1247 DIAKONEO (37): to attend to, serve, provide a service. Nothing more! The kind of service performed, for or upon whom, whether voluntary, or whether physical or spiritual, is not included in the meaning of diakoneo, but can often be found in the context. Diakoneo is sometimes translated "minister," "administer" or "use the office." But these words may give a false impression that the people performing such functions are part of an ecclesiastical staff or clergy; which concept is foreign to the meaning in the text. Thus diakoneo should always be translated as a form of "to serve," to preclude such misconceptions. In Rom.15.25-27, diakoneo (to serve) saints by giving material things is contrasted to "sharing in spiritual things" (v.27), and is also contrasted to "serving (3008 leitourgeo) in fleshly things". Comp. "service" (1248 diakonia) and "servant" (1249 diakonos). Comp. "to slave" (1398 douleo), the meaning of which includes serving a lord or slavemaster.
1248 DIAKONIA (34): a serving, service, ministry, the work of a servant (cf. Eph.4.12). The service can be in either physical matters (Act.6.1), spiritual matters (Act.6.4), or can consist of material things (Act.11.29). The kind of service, for whom, or to whom is not included in the meaning, but can often be found in the context. In current English, "ministering" or "ministry" can mean something different than "service", and hence should not be used to translate diakonia. Diakonia is used in context with "an attending" (3009 leitourgia) in 2Co.9.12, and with "attending" (3010 leitourgikos) in Heb.1.14, where diakonia refers to angels providing a beneficial service to Christians.
1249 DIAKONOS (29): one who serves or provides a service. The kind of service, who is served, whether voluntary, or whether physical or spiritual, is not included in the meaning of diakonos but can often be found in the context. Sometimes transliterated "deacon" or translated "minister," implying an office within a religious organization or for "group of called-ones," but only "servant" is meant. If a male servant is called a "deacon," then a female servant such as Phoebe in Rom.16.1 should be called a deaconess. Depending upon the context, a servant can serve a household (Mt.22.13; Jn.2.5,9); civil government (Rom.13.4,4); God, Christ, the good news (Rom.15.8; 1Co.3.5; 2Co.3.6; 6.4; Eph.3.7; 6.21; Col.1.7,23,25; 4.7; 1Ti.4.6); other Christians (Rom.16.1; Php.1.1; 1Ti.3.8,12); or the context may give instructions to those who would be God's servants (Mt.20.26-27; 23.11-12; Mk.9.35; 10.43-44; Jn.12.26); or the context may describe false servants (2Co.11.15,15,23; Gal.2.17). In 1Co.4.7 being a servant in the Lord is compared to being a fellow-slave in the Lord. Comp. "slave" (1401 doulos).
Back to word index