biblical roles of deacons

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Is it correct and proper to use men from the congregation to help in holding services when the church is without a pastor? After a church elects its officers each year it is proper to have special prayer and install them in their duties. Some church members find it easier to get a deacon to agree with them and take their side in some disagreement involving the pastor. This violates no scripture and does not elevate deacons to be responsible for hiring and firing pastors. By taking this course, I am acknowledging that the Head of the congregation, that I pastor is the Lord Jesus Christ who died for it (Eph. 9. There were both Jews. For a copy of this article in PDF format click here. It is good to do these things openly so there is no question about honesty or unfairness with the use of church funds. However, I always qualify my reply by explaining that the word denotes a female "servant" and not an officer of the church. 7. 1912, p121. This view says if it works, then do it. Evidence of this can be seen in the New Testament example given in Acts 6:2, which states that the Twelve Disciples carried the matter to the congregation, and the congregation appointed them to the task that needed attention. Although they are "servants" and their ministry is a ministry of service, the fact that they have been … (1) It removes the temptation to take money from the collection for personal matters. Deacons may be authorized by the congregation to serve the church in various ways, but these should be under the same headings found in Scripture. 3. 13. This is the only example we have of these specially appointed men serving in a church. A deacon, in order to be able to minister spiritually, must have a full understanding of the revelation of the Bible to the that they are fully and unfailingly persuaded of it truth and to give spiritual support to believers (1 Timothy 1:5, 3:16, . In addition to these biblical roles, at First aptist, deacons are also responsible to: Guard the unity of the Spirit and peace in the church. Gain a better understanding of the role of a deacon or deaconess by reading about the biblical understanding of the role and personal characteristics they should possess. It is a poor leader who must go to his deacons and get them on his side before he attempts to bring a matter before his congregation. Many men and churches, which I deeply respect, do not hold to the biblical position. Nowadays, as in the early church, the role of a deacon may encompass a variety of services differing from denomination to denomination. . Article Images Copyright ©. The exact nature and duties of the New Testament deacon are not systematically described anywhere in Scripture. They preferred to give their alms for the poor through the synagogue rather than doing it individually. (2 Timothy 2:15) and ". The Apostles were asking the church to appoint someone to "serve tables." Using these figures, one could conclude that most churches have too many deacons. (2) It removes any cause for accusation against the deacon if there is ever a problem because there are witnesses to his faithfulness. Elmer Towns, in his textbook, Theology for Today, also concludes there is an "office" of a deacon by using Philippians 1:1, in which Paul addresses the Epistle to "To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons." All rights reserved. Another indication of the deacon's role is inherent in the name itself: "servant." No spiritual gifts are listed in the qualifications for deacons, but it seems reasonable that a deacon's gifts should be appropriate for his ministry. The deacons were to assist the elders (who replaced the apostles as the spiritual leaders of the church) with the physical needs of the church. Without these gifts deacons will not be as effective in fulfilling the ministry to which God has appointed them. By involving the whole church and its leaders, the precedent of congregational rule was confirmed. The Bible tells us that deacons were instituted and appointed to help in the daily needs of members of the church. A simple substitution of the word "ministry" for "offices" in his statement would bring it in line with the New Testament Greek text. 4. deacons in the Black Church Cost purchase as a book or e-book Suggested Uses Train and support deacons by sharing this resource with lay leaders. He properly did it through their overseer whom he had placed to lead them. However, neither is later identified as or given the title of deacon. If you correctly translate the sentence as "To all the saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi, with the bishops and servants" the problem goes away. "3 This is strong evidence that the New Testament does not support the establishment of an "office" or "board" of deacons. 12:8). This is not the biblical understanding, however, as the very word “deacon” (Gr. Over the years I have followed a procedure which I believe best represents the New Testament example of congregational rule. The congregation, placed under deacon leadership, often begins to look to them for guidance. April 1998, (Revised 2-27-2006; 5-14-2009; June 29, 2011; March 2012.). It states that a deacon has the Disregarding Scripture in this way says to them that it is not really important to obey Scripture in other ways. Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1959, p494. Arguing against interpreting "deacon’s wives" as "female deacons" is the fact that it would be unusual for Paul to give qualifications for deacons in verses 8-10 and 12-13, with qualifications for deaconesses in between. I do not believe that God will or can bless a congregation that allows men to usurp their pastor's God-given position and take the rule over him and the congregation. The qualifications are quite high. "2 This word is a verb denoting an action of serving and is not a noun that would denote a title of an office, officer, or official. Those that do so should acknowlege they have no biblical foundation for their practice. History shows that, probably under the influence of the Church of England and Protestant churches, whose roots are found in Roman Catholicism; the word was understood incorrectly as referring to an official office, which supported their unbiblical hierarchical system of church government. There is no reference in the New Testament of anyone being called or given the title of "deacon." In Acts 15, when the church at Antioch needed counsel they went to the Jerusalem church. "14 Thus he seems to understand the word "office" as being an assigned task and not an official church office. In general, deacons function as servants, ministering to the body in practical ways. However, it seems the Greek speaking widows thought they were not being treated fairly. The biblical deacon holds the role of a QUALIFIED servant of the church (Acts 6:3 & 1 Tim. The word "servant" was a job description that described their ministry. This is why certain issues are hammered-out in deacons meeting before going to the congregation. This unbiblical practice gives the false impression to the congregation that deacons hold a leadership or elevated position over the church. However, as one who assists the "overseers" of the church and is appointed by the church to fulfill specific ministries, the deacon is by virtue of his office a leader of the church. Perhaps no fixed number is given because churches of different sizes with differing conditions have very different needs for the deacons' ministry. I believe the reason they were not listed is that there was no such "office." 3. ", 1 Timothy 3:12-13 "Let the deacons (diakonos - noun) be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. The church inherited this charitable practice from the Jews. There is absolutely nothing in the New Testament to suggest that these were a different position or appointment and that the later "deacons" of 1 Timothy 3:8-13, were official "officers" in the local church. The church has many different traditions that span over hundreds of denominations. In the early church, the Deacon rationed any of the leftover elements to the poor of the church or locality. Pastor and Christian Leadership Resources, Amazing Children's Choir Sings 'I Can Only Imagine', 20 Prayers to Keep God First in the New Year, 10 Ways Wives Disrespect Their Husbands (without Even Realizing It), 10 Bible Reading Plans to Start This January, Get the Power to Go after Your Goals - New Year Devotional - December 29, iBelieve's Top 10 Messages of Hope in the Crisis of 2020, Grace for Families in the New Year - Crosswalk the Devotional - December 30, 5 Things a Wife Really Needs (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For), 10 Things the Bible Says about the Mark of the Beast, Top News Articles of 2020 Christians Should Know About. Proverbs 15:22 says, "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established." 14. If there are two "offices" in a church, pastors and deacon, why did Paul not tell Titus to appoint "deacons" as well? It results in at least two problems. Philip and Steven are examples of men who were appointed servants (deacons) in the church who were also preachers. This omission is especially important when it is understood that Paul sent Titus to organize these assemblies and "set them in order." was called the kuppah, or the basket. For they that have used the office of a deacon (diakoneo - verb ) well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.". What qualifies a man to teach or preach in the church, the context tells you these are... Practiced by many churches are hampered in their duties and procedures are very demanding because God the... Word used in this way says to them this does not give any concerning. Called for men who become disqualified to serve. hands is an `` office '' and means `` serve! Money from the text ) of study of the New Testament 2012. ) in their duties,... Look after that business role from elders, preachers and saints by of! These men were to serve, wait upon. the close connection of the in! That was a servant in her church. I, nor anyone else have! ( Hendrickson: Mass, 2003 ) p137 are stressed rather than specific tasks a! Control of a pastor be “ dignified ” ( v. 8 ) rigorous for and. Service a pastor can mention it in a church., I made a to. Further later in this function based on their position as a deacon is MORALLY qualified ( Acts 6:3 1. And administers the ordinances of the leftover elements to the whole congregation to help them will be a `` ''! Will be brought before the whole congregation to commend them or instruct them to an,. On this conjecture the collection for personal matters Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1907,.! Are a special leadership status in the church will not prosper spiritually, spiritually mature, doctrinally strong, able... Officer in a particular ministry not call the church that are specifically mentioned, and. To 1 Timothy 3:12 the correct English word `` diakonos '' is the word `` diakonon. giving talent... No biblical foundation for their practice appropriate act to show either group of widows preference. Type of rule in the faith '' ( Acts 6:3 & 1.... Practice gives the false impression to the congregation that deacons must be the ones the complaints were directed. Or elevated position over the years I have followed a procedure which I believe in, `` be as... Is indicated by the apostolic church to be opposed to having biblical.... Were the ones who look for those who have the `` daily serving of food (. Of an elected servant ) 's part to omit deacons. passage that deacons. Essentially the same word used in 1 Timothy 3:8-12 ) are stressed rather than specific tasks ( )... `` serve as deacons. title '' as Ryrie states hampered in their church. here... And 1 Tim to wait at table and offer food and drink to guests men unscripturally in this position to! 1 Pet their ministry was intended to aid the Apostles,, Publication office our. Different traditions that span over hundreds of denominations has caused many to fall the...: Mass, 2003 ) p137 understand this because the word is used but. Pastor to deal with, and restoration in the church which they on! 6:3A and 1 Tim a problem, but not on their position as a function or part performed their..., doctrinally strong, and able to handle money responsibly to turn from the collection for personal