What Does the Bible Say About the Work of Church Deacons?


A Study of the Meaning and Usage of the New Testament Greek Word "Diakonos."

By Francis M. Perry, November 12, 1990.

Discussion of Criteria for Selection of Diakonos (Servant).


In Acts 6:1-8 no title is given to the position or work the Christians were chosen to fill. The work can be defined by the action to be taken which was TO SERVE (DIAKONEO). This verb DIAKONEO (which is used here), and the noun DIAKONOS (which is not used here), seem to be related. The men chosen TO SERVE tables might reasonably have been called SERVANTS (DIAKONOS). It seems reasonable to assume (unless the context indicates otherwise) that these men were the same kind of SERVANTS mentioned in other New Testament scriptures which use the Greek word DIAKONOS to designate SERVANTS OR DEACONS.

The seven men selected TO SERVE (DIAKONEO) in Acts 6:1-8 were selected for a very specific purpose. They were selected in order that "we may appoint (them) over this business." The "business" over which they were appointed was to "serve tables." They were selected because of a problem which arose among Christians in Jerusalem at that time. The problem came about in the context of multiplying numbers of disciples and after "there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration."

The selection of these seven men was on the basis of their having "good report" among the "brethren," their being "full of the Spirit and wisdom," and their ability to serve "over this business." The background and personal characteristics of these seven men must have been well known to "the twelve" and to the Christians in Jerusalem at that time. It seems possible that other criteria may have been used as well in choosing the seven. However, the Holy Spirit, in guiding and preserving this scriptural record of this event for us, does not see fit to indicate here that any other criteria was used. For instance, there is no indication whether or not the seven men were married, or whether or not they had households or children. We might reasonably conclude that the marital and family status of the men did not enter into the selection except insofar as it might have affected their reputation of "good report," their being "full of the Spirit and wisdom," and their observed ability to serve "over this business."

In I Timothy 3:8-13, SERVANTS or DEACONS (DIAKONOS) are again discussed. On the basis that they are a general class of SERVANTS selected individually TO SERVE or perform specific tasks, the criteria for their selection is given in greater detail. In Acts 6:1-8 we have a specific example of the twelve Apostles personally directing the Christians of Jerusalem in selecting SERVANTS (DIAKONOS). Here in I Timothy 3:8-13 we have a record of how Paul instructed Timothy in a more general way to get ready to teach Christians how to go about selecting SERVANTS in their congregations.

Since the list of criteria in I Timothy 3:8-13 describes those to be selected as SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) in different terms than they were described in Acts 6:1-8, are we to conclude that the general class of SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) were selected on a different basis than those in the specific example? Before answering that question, let us examine each of the selection criteria given in I Timothy 3:8-13.

CRITERIA FROM ACTS 6


Good report among the brethren.

Full of the Spirit and wisdom.

Ability to serve over this business.


CRITERIA FROM I TIMOTHY 3


Grave.

Not double tongued.

Not given to much wine.

Not greedy of filthy lucre.

Holding mystery of the faith in a pure conscience

First to be proved.

Blameless.

Husbands of one wife.

Ruling their children and their own houses well.

Are the two lists the same from the standpoint that one lists all criteria under three general headings while the other lists all the same criteria under more detailed headings? Or, are the lists different because those selected TO SERVE in Acts 6 were selected for a different class of service than the general class of SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) discussed in I Timothy 3?

Timothy was told that SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) must be "grave." That is, they must be dignified and serious about their work. The seven men selected in Acts 6 were "of good report," "full of the Spirit and of wisdom," and had demonstrated ability to serve "over this business." This seems to cover the general selection criteria expressed in the term" grave."

Surely the criteria of I Timothy 3, such as "not double - tongued," "not given to much wine," "not greedy of filthy lucre," "holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience," and "blameless," are all included under the three general criteria of Acts 6. And, it certainly seems clear that the seven men chosen in Acts 6 were "first proved" men, that is, had demonstrated ability as the criteria of I Timothy 3 requires.

