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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words


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A — 1: διάκονος
(Strong's #1249 — Noun — diakonos — dee-ak'-on-os )

"a servant, attendant, minister, deacon," is translated "minister" in Mark 10:43; Romans 13:4 (twice); 15;8; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; 11:15 (twice); 15:8; 2:17; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 1:7,23,25; 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Timothy 4:6 . See DEACON.

A — 2: λειτουργός
(Strong's #3011 — Noun Masculine — leitourgos — li-toorg-os' )

denoted among the Greeks, firstly, "one who discharges a public office at his own expense," then, in general, "a public servant, minister." In the NT it is used (a) of Christ, as a "Minister of the sanctuary" (in the Heavens), Hebrews 8:2; (b) of angels, Hebrews 1:7 ( Psalm 104:4 ); (c) of the Apostle Paul, in his evangelical ministry, fulfilling it as a serving-priest, Romans 15:16; that he used it figuratively and not in an ecclesiastical sense, is obvious from the context; (d) of Epaphroditus, as ministering to Paul's needs on behalf of the church at Philippi, Philippians 2:25; here, representative service is in view; (e) of earthly rulers, who though they do not all act consciously as servants of God, yet discharge functions which are the ordinance of God, Romans 13:6 .

A — 3: ὑπηρέτης
(Strong's #5257 — Noun Masculine — huperetes — hoop-ay-ret'-ace )

properly "an under rower" (hupo, "under," eretes, "a rower"), as distinguished from nautes, "a seaman" (a meaning which lapsed from the word), hence came to denote "any subordinate acting under another's direction;" in Luke 4:20 , RV, "attendant," AV, "minister" it signifies the attendant at the synagogue service; in Acts 13:5 , it is said of John Mark, RV, "attendant," AV, "minister," in Acts 26:16 , "a minister," it is said of Paul as a servant of Christ in the Gospel; so in 1 Corinthians 4:1 , where the Apostle associates others with himself, as Apollos and Cephas, as "ministers of Christ." See ATTEND , C, OFFICER.

Note: Other synonomous nouns are doulos, "a bondservant;" oiketes, "a household servent;" misthios, "a hired servant;" misthotos (ditto); pais, "a boy, a household servant." For all these see SERVANT. Speaking broadly, diakonos views a servant in relation to his work; doulos, in relation to his master; huperetes, in relation to his superior; leitourgos, in relation to public service.

B — 1: διακονέω
(Strong's #1247 — Verb — diakoneo — dee-ak-on-eh'-o )

akin to A, No. 1, signifies "to be a servant, attendant, to serve, wait upon, minister." In the following it is translated "to minister," except where "to serve" is mentioned: it is used (a) with a general significance, e.g., Matthew 4:11; 20:28; Mark 1:13; 10:45; John 12:26 ("serve," twice); Acts 19:22; Philemon 1:13; (b) of waiting at table, "ministering" to the guests, Matthew 8:15; Luke 4:39; 8:3; 12:37; 17:8 , "serve;" Matthew 22:26 , "serve," Matthew 22:27 , "serveth," twice; the 2nd instance, concerning the Lord, may come under (a); so of women preparing food, etc., Mark 1:31; Luke 10:40 , "serve;" John 12:2 , "served;" (c) of relieving one's necessities, supplying the necessaries of life, Matthew 25:44; 27:55; Mark 15:41; Acts 6:2 , "serve;" Romans 15:25; Hebrews 6:10; more definitely in connection with such service in a local church, 1 Timothy 3:10,13 , [there is nothing in the original representing the word "office;" RV, "let them serve as deacons," "they that have served (well) as deacons"]; (d) of attending, in a more general way, to anything that may serve another's interests, as of the work of an amanuensis, 2 Corinthians 3:3 (metaphorical): of the conveyance of materials gifts of assisting the needy, 2 Corinthians 8:19,20 , RV, "is ministered" (AV, "is administered"); of a variety of forms of service, 2 Timothy 1:18; of the testimony of the OTs prophets, 1 Peter 1:12; of the ministry of believers one to another in various ways, 1 Peter 4:10,11 (not here of discharging ecclesiastical functions).

