Those who “serve” in the Christian community, assisting the elders or overseers (bishops). The Greek word which the NIV translates four times as “deacon” occurs a further 25 times in the NT, where it is translated as “servant”. It seems that all Christians have a general servant role, whereas some (deacons) are called to a specific office of service within the church.
The Seven: assistants to the apostles
Why they were neededAc 6:1-4The verb “wait” means “to serve”.
Their names and appointmentAc 6:5-6Although the Seven are not actually called “deacons”, they were probably the earliest example of Christians carrying out the tasks which came to be linked with deacons.
Deacons were assistants to overseers in Philippi
Php 1:1All Christians are “saints” (that is, set apart for God), but overseers and deacons have specific roles assigned to them.
Qualifications for men and women deacons
1Ti 3:8-13There is no NT description of the precise role of deacons (although Ac 6:1-4 may imply a certain role). These qualifications would be appropriate for people responsible for financial management, administration, and social service, such as that offered to widows; 1Ti 3:11 The women may be deacons’wives (NIV text), or deaconesses (NIV footnote).
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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