To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Women Workers.

It seems to be an increasing phenomenon that churches have deacons who are ladies and “women workers”. I just want to consider this issue.

The initial thing to consider is whether or not there should be women deacons in a church. The key passage here is 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and in particular v11.  In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. The word women here can also be rendered “wives”; the context determines which it is to be. If it is taken as wives then it is very curious that no mention is made of the elders wives in vv 1-7 where the qualifications of elders are stated. Accordingly, it is best to take it as meaning “women”

So if there are women then are they to be recognised as deacons? It is clear from v12 that the deacon is a male, after all he has to be married to a woman. So the women described in v11 cannot be deacons.

However, their description is stated within the passage giving the qualifications for deacons and so it seems that their ministry is closely connected to that of deacons, but they are not deacons. The use of the term “in like manner” indicates that they are a different, but similar, category to the deacons.

So to refer to “the women” simply as that would not be untoward. But the terms “women deacons”, “women servants” or “women workers” all seem to be appropriate designations. The mentioning of Phoebe in Romans 16:1 as the “diakonos” of the church in  Cenchreae would refer to a woman of this ilk.

So what would their ministry be? It would be the like that of the deacons, but probably with an emphasis on those ministries to other women which would be more appropriate for them to undertake.

 

Comments on: "Women Workers." (2)

  1. So was Paul wrong to refer to her as a deacon then, in Rom 16:1?

  2. Hi Dave, In Romans 16:1 I would take the word deacon in the general sense of servant. In 1 Timothy 3 it is a formal sense. In 1 Timothy 3 the scripture teaches about men formally appointed to the role. Romans16:1 the emphasis is on the general characteristic of Phoebe’s life.

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