But do the criteria, expressed in I Timothy 3 as "husbands of one wife," and "ruling their children and their own houses well, " fall under the three general criteria of Acts 6? Do the criteria expressed in I Timothy 3 require that candidates for SERVANT (DIAKONOS) have a household? Does the criteria require that the candidate have children, or at least one child, or a wife? Or do the criteria expressed to Timothy simply instruct him that the marital and family status of candidates tor SERVANT (DIAKONOS) are to be examined to see that the general criteria of "good report," "full of the Spirit and wisdom," and ability to serve "over this business" are demonstrated in whatever marital and family relationships they happen to have?

In the term "husbands of one wife," was this criterion so stated in order to exclude people being selected as SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) who were not married? Or was it stated in order to exclude husbands who had more than one wife? Certainly, under Bible teachings, no one could be of "good report" who had more than one wife. Such a one could not be selected as a SERVANT (DIAKONOS). Does this criterion intend to exclude single people from being selected TO SERVE as SERVANTS (DIAKONOS)?

Looking at the scriptures of the New Testament which illustrate SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) at work, are there any recognized SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) who were single? Romans 15:8 says that Christ, during His fleshly life, was a MINISTER or SERVANT (DIAKONOS) of the circumcision (the Jews). Christ was single. In a number of New Testament scriptures (I Cor. 3:5; II Cor. 3:6; II Cor. 6:4; Eph. 3:7; Col 1:23, 25) Paul affirms that he had been selected by God as a SERVANT (DIAKONOS). Although Paul affirmed his right "to take along a believing wife" (I Cor. 9:5), he made it clear that he did not have a wife (I Cor. 7:7). Tychicus (Col. 4:7), Timothy (I Tim. 4:6), Epaphras (Col 1:7), and Apollos (I Cor. 3:5) were all men referred to as being SERVANTS (DIAKONOS). But I do not know if these men were married or single.

I am not a New Testament Greek scholar. But scholars tell us that the meaning in the Greek, of the phrase in I Timothy 3:12 translated "husband of one wife," is "a one wife sort of husband" (2). This seems to place the emphasis on the requirement that the SERVANT (DIAKONOS) not be a man who has two or more wives, and that he not be a man who lives in such way that he might be expected to take two or more wives. It does not seem to say that a single man cannot be selected as a SERVANT (DIAKONOS). Indeed, the major English translations of the New Testament, such as the American Standard Version which renders the phrase as "husband of one wife," do not render it in such a way that one has to conclude that the SERVANT (DIAKONOS) must be single. It might be understood in all the major translations as a man who, if married, has only one wife. The New International Version renders the phrase "the husband of but one wife." The New American Standard Version renders the phrase "husband of only one wife."

Of course, if the ones selected as SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) do not have to be married, they do not have to have children. Again the major English translations are not rendered in such a way that the SERVANT (DIAKONOS) must have children. It can be understood, without injustice to the language construction, to mean men who, if married with children, are ruling their children and households well.

DISCUSSION OF USE OF THE WORD "DEACON" AS A TITLE.

In most English translations the Greek word DIAKONOS is translated into the Anglicized Greek word DEACON in only two passages. One is I Timothy 3:8-13. The other is Phil. 1:1. In about 26 other uses of DIAKONOS in the New Testment, it is translated SERVANT, MINISTER, or other similar word depending upon the particular translation. In every case, the Greek word itself is the same. Why has it been found necessary to use different English words in translating different passages which use the Greek word DIAKONOS?

One perfectly ligitimate reason for different translations of the same Greek word might be that the Greek word has different meanings in different kinds of usages which cannot all be expressed by one English word. In this case, the English word used would depend upon the context of usage.

