there was another Jew who was horrified to see it happen). While the pro-Roman Hebrew-speaking Jews were the ones who got one of their own fellow Jews, the Messiah, killed (i.e. "19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar" John 19:15 KJV), some of the Hellenistic / Grecian Jews, also known as "Grecians," also opposed the early Christian church, or at least some of the leadership, such as the newly-converted apostle Paul (although their opposition to him may have been based on the before-then justifiable fear of the man who not so long before was deadly anti-Christian, see also Paul's Ministry):
"And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus."
Fact Finder: Is salvation open to everyone, everywhere, if they repent and truly obey God?