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Deacons of churches are distinct from bishops or preaching elders (Php. 1:1; 1Tim. 3:10- 13 Acts 6:1- 7). A deacon is a servant acting under the direct orders of the great Master from whom I have received the gift of grace and the effectual power of God. In scriptures, we read the following deacons /deaconess 1. Philip was the deacon (Acts 6:5; 8:5- 40 21:8- 9), not the apostle listed in Lk. 6:14. 2. Apostle Paul was also a deacon. (Eph 3:7) A Greek word diakonos (G1249) is used to refer him a deacon 3. Phebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea (Rom 16:1) Ten Qualifications for Deacons: 1. Grave (1Tim. 3: 8). Greek: semnos (G4586). Translated " grave" (1Tim. 3: 4; Tit. 2: 2) and " honest" (Php. 4: 8) 2. Not doubletongued (1Tim. 3: 8). Greek: dilogos (G1351), liars; saying different things to different persons on the same subject. 3. Not give to much wine (1Tim. 3: 8) even unfermented (in the cluster; Isa. 65: 8) 4. Not greedy of filthy lucre (1Tim. 3: 8). see point 10, 1Tim. 3: 2 (cp. 1Pet. 5: 2) 5. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience (1Tim. 3: 9). They must maintain a good conscience and be able to demonstrate the mysterious power of faith (Mk. 9: 23; 11: 22- 24 16: 17- 18, 1Th. 1: 3) 6. Let them be proved (1Tim. 3: 10). The same as not a new convert, in 1Tim. 3: 6. Let them be tested and proved worthy of the office, and able to keep themselves from being lifted up in pride and falling in the same manner Satan did. 1Tim. 3: 6 7. Blameless. Greek:anengkletos (G410) (1Tim. 3:10). Translated "blameless" (1Tim. 3:10; 1Cor. 1:18; Tit. 1:6- 7) and "unreprovable" (Col. 1:22). They must be free from evil and reproach 8. Their wives must meet certain qualifications (1Tim. 3:11). See the points below 9. Each, the husband of one wife (1Tim. 3:12). No polygamist 10. Each, the ruler of his own house (1Tim. 3:12), as required of bishops (1Tim. 3:4- 5) In Bible, we also read two great rewards for faithful deacons: 1. Purchase a good degree. Greek:peripoieomai (G4046), to preserve, acquire, keep safe, and protect for oneself a good degree or rank among Christians (1Tim. 3:13; Acts 20:28). 2. Great boldness in the faith. Greek:parrhesia (G3954), freedom of speech. Translated "boldness of speech" (2Cor. 7:4); "plainness of speech" (2Cor. 3:12); "freely" (Acts 2:29); "confidence" (Acts 28:31; Heb. 3:6; 10:35; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:21; 5:14); "boldness" and "boldly" (Jn. 7:26; Acts 4:13, 29, 31; Eph. 3:12; 6:19; Php. 1:20; 1Tim. 3:13; Phm. 1:8; Heb. 4:16; 10:19; 1Jn. 4:17); "openly" (Mk. 8:32; Jn. 7:4, 13; 11:54; 18:20; Col. 2:15); and "plainly" (Jn. 10:24; 11:14; 16:25, 29).
Most scholars agree that the concept of the position of deacon was first modeled in the early church in Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 6:1-7. Although the formal title of Deacon was not applied in this text, the word "serve" used in verse 2 is translated from the Greek word "diakoneo" from which we get the English word deacon. The full duties of the men appointed and ordained to that position were not outlined in specific terms. However, in general it is clear that the purpose and role of those first deacons was to free the apostles (pastors) from the hands-on, physical/material responsibilities of the early church so that they (the apostles) could devote themselves "to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Deacons today are usually charged with the same type responsibilities during their ordinations. The apostles directed that "seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom" be selected by and from "the full number of the disciples" in order to manage the daily distribution to the widows. The seven men selected are listed in this passage and include Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolaus. The apostles then prayed for them and laid their hands on them in what appears to be the forerunner of our present day deacon ordination services. The immediate benefits of making these changes in their organizational structure are listed in the very next verse: v.7 "And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem..." The placement of that statement at this point in this text indicates that there is a correlation between the improved efficiency of their overall operation and the blessing of increase given to them by almighty God. In the young Christian church of Acts 6, managing the daily distribution to the widows among them appears to have been their most pressing physical concern and the cause of some controversy. Today, the physical and material concerns of modern churches may manifest themselves differently, but the principle is the same: deacons serve the church by caring for the physical/material needs of the members so that the elders (pastors) can focus on prayer and ministry of the word through preaching and teaching. Local churches consist of both spiritual and material components. In general, deacons manage the material components and pastors/elders manage the spiritual components. Although there may be overlap and areas of grey, deacons are normally not viewed as occupying a governing office within the church, but are seen rather as servant leaders. The only other potential mention of a deacon by name that I have found in the New Testament is in Romans 16:1 with Paul's reference to Phoebe. However, it is unclear and very controversial as to whether a woman can (or should) serve as a deacon. While most bible translators use the word servant here to translate "diakonon" (the femine form of diakonos) - believing that the context denies an inference to the official office of deacon - there are some who use the word "deaconess" instead. Though it is unclear based on the information we have, it is at least possible that Phoebe held the office of Deaconess in the church at Cenchreae.
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