Of course, the English language came into use many centuries after the Greek language of the New Testament ceased to be used generally. I assume that the original King James English translation made in the year 1611 used the Anglicized word DEACON as translation of the Greek word DIAKONOS in I Tim 3 and in Phil. 1. Whether it was used in earlier English translations, I do not know. The use of such an Anglicized word seems to indicate that there was no suitable word available in the English language to portray the meaning of DIAKONOS in these passages. The translators felt that a new English word had to be invented.

However, the Anglicizing of a Greek word does not portray a meaning. The meaning of the new Anglicized word must be taught to the English readers separately, and the meaning that is taught is subject o the desires of those doing the teaching. The use of an Anglicized word to express an important Greek word in a translation of God's Word should make one suspicious that the translators might have had an ulterior motive. Was there really no good English word to translate DIAKOKOS in these passages? Or were the translators just trying to impose a meaning which really was not present in the original Greek writing?

The New Testament church was not in existence very long before some people fell prey to the idea that the developing human traditions of Christians should be further developed, perpetuated, and placed on a par with the Word of God itself. This seems to be a cardinal doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and many of the Denominational churches as well. I suspect that the new word DEACON was introduced in order to make it easy to justify a traditional class of special officers in a humanly developed hierarchy of church officers. (Another Anglicized Greek word, BAPTIZE, was placed in use long ago in order to make it easy to change the originally intended act of IMMERSION to one of sprinkling or pouring.)

It seems to me that the introduction of the new word DEACON in English translations of I Timothy 3:8-13 was not necessary and often becomes misleading. The single Greek word DIAKONOS was all that was necessary in New Testament times to designate a servant ''as seen from the standpoint of his activity in service" (2). The single English word SERVANT might serve as a correct translation in every usage in the New Testament. We should have no difficulty in understanding that SERVANTS are correctly seen in relationship to their activity of service just as were the DIAKONOS of the First Century.

Some of the DIAKONOS (SERVANTS) of the First Century church were selected to be in charge of certain temporal affairs of the local congregations. Others designated by the same term, DIAKONOS, were selected to be preachers of the gospel, as were Apollos, Paul, and Timothy, and possibly Tychicus and Epaphras as well. There is nothing in I Timothy 3 that would limit the work of DIAKONOS (SERVANTS) to just the temporal affairs of the church although we know from Acts 6 that the work of DIAKONOS (SERVANTS) included the work of the temporal affairs. Apparently, the DIAKONOS (SERVANTS) were restricted only from duplicating the work of the BISHOPS or OVERSEERS whose criteria for selection is also discussed in I Timothy 3.

There is no great harm in calling modern day DIAKONOS by the term DEACON if we understand that the meaning is simply "servants seen in their activity of service" (2). One might be a DEACON (SERVANT) to usher people to their seat in the auditorium, another a DEACON (SERVANT) to direct congregational singing, another a DEACON (SERVANT) in charge of maintaining the building and grounds, and another might be a DEACON (SERVANT) to assist the person in charge of maintenance. One might be a DEACON tSERVANT) teaching the High School class, another a DEACON (SERVANT) teaching an adult class. The evangelist or preacher of the congregation might also be termed a DEACON (SERVANT) as Paul and Timothy were.

But, in view of the worldly mis-understanding of the meaning of the term DEACON, perhaps it would be better to drop the use of the Anglicized word altogether and simply call our DIAKONOS by the term SERVANT or other suitable title that indicates their activity of service.

We already call our DIAKONOS/teachers by the term TEACHER. We call our full time DIAKONOS/evangelist by the term PREACHER or MINISTER. We call one man the Church Treasurer. We might have a Manager of Buildings and Grounds Maintenance, an Educational Director, a Director of Benevolence Services, etc. Those who serve under the supervision of Directors or Managers could have a suitable title if desired. The titles would be functional descriptions or the work of the individual DIAKONOS, SERVANTS seen in their activity (which is the meaning of DIAKONOS, anyway.)

