On Women Deacons

The issue of whether women can serve as deacons is hot topic amongst folks. Andreas Kostenberger gives his thoughts and argument for women serving the church as deacons as seen in 1Tim 3.11.

Here is why he says “women deacons” is more likely:
        •        The absence of qualifications for overseers’ wives: why would Paul give qualifications for deacons’ wives but not for overseers’ wives?
        •        the phrase “in the same way” in 1 Tim. 3:11 most likely indicates a transition from one office to another, as it does in 1 Tim. 3:8 (from elders to deacons);
        •        the parallel sentence structure and similar characteristics in vv. 8 and 11 (including the lack of article before “women”) also suggest two distinct but related offices;
        •        the absence of qualifiers such as “their” in the Greek: note that “their” is added, e.g., in the NIV, suggesting that the translators felt this is needed in English.

Since being a deacon does not involve teaching or ruling, women as well as men are eligible to serve in this capacity…Many conservative churches are hesitant to appoint women deacons because deacons often have a governing role. They fear that having women deacons may suggest theological liberalism, since Scripture does not permit women to serve in governing positions (see esp. 1 Tim. 2:12; 5:17). However, the problem here is not women deacons but the unbiblical understanding of the role of deacon.

Comments 2

  1. Is that last paragraph yours or Kostenberger’s, Matt?

    Regardless, it’s dead on. Women deacons were an undeniable fact in the early church, well into the time of the church fathers. Most of the roles held by them had to do with what we would call “women’s ministry” today.

    To translate διάκονος as “deacon” when referring to men, and “servant” when referring to women (Rom 16:1) is not only silly but historically dishonest.

    I believe that our churches today could greatly benefit from such roles today. There are some elements of ministry that are really not proper for a male pastor to perform with a woman. But mature women, in the servant role of a deacon, could minister to women’s needs in ways that a pastor never could.

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