The English word "deacon" only appears five times in the New Testament, four of which are in First Timothy. Many words in the English New Testament are not adequately, nor consistently translated. The word "deacon" is just such a case in point. Yet in the Greek the term "diakonos, diakonia, and diakoneo" are frequently used to describe the office and activity of one who is a "deacon." (See our interactive word study of "deacon")

  • Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
  • 1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
  • 1 Timothy 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
  • 1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
  • 1 Timothy 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

English does not always convey the thought that the original Greek language intended. Take the word "deacon" as used in the KJV of the Bible. It is only referenced on five occasions, four of which are in First Timothy. But take the root of the word "deacon" from the Greek, and the complexion changes altogether. The English language translates these Greek words a servant, son, wait on tables, serve, slave, maidservant, caretaker, house boy, attendant, etc.

By comparing the Greek words for each of the English words we find that DEACON also means servant or doulos, diakonos, etc, and MINISTER is huperetes, leitourgos, parecho, ergazomai, and diakono. It really broadens the scope of our study and floods our minds with understanding. It really broadens the scope of our study and floods our minds with understanding to discover other uses of the word deacon. (You will see this explained later.)

As we begin what are some of the questions we what to answer?

  • What does deacon mean?
  • What do deacons do?
  • What are their qualifications?
  • How do they become deacons?
  • Are they necessary in the church?
  • Is it a position or an activity?

(Go now to the Interactive Word Study of "diakonos - diakonia - diakoneo")