We have a practice of calling certain of our DIAKONOS by the title DEACON while other of our DIAKONOS are not called DEACONS although they too are "servants seen in their activity of service." Members of the Churches of Christ seem to have been indoctrinated with the teaching that those designated as Deacons must be married with children in addition to the other criteria. Many look upon the Deacons of a congregation as a special group of junior-elders in training to become Elders. Generally they are appointed for life or until they become Elders, or resign. These teachings and practices should be questioned and discussed. It is possible for us to wander away from Biblical practices and Apostolic teachings without noticing it. It is possible, also, that we have not yet restored all our faith and practice to the teachings of the New Testament.

Is there scriptural support for having two kinds of DIAKONOS (SERVANTS)\, one kind being called Deacons, and the other kind just being the rest of the Christians who serve?

WHAT ABOUT THE PROVING OF THOSE SELECTED TO SERVE?

Commendably, we in Churches of Christ seldom if ever select anyone to serve until they have been "proven" in some way. No one but baptized believers are selected for any task. We do not select anyone for even the most simple of public tasks unless he attends the assemblies regularly and is of "good report." Some DIAKONOS tasks are more demanding of knowledge, wisdom, and experience than others. For these tasks the selection of SERVANTS requires different "proof'" of the individuals selected. Generally we know this and follow well the admonition that SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) "first be proved" (1 Tim. 3:10).

WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN WHO SERVE?

DIAKONOS was a word that could be used in either the masculine or feminine gender (2). Women, as well as men, were selected to serve as DIAKONOS, that is as SERVANTS. For instance, Phoebe was "a SERVANT (DIAKONOS) of the church that is at Cenchreae" (Romans 16:1). In I Timothy 3:8-13 the selection criteria for both men and women SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) are given with the phrase: "women in like manner must be. ..." (I Tim. 8:11). Some translations of the New Testament hold these "women" to be wives of the men SERVANTS tDlAKONOS). Other translations indicate these to be any women SERVANTS. Selection criteria given only for wives of men SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) would indicate a very special class of women, and leave blank the selection criteria of other women SERVANTS!

Members of Churches of Christ today select women SERVANTS in what they feel to be very Biblical ways. Women are selected to do tasks for which women are best suited and "proven," and in which they "do not usurp authority over men." We select women to teach the children and to do all sorts of administrative tasks. Older women are selected to counsel younger women. Women often prepare food, serve food, wash dishes, etc. at church sponsored assemblies, while men set up and take down tables and chairs, etc. Perhaps there should be more study and discussion of SERVANT (DIAKONOS) activities which can be done by men or women.

We generally object to calling the women who serve by the title Deacon or Deaconess even though it is only a translation of the Greek term DIAKONOS or SERVANT. We seem to have created a special kind of SERVANT to do things which women cannot do, and have chosen to call this special male servant a Deacon. In the New Testament both men and women servants were called DIAKONOS.

DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT CALL FOR A SPECIAL CLASS OF MALE SERVANTS TO BE DISTINGUISHED FROM OTHER SERVANTS AS WE DO TODAY IN SELECTION OF DEACONS?

If the New Testament calls for a special class of male SERVANTS or DEACONS, it is probably I Timothy chapter 3 that does so. In verses 1 through 7, Paul first tells Timothy how to instruct congregations of the Lord's church to go about selecting Bishops. In verses 8 through 13 he tells Timothy how to instruct congregations to go about selecting SERVANTS or DEACONS (DIAKONOS).

The "Bishops are certainly a special group of male Christians. But are those designated by the Greek word DIAKONOS another special group of male SERVANTS? In the case of the Bishops, the "office of Bishop" is created. This makes the Bishops a special group for a special "office." But the SERVANTS or DEACONS (DIAKONOS) are not designated by a definite article indicating them to be a general group of Christians. Moreover. the portion of scripture concerning SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) includes women as well as men.

SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) are special in another way. They serve in special jobs! The Greek word DIAKONOS means a servant seen in his (special) activity of service.