Note: In Hebrews 1:14 , AV (2nd part), the phrase eis diakonian is translated "to minister," RV, "to do service," lit., "for service;" for the noun "ministering" in the 1st part, see MINISTERING , B.

B — 2: λειτουργέω
(Strong's #3008 — Verb — leitourgeo — li-toorg-eh'-o )

(akin to A, No. 2), in classical Greek, signified at Athens "to supply public offices at one's own cost, to render public service to the State;" hence, generally, "to do service," said, e.g., of service to the gods. In the NT (see Note below) it is used (a) of the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, who "ministered to the Lord," Acts 13:2; (b) of the duty of churches of the Gentiles to "minister" in "carnal things" to the poor Jewish saints at Jerusalem, in view of the fact that the former had "been made partakers" of the "spiritual things" of the latter, Romans 15:27; (c) of the official service of priests and Levites under the Law, Hebrews 10:11 (in the Sept., e.g., Exodus 29:30; Numbers 16:9 ).

Note: The synonymous verb latreuo (properly, "to serve for hire"), which is used in the Sept. of the service of both priests and people (e.g., Exodus 4:3; Deuteronomy 10:12 , and in the NT, e.g., Hebrews 8:5 ), and, in the NT, of Christians in general, e.g., Revelation 22:3 , is to be distinguished from leitourgeo, which has to do with the fulfillment of an office, the discharge of a function, something of a representative character (Eng., "liturgy").

B — 3: ὑπηρετέω
(Strong's #5256 — Verb — hupereteo — hoop-ay-ret-eh'-o )

"to do the service of a huperetes" (see A, No. 3), properly, "to serve as a rower on a ship," is used (a) of David, as serving the counsel of God in his own generation, Acts 13:36 , RV, expressive of the lowly character of his service for God; (b) of Paul's toil in working with his hands, and his readiness to avoid any pose of ecclesiastical superiority, Acts 20:34; (c) of the service permitted to Paul's friends to render to him, 24:23.

B — 4: ἱερουργέω
(Strong's #2418 — Verb — hierourgeo — hee-er-oorg-eh'-o )

"to minister in priestly service" (akin to hierourgos, "a sacrificing priest," a word not found in the Sept. or NT: from hieros, "sacred," and ergon, "work"), is used by Paul metaphorically of his ministry of the Gospel, Romans 15:16; the offering connected with his priestly ministry is "the offering up of the Gentiles," i.e., the presentation by Gentile converts of themselves to God. The Apostle uses words proper to the priestly and Levitical ritual, to explain metaphorically his own priestly service. Cp. prosphora, "offering up," and leitourgos, in the same verse.

B — 5: παρέχω
(Strong's #3930 — Verb — parecho — par-ekh'-o )

"to furnish, provide, supply," is translated "minister" in 1 Timothy 1:4 , of the effect of "fables and endless genealogies." See BRING , A, No. 21.

B — 6: ἐργάζομαι
(Strong's #2038 — Verb — ergazomai — er-gad'-zom-ahee )

"to work, work out, perform," is translated "minister" in 1 Corinthians 9:13; the verb is frequently used of business, or employment, and here the phrase means "those employed in sacred things" or "those who are assiduous in priestly functions." See COMMIT , A, No. 1.

Notes: (1) The verb choregeo, rendered "minister" in the AV of 2 Corinthians 9:10 , and the strengthened form epichoregeo, rendered by the same verb in the AV of 2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19; 2 Peter 1:11 , in 2 Peter 1:5 , "add," are always translated "to supply" in the RV. Both verbs suggest an abundant supply, and are used of material or of spiritual provision. See SUPPLY. (2) In Ephesians 4:29 , AV, didomi, "to give," is translated "minister" (RV, "give").

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Minister'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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