This term is used in the Authorized Version to describe various officials of a religious and civil character. Its meaning, as distinguished from servant, is a voluntary attendant on another. In the Old Testament it is applied (1) to an attendance upon a person of high rank, (Exodus 24:13; Joshua 1:1; 2 Kings 4:43) (2) to the attaches of a royal court, (1 Kings 10:5; 2 Chronicles 22:8) comp. Psal 104:4 (3) To the priests and Levites. (Ezra 8:17; Nehemiah 10:36; Isaiah 61:6; Ezekiel 44:11; Joel 1:9,13) One term in the New Testament betokens a subordinate public administrator, (Romans 13:6; 15:16; Hebrews 8:2) one who performs certain gratuitous public services. A second term contains the idea of actual and personal attendance upon a superior, as in (Luke 4:20) The minister's duty was to open and close the building, to produce and replace the books employed in the service, and generally to wait on the officiating priest or teacher. A third term, diakonos (from which comes our word deacon), is the one usually employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel: its application is twofold,--in a general sense to indicate ministers of any order, whether superior or inferior, and in a special sense to indicate an order of inferiors ministers. [Deacon]
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