I Timothy, the 3rd chapter, leads me to believe that Paul was instructing Timothy concerning every Christian in the congregation. He told Timothy in verse 15 that he is instructing him "how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." This seems to have an all inclusive ring to it.

If these verses are to cover only the selection of certain special "Deacons," where are the selection criteria for all the other servants we select to do so many other things that need to be done in a congregation? It seems strange that Paul would only cover the selection criteria for a portion of the necessary men servants.

ARE SERVANTS (DIAKONOS) TO BE SELECTED INDIVIDUALLY FOR SPECIFIC TASKS OR FOR GENERAL SERVICE? ARE THEY TO BE SELECTED FOR SPECIFIC PERIODS OF TIME, OR INDEFINITELY?

The only specific case of SERVANT (DIAKONOS) selection in the New Testament is in Acts 6. (Is this correct? Are there any other cases?) In this case the servants were selected to do a certain specific job. No mention is made of them doing any other job. It must be assumed that their job ended when it no longer became necessary or expedient for them to do it.

However, they were "proven" before being selected. After performing their job for some time, they are still better "proven" if their work was satisfactory. When their first job was completed, they must have become available to do other, similar or different, jobs.

A person selected to preach the gospel (such as Timothy) must have continued on his job as SERVANT or MINISTER (DIAKONOS) as long as he was able to preach effectively, or until his job might have been changed.

Does it not appear likely that a pragmatic approach was taken towards terms of work with respect to both job definition and time schedule? Might we not do the same within the bounds of scriptural example?

WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN WHO SERVE?

The word WOMEN, when used in reference to the marriage relationship means "a wife." But in I Timotyhy 3:11 it is and should be translated "women." It does not necessarily refer to the wives of the deacons, and for the following reasons: first, the words "even so" ("in like manner" in the ASV) are the translation of HOSAUTOS which is used in introducing a second or third in a series. The series here is of Church officials; second, there is no possessive pronoun in the Greek, which would be needed if the women were the wives of the deacons; third. the four qualifications which follow correspond, with appropriate variations, to the first four required of deacons as regards, demeanor, government of the tongue, use of wine, and trustworthiness; and fourth, this is a section dealing wholly with Church officials. The reference here is to women who hold the office of Deaconess, as Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) (2.)

FOOTNOTES:

(1) Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible.

(2) Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest

ADDENDUM

DEFINITIONS.

DIAKONOS -A noun meaning ministrant (1), a servant seen in his activity of serving (2). Translated servant, minister, deacon. Used at least 30 places in the N. T.

DIAKONIA -A noun meaning ministration (1). Also translated ministry, service. serving, ministering, administration. Used at least 32 places in the N. T.

DIAKONEO -A verb meaning to serve, to wait on, or to minister to (1). Also translated administer, minister to. serve, use the office of deacon. Used at least 38 places in the N. T.

DIAKONOS -STUDY OF WORD USAGE.


Phil 1:1. Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and DEACONS. (ASV)

"The word DEACON is the English spelling of a Greek word that was used as a general term to designate a servant. It covered both slaves and hired servants. It represented a servant, not in his relation to his master, but in his activity" (2).


1 Tim 3:8. DEACONS in like manner (must be) grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; (ASV)

"The absence of the article before DEACONS shows that these church officers are treated as a class...The Greek word (DIAKONOS) is used generally of a servant as seen from the standpoint of his activity in service" (2).


1 Tim 3:10 And let these also first be PROVED; then let them serve as DEACONS, if they be blameless. (ASV)

"The word PROVED is DOKIMAZO, to be put to the test for the purpose of approving, and having met the test, to be approved. The test and approval here do not refer to a formal examination but have reference to the general judgment of the Christian community as to whether they fulfil the specifications set down in verse 8... The Greek word DIAKONOS is used generally of a servant as seen from the standpoint of his activity in service" (2).


