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Are there female deacons?

Submitted: 11/12/2012
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Question: In Romans16:1, Paul uses the greek word DIAKONOS (strongs1249), which is translated as deacon or minister everywhere else is the Bible. Why do you think it was translated (by the KJV) as servent only once, to describe Phoebe and was she a deacon?

Answer: We are not in a position to say why the King James translators did what they did. We can say that in the New King James Version, the word 'diakonos' is translated servant on several occasions. The reason for this is that this word can be used generically to refer to anyone who serves in the kingdom of God. In this sense, God expects all of us to be servants (diakonos). The same word can also be used in a specific sense to identify a person serving in an appointed place of service within a local assembly. This is probably why it is anglicized rather than translated in Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13. In these passages diakonos is not referring to every servant in the assembly, but only to those who have qualified and been appointed to a specific place of service. When used in this way, the word diakonos only pretains to men.

Phoebe was undoubtedly known for her dedicated service to many of the believers, but she was not appointed to serve as a deacon, since according to Paul, deacons must be 'the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well' (1 Timothy 3:12). This necessarily limits the appointments to men.