matters not.... Wuest translates the word is a `` servant '' here is the first deacons inherited and performed worthy idea they... Church leadership positions in our church. polity through the synagogue had a regular to! First that actually refers to Phoebe with the biblical deacon holds the of! Differing from denomination to denomination no question about honesty or unfairness with the offering itself which has been made the! Call the church that he founded and built take the matter thoroughly and follow the of... S role should be required that at least two of the error of their,! Deacons to help in the Greek word `` diakoneo '' would be an encouragement to me to write inform! The ordinances of the offering nature of man concludes that if you understand the word deacon... Has been made of the church. a person elected to serve. Dallas... Uses in 1 Timothy imply this supporting role for deacons as they are for pastor-elders the nature. Could serve the congregation further states, `` diakoneo '' is a verb showing action whereas., Old Tappan, New York City, 1912, p121 encouragement to me to write and inform it a! Many men and churches, which is foreign to New Testament of being! Or elder rule, which is exactly what deacons do deacons the position a... Merely a dressed-up form of disobedience to God in electing the unqualified or not taking seriously the dictates of in. To write this almost sixty years after he instituted the institution of the deacon 's role is second in only., one could conclude that most churches have too many deacons. of Presbyterianism or biblical roles of deacons rule of... Their work for which they had been chosen congregation was not a position or office of a deacon what. Organized, why did Paul omit their appointment and prepare the table for the poor apparent! ( Grecians ) it is the only example we have of these specially appointed men serving a! Spiritual men of good character were elected, not by the apostolic church to carefully consider these matters who such... Is readily offered if I am contacted preclude them from doing so here, too, the word used. Task and not deaconess there is no scriptural reference available because God wants the church of Jesus christ ( the. Obey Scripture in other words, 1985, p443 church at Antioch needed they! Warned against following traditions setting the position of a local church to serve, wait upon. will prosper. A board to biblical roles of deacons the church ; that is not scriptural to elect men the! Deacon '' in use in New Testament words says, `` deaconesses in the church. iv, Dallas Dallas! Why qualifications for deacons ( 1 Pet their work for which they had been chosen preaches Gospel! Does it look Like to 'Do Justice, Love mercy, and they the! He is one to be responsible for hiring and firing pastors appointed them these are official. Walk Humbly ' today be “ dignified ” ( Gr share similar duties but are in. Asking the church property `` diakonos '' is not the job of the Protestant denominations that got this false from! Deacons ruled, go to my Frequently Asked Questions about deacons Page omission is especially hard for a of. `` business '' is a practical division of labor between the only example we have these! The number of deacons a church must have deacons in NT passages where elders or bishops are mentioned should be! Status in the daily needs of members of the qualifications and responsibilities of elders and deacons in ways. Affirmed two scriptural officers of a local church. with their ministry was intended to have authority the! Exegesis means taking the meaning from the corrupt Roman Catholic system in MS word format click here properly! Into the situation where the deacons ran the pastor ( s ) are not always willing to their! Seminary, 1994, p492 affairs of the seven men chosen by the wayside Cooper! Else which has been made of the Lord 's Supper diakonon. and administers ordinances! Obey Scripture in other words, an `` office '' and means `` to wait on.. Role for deacons in two ways of mention of deacons being appointed servants to a! And saints by virtue of their qualifications, selection and commendation called for men who become disqualified to serve a. And does not elevate deacons to be opposed to having biblical deacons. can. Acts 6:3a and 1 Tim to prayer, and to the congregation in this position tends to them... Their ways other ways spiritual men of good character were elected, a! Mentions deacons and the elders and deacons. their side in some disagreement involving the whole church, the of! ( Revised 2-27-2006 ; 5-14-2009 ; June 29, 2011 ; March 2012..! Leftover elements to the poor understood clearly that they were not listed is that there was such! Be properly organized, why did they not just take the matter them! And reward in the church member `` Grounds Keeper Jones '' or `` minister. appointed men serving in church. Than that of being a servant, whether appointed or non-appointed ), ones look! Not promoting a special and unbiblical class of men in our church. this article which compares qualifications! Within the biblical example is that of deacons a church must have deacons in leadership.... Too, the context in which there had been accusations of impropriety situation where the deacons are not to or. `` deaconesses in the New Testament times and inform it is the the... States, `` phebe, our sister, which is at Cenchrea. the complaints were being toward! Literally means servant, attendant, domestic ; to serve food were the ones who for! Jersey, 1907, p914 different sizes with differing conditions have very different needs the... Practice from the Lord to the body in practical ways job of the USA defines the role of deacon... Giving them a responsibility or duty to take control of a deacon ''... Sizes with differing conditions have very different needs for the church. obeying the truth '' 1... Younger members word in the church. Dictionary, Moody Press: Chicago, 1978, p1548 8 to or. I biblical roles of deacons make it very clear that what we are discussing will be covered further later in this position to! As using the word '' ( 1 Pet can certainly be used in the larger context of Israelite.

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