1 Tim 3:12. Let DEACONS be HUSBANDS OF ONE WIFE, ruling (their) children and their own houses well. (ASV)

"The Greek word DIAKONOS (DEACON) is a servant as seen in his activity...The Greek construction (HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE) is the same as that in I Tim 3:2. Let the deacons be 'one wife sort of husbands', that is, married only once. Expanded translation: Let the deacons be one-wife sort of husbands, ruling their children and their own households in a commendable way" (2).


Matt 22:13. Then the king said to the SERVANTS, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVANTS is from DIAKONOS meaning "a servant seen in his activity" (2).


Matt 23:11. But he that is greatest among you shall be your SERVANT. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVANT is DIAKONOS, "a servant seen in his activity" (2).


Mark 9:35. And he sat down, and called the twelve; and he saith unto them, If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and SERVANT of all. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVANT is DIAKONOS, "a servant seen in his activity" (2).


Mark 10:43. But it is not so among you: but whosoever would become great among you, shall be your MINISTER; (ASV)

"MINISTER is DIAKONOS, a servant seen in his activity of serving" (2).


Mark 10:44. And whosoever would be first among you, shall be servant of all. (ASV)

The word servant in this case is "DOULOS, the most servile term for a slave" (2).


John 2:5. His mother saith unto the SERVANTS, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVANTS is from DIAKONOS, "a servant seen in his activity" (2).


John 2:9. And when the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and knew not whence it was (but the SERVANTS that had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast calleth the bridegroom~ (ASV)

(Same comment as above for John 2:5.)


John 12:26. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where 1 am, there shall also my SERVANT be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor. (ASV)

(Same comment as above for John 2:5.)


Rom 16:1. I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a SERVANT of the church that is at Cenchreae: (ASV)

"Servant is DlAKONOS, a word that could be used in either the masculine or feminine genders... The word means a servant as seen in his activity" (2).


Rom 13:4. For he is a MINISTER of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a MINISTER of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil. (ASV)

"The word MINISTER is DIAKONOS, a servant as seen in his activity. The civil magistrate, saved or unsaved, is a SERVANT of God in the sense that since God has instituted human government as a means of regulating the affairs of the human race, a magistrate who carries out the law, acts as a SERVANT of God" (2).


Rom 15:8. For I say that Christ hath been made a MINISTER of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises (given) unto the fathers,." (ASV)

"MINISTER is DIAKONOS, one who serves.. .Our Lard has became one who served circumcised persons, namely, the Jews! (2).


1 Cor 3:5. What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? MINISTERS through whom ye believed; and each as the Lard gave to him. (ASV)

The Greek ward for MINISTERS is from DIAKONOS, "a servant seen in his activity" (2).


2 Cor 3:6. Who also made us sufficient as MINISTERS of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (ASV)

(Same comment as above for 1 Cor 3:5.)


2 Cor 6:4. But in everything commending ourselves, as MINISTERS of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, (ASV)

(Same comment as above for 1 Car 3:5.)


2 Cor 11:15. It is no great thing therefore if his MINISTERS also fashion themselves as MINISTERS of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works. (ASV)

(Same comment as above for 1 Cor 3:5.)


2 Cor 11:23. Are they MINISTERS of Christ'? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft. (ASV)

(Same comment as above for 1 Cor 3:5.)


Gal 2:17. But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a MINISTER of sin? God forbid. (ASV)

(Same comment as above for 1 Cor 3:5. Full meaning: "Is Christ a promoter of sin?") (2).


Eph 3:7. Whereof I was made a MINISTER, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of his power.(ASV)

"The word MINISTER is DIAKONOS, a servant seen in his activity. Our word DEACON comes from this Greek word. The Greek word refers to one who serves... Paul merely meant that he became one who MINISTERED the gospel, SERVED God in that capacity" (2).


Eph 6:21. But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful MINISTER in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: (ASV)

The Greek word for MINISTER is DIAKONOS, a servant seen in his activity. Expanded translation: "Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful ministering servant in the Lord" (2).


