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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Deacon

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

(Eng., "deacon"), primarily denotes a "servant," whether as doing servile work, or as an attendant rendering free service, without particular reference to its character. The word is probably connected with the verb dioko, "to hasten after, pursue" (perhaps originally said of a runner). "It occurs in the NT of domestic servants, John 2:5,9 ; the civil ruler, Romans 13:4 ; Christ, Romans 15:8 ; Galatians 2:17 ; the followers of Christ in relation to their Lord, John 12:26 ; Ephesians 6:21 ; Colossians 1:7 ; 4:7 ; the followers of Christ in relation to one another, Matthew 20:26 ; 23:11 ; Mark 9:35 ; 10:43 ; the servants of Christ in the work of preaching and teaching, 1 Corinthians 3:5 ; 2 Corinthians 3:6 ; 6:4 ; 11:23 ; Ephesians 3:7 ; Colossians 1:23,25 ; 1 Thessalonians 3:2 ; 1 Timothy 4:6 ; those who serve in the churches, Romans 16:1 (used of a woman here only in NT); Philippians 1:1 ; 1 Timothy 3:8,12 ; false apostles, servants of Satan, 2 Corinthians 11:15 . Once diakonos is used where, apparently, angels are intended, Matthew 22:13 ; in v. 3, where men are intended, doulos is used." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 91.]

Diakonos is, generally speaking, to be distinguished from doulos, "a bondservant, slave;" diakonos views a servant in relationship to his work; doulos views him in relationship to his master. See, e.g., Matthew 22:2-14 ; those who bring in the guests (vv. 3,4,6,8,10) are douloi; those who carry out the king's sentence (v. 13) are diakonoi.

Note: As to synonymous terms, leitourgos denotes "one who performs public duties;" misthios and misthotos, "a hired servant;" oiketes, "a household servant;" huperetes, "a subordinate official waiting on his superior" (originally an under-rower in a war-galley); therapon, "one whose service is that of freedom and dignity." See MINISTER , SERVANT.

The so-called "seven deacons" in Acts 6 are not there mentioned by that name, though the kind of service in which they were engaged was of the character of that committed to such.


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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Deacon'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ved/d/deacon.html. 1940.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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