Deacons and deaconess were the ones that "served" in the church, as the word literally means. It is from the Greek word diaconos, meaning a runner or a messenger or especially a servant as an attendant, assistant and helper, it is sometimes translated minister. It positively does not mean to be a leader in the church, that is a concept that the church learned in later years, all the New Testament disciples were servants and ministers except those that led astray. The duties of the deacons were to minister to the poor, the stranger, the neglected, to stand with open heart and hand at the threshold of the church, bidding its children welcome to the Father's house and helping to make it indeed a household of faith and a home of love.

The word was first mentioned in Acts 6, at the church of Jerusalem.

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve 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 out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Before this time, they were in one accord but they multiplied and problems would come up. There was for a while some jealousy and ill feeling among the Greek speaking Hellenists and the Hebrews, or Jews proper. The Hellenists complained that their widows were overlooked in the daily distribution of food and alms. This attitude must be checked and rather than the apostles being encumbered with all the problems, the responsibility must be delegated. The word deacon is not mentioned here but the disciples among them were to watch for seven men of good report, full of the Holy Ghost, and men of practical wisdom, who should take entire charge of this distribution, leaving the apostles free to devote themselves entirely to the spiritual functions of their office. Seven were there named, Philip and Stephen are afterward evangelists, from their names, we can conclude that they were from the complaining Hellenists. The deacons were to collect the alms of the church and distribute, visiting poor and sick, widows, orphans, and sufferers under persecution, and administering all necessary and proper relief. Their office at first seemed to apply to secular duties but afterwards became spiritual; for among other qualifications they must also be "apt to teach" and did "the work of evangelists."

Paul writes of the deacons to Timothy, "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."

The deaconess, too, had her place, for Phoebe was a servant of the church at Cenchrea and in the original Greek, Phoebe is called deaconess. The deaconess served in the church in which the deacons could not with propriety engage; such as keeping the doors of that part of the church where the women sat, privately instructing those of their own sex, and visiting others imprisoned for the faith. The office of deaconess was most needful on account of the rigid separation of the sexes in that day.
[328, BD, Acts 6, I Timothy 3, Romans 16, 380, 417]

The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

Issue Oriented Discussion Newsletter

Index | Search This Site | Aristide.Org | The Latter Rain | Babylon the Great | The Kingdom | The Nicolaitans | Jezebel
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost | The Grand Delusion | World Trade Org | Liberation Theology | Jay Atkinson | Alphabetical Index