Col: 1:7. Even as ye learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful MINISTER of Christ on our behalf, (ASV)

"Epaphras whom he calls 'the beloved,' and his 'fellow bond-servant,' also the 'MINISTER' (DIAKONOS, SERVANT) to the Colossians, the one who ministered the Word of God to them" (2).


Col. 1:23. If so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a MINISTER. (ASV)

"...that gospel which 'was proclaimed in all creation which is under heaven, of which I Paul, became ONE WHO MINISTERS. (DIAKONOS) (1.)


Col. 1:25. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which was given me to you-ward, to fulfil the word of God, (ASV)

"Paul was made a MINISTER (DIAKONOS, a SERVANT). The word dispensation is from OIKONOMIAN, meaning law or the household, or the method of administrating the household. It speaks of a house-steward, one to whom is given the responsibility of administering the laws regulating the proper conduct of affairs in the household. Here the meaning is that of stewardship. Paul was given the responsibility of preaching the Word of God." (2).


Col 4:7. All my affairs shall Tychicus make known unto you, the beloved brother and faithful MINISTER and fellow-servant in the Lord. (ASV)

"MINISTER is DIAKONOS, servant, to Paul in the ministry of the Word. Fellow-servant is DUMDOULOS, fellow bond-slave" (2).


1 Thess 3:2. And sent Timothy, our brother and God's MINISTER in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort (you) concerning your faith; (ASV)

The Greek word for MINISTER is DIAKONOS, "a servant as seen in his activity" (2).


1 Tim 4:6. If thou put the brethren in mind of these things, thou shalt be a good MINISTER of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which thou hast followed (until now): (ASV)

(Same comment as above for 1 Thess 3:2.)


DIAKONIA -STUDY OF WORD USAGE


Acts 6:1 Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily MINISTRATION. (ASV)

The work the men were to do (Acts 6:1-8) is referred to as the daily MINISTRATION. The Greek word for MINISTRATION is DIAKONIA, a noun related to the noun DIAKONOS. It meant the daily SERVING. This Greek word, DIAKONIA, is used in about 32 places in the N. T. FMP


DIAKONEO -STUDY OF WORD USAGE


Acts 6:2. And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God. and SERVE tables. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVE here is DIAKONEO. FMP


1 Tim 3:10. And let these also first be proved; then let them SERVE AS DEACONS, if they be blameless. (ASV)

The phrase SERVE AS DEACONS is a chosen translation for the Greek verb DIAKONEO, meaning TO SERVE. FMP


1 Tim 3:13 For they that have SERVED well AS DEACONS gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. (ASV)

The phrase SERVED...AS DEACONS is a chosen translation for the Greek verb DIAKONEO, meaning TO SERVE. No where else in the New Testament is the Greek verb DIAKONEO translated SERVE AS DEACON except in these two verses, 1 Tim 3:10 and 1 Tim 3:13. FMP


Luke 10:40. But Martha was cumbered about much serving; and she came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me TO SERVE alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. (ASV)

The Greek word for TO SERVE here is DIAKONEO. FMP


Luke 12:37. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and SERVE them. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVE here is DIAKONEO. FMP


Luke 17:8. And will not rather say unto him, make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and SERVE me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVE here is DIAKONEO. FMP


Luke 22:27. For which is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that SERVETH? is not he that sitteth at meat? But I am in the midst of you as he that SERVETH. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVETH here is DIAKONEO. FMP


John 12:2 So they made him a supper there: and Martha SERVED; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. (ASV)

The Greek word tor SERVED here comes from DIAKONEO. FMP


John 12:26. If any man SERVE me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man SERVE me, him will the Father honor. (ASV)

The Greek word for SERVE here is DIAKONEO. FMP.


FOOTNOTES:

(1) Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible.

(2) Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest.


(A study by F. M. Perry, November 12, 1990.)