What does the New Testament teach that a deacon is?

What does the New Testament teach that a deacon is?

Among a number of New Testament words that describe servants, deacon emphasizes the servant’s personal responsibility to serve. In Luke 17:7-10 the Lord speaks of a bondservant instructed to prepare his lord’s food and to serve him as a deacon. He is both a bondservant (verse 7) and deacon (verse 8), the one emphasizing his lowly place and the other his personal responsibility to serve food to his lord. Rulers are ministers (deacons) of God (Romans 13:6) in that they have a responsibility entrusted to them. This thought seems to be consistent in New Testament usage.

New Testament deacons serve in at least three spheres. Rulers are deacons, responsible before God for service in the secular sphere. Phebe (Romans 16:1) and the seven who took care of feeding the widows (Acts 6:1-6) offered charitable and profitable service in a Christian sphere. Some individuals had a responsibility to serve others with divine truth in a spiritual sphere (2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; Ephesians 6:21; Philippians 1:1). This latter group is the subject of 1 Timothy 3:8-13. They had a responsibility for "the mystery of the faith" (verse 9). Someone in an assembly (or maybe someone who is not even saved) may have the responsibility for cutting the grass outside the building where the believers meet. He could be called a deacon, but that is not the deacon service addressed in 1 Timothy 3.

Deacons did not have an office or official status, but they had a defined spiritual work for which they were responsible.

D. Oliver