I posted a blog article the other day about “Women leaders in the church.” In that article I looked at the issue of Apostles and how there were more apostles then the 12 who Jesus picked out. I wrote about Junia whom Paul calls an outstanding Apostle. It’s amazing the kick back that many have about this and truly twist and turn scripture to make it say something its not clearly saying.
Today I want to look at the issue of Deacons in the church. Again many will teach that only men can be deacons, drawing this from 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. 11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. 13 For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
From the first glance it appears that Paul is saying only men are to be deacons in the church. BUT, this worldview can only be come by a simplistic proof texting of Scripture without weighing with the whole counsel of Scripture.
In Romans 16: 1-2 Paul says
16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon[a][b] of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.
Many versions will translate Deacon here as being a servant. The problem is, that the Greek word used for Deacon in the Timothy passage is the same Greek word used in to describe Phoebe’s position in the church. And so we have to note that Paul is clearly calling her a “Deacon,” of the church in Cenchreae. Paul notes that she is a deacon worthy of respect and has proved herself blameless which is in keeping with the expected Deacon qualities mentioned to Timothy.