Deacons as a Servant Role

The deacon title derives from a general word that describes the work of a servant (diakonos). Furthermore, it is a different word than the one used for a slave (doulos). In standard usage, it described someone personally devoted to executing the commands, accomplishing the will, or meeting the needs of another person.

The deacon title derives from a general word that describes the work of a servant.

As an apostle, Paul described himself as a “servant of the Lord” (Rom 1:1Col 1:25). He also described Apollos, Timothy, and other believers the same way (1 Cor 3:52 Cor 3:41 Thess 3:2). Furthermore, Matthew used this word broadly to describe servants who carried out the orders of a king (Matt 22:13), and John used it to describe waiters who serve food and drink to people at a banquet (John 2:59). Ultimately, Jesus urged his followers to adopt this servant mindset throughout life, being committed to serving others and taking the lowliest position (Matt 20:2628Mark 9:35Luke 22:26-27).

Altogether, this full range of meaning describes the essence of the deacon office in a church. While all Christians should behave like a servant, deacons must devote themselves voluntarily and sacrificially to meet the specific needs of others in a church in an official capacity.

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