How does an elder

How does an elder’s role differ from a deacon’s?

Deacons are servants who have a particular work to do. The assignment of the work is often evident in the use of the word (Ephesians 3:7, 6:21; Colossians 1:23, 25, 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Timothy 4:6). The deacons in 1 Timothy 3: are responsible to hold the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience (v 9). They are to be faithful with the truth that God has revealed. While the elders care for the flock and hold "fast the faithful word" to both comfort the believers and protect them from those who contradict the truth (Titus 1:9), deacons have a more general responsibility to "the faith." They serve in communicating God’s Word. The assembly looks to them for spiritual service with preaching the gospel, teaching the saints, working with children and young people, and various related responsibilities. Elders, because they are "apt to teach" (1 Timothy 3:2), may also serve as deacons, but deacons are not necessarily elders.

Wise elders will encourage as many as possible who have the ability (or even the potential of ability) and qualifications (vv 8-13) to serve in deacon work. This is not an official position or a title to claim. It denotes a responsibility entrusted by the assembly’s guides. Elders make a mistake when they limit deacon work to themselves, even if it seems easier or others seem hesitant to accept deacon work or the elders have greater ability than others.

D. Oliver