Deacon, A Word Study

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Deacon: A Word Study

E. Keith Hassell



1.     Means, to be attendant or to wait upon

2.     Used to refer to waiting on someone at a table as a waiter

a.      Luke 22:24-27 (NKJV) “Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called “benefactors.” 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”

3.     Used to describe general service of any kind

a.      Matthew 4:11 (NKJV) “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

b.     Acts 19:22 (NKJV) “So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.”

c.     2 Corinthians 8:19 (NKJV) “and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,”

4.     Used to refer to caring or taking care of

a.      2 Corinthians 3:3 (NKJV) “clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

b.     Acts 6:2 (NKJV) “Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.’”

5.     Used to refer to helping or supporting someone

a.      Matthew 25:23 (NKJV) “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

b.     Luke 8:3 (NKJV) “and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him a from their substance.”

c.     Romans 15:25 (NKJV) “But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.”

6.     Used to describe the ministry of a church official

a.      1 Timothy 3:10 (NKJV)“But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.”

7.     Note: This word has been translated in several ways in the KJV (minister, serve, administer, and is used for the office of a deacon)


1.     Means service or attendance as a servant.

2.     Used generally for all manner of service

a.      Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV) “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”

b.     Ephesians 4:12 “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,”

c.     Acts 6:4 “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

3.     Used specifically to describe the service of preparing a meal

a.      Luke 10:40 (NKJV) “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’”

4.     Used of the service or function of all New Testament ministries

a.      1 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV) “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,”

b.     Acts 20:24 (NKJV) “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, a so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

c.     1 Corinthians 12:5 (NKJV) “There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.”

d.     Colossians 4:17 (NKJV) “And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.’”

5.     Used in the sense of aid, support, or distribution, especially of alms and giving to the poor

a.      Acts 11:29 (NKJV) “Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.”

b.     Romans 15:31 (NKJV) “that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,”

c.     2 Corinthians 8:4 (NKJV) “imploring us with much urgency that we would receive a the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”

6.     Used to refer to a specific ministry in the body of Christ

a.      Romans 12:7 (NKJV) “or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;”

7.     Note: The KJV translates this word many ways (serving, ministry, ministration, relief, office, service, administrations, ministering)


1.     Means a waiter, attendant, servant, or minister

2.     Used to refer to the servant of someone

a.      Matthew 20:26 (NKJV) “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”

b.     Matthew 23:11 (NKJV) “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

c.     John 12:26 (NKJV) “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”

3.     Used to refer to a helper or an encourager

a.      1 Thessalonians 3:2 (NKJV) “and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith,”

b.     1 Timothy 4:6 (NKJV) “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.”

4.     Used to refer to an official of the church

a.      Philippians 1:1 (NKJV) “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”

b.     1 Timothy 3:8 (NKJV) “Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double–tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,”

5.     The apostles and other prominent Christians were described in this capacity

a.      Colossians 1:23 (NKJV)“if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

b.     Ephesians 3:7 (NKJV)“of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.”

c.     2 Corinthians 3:6 (NKJV) “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

6.     Note:  The KJV translates this word in several ways (minister, servant, deacon)


1.     Never used in the New Testament but is the root word from which the other three words are built.

2.     Literally it means, “to run or to hasten on errands.”


a NU-Text and M-Text read them.

a NU-Text reads But I do not count my life of any value or dear to myself.

a NU-Text and M-Text omit that we would receive, thus changing text to urgency for the favor and fellowship . . . .

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