Note: You may wish to do a preliminary study of the church and elders before continuing this study.
The Leadership of the Church--Deacons
Prepared by Robert J. Young
Page may be copied and used for teaching purposes with appropriate credit noted
The word deacon comes from the Greek word, diakonos. The word is used 30 times in the NT, most often translated servant.
I. Usages of the Word
A. General, a reference to any servant, attendant, waiter, minister
B. Special usages for specific purposes
- 1. 1 Tim. 4:6, minister; Col. 4:7, Tychicus; Col. 1:7, Epaphras
- 2. Christ is called a minister, Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:17
- 3. The apostles and other inspired teachers, 1 Cor. 3:5
- 4. All faithful servants of Christ, Matt. 20:26; John 12:26; Rom. 16:1
- 5. Civil officers (outside of the church), Rom. 13:4.
Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:8-13, Acts 6 (deacons in Jerusalem)
II. Qualifications/qualities of Deacons (1 Tim. 3)
A. Positive qualities
B. Negative qualities
- 1. Grace
- 2. Holding the faith with a pure conscience
- 3. Blameless
- 4. Husband of one wife
- 5. Rules children and house well
- 6. Must first be proved, not a novice.
- 1. Not double tongued
- 2. Not given to much wine
- 3. Not greedy
III. Duties of Deacons (servants)
The deacons could perhaps be compared to the Levites of the OT. One might complete the analogy with the elders as the OT priests. The deacon has no specific qualifications which are directed toward teaching, preaching, and outreach, but rather "serves" the church. One must ask,
and not assume, whether the men selected in Acts 6 were deacons holding an "office." Wisdom likely dictates that it is better to have elders before deacons are appointed. Note that in Acts 6-7, the apostles did not assume the duties, because they had their own ministry of teaching and
preaching. This suggests different ministries--teaching, preaching, waiting tables, etc.