3 Characteristics of Deacons
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists[a] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers,[b] pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
There is slight controversy, on if this is actually the passage that deacons first show up in this text. Specifically, because the word deacon is not used. However, this argument holds little weight because when we look at the roles of the people here and the roles that are laid out for deacons in 1st Timothy they are synonymous.
1. People With Good Reputation
- Same character qualifications as an elder. (read here on elders)
2. The Position of Deacon is open to Men and Women.
- Romans 16:1, we see Pheobe taking the role as a deacon.
- Since the role of deacons is serving and not teaching, the role is open to women. It is good for women to be deacon’s because there are some jobs in serving that men just cannot fulfill.
3. Deacons are not “Little Elders”
- Deacons and Elders are two different offices within a church, both playing leadership roles just in different ways.