Given our recent discussions on my blog (specifically my post “Ministers in Scripture“), I thought my readers might be interested in Felicity’s post as well.
She begins with this:
The problem with words is that they change in meaning over the years. I would love for the word,”church,” to never be used because the word itself conjures up a building with a spire, or a denomination, or a meeting. But the word is Scriptural, and we can learn to use it rightly.
The same is true with words like elders and deacons. The words are Scriptural, but their meaning has become obscured by centuries of tradition.
The word for elder, “presbuteros” literally means an older person, someone who is more mature. He keeps an eye on (oversees) what is going on in the churches. The word for deacon, “diakonos” means servant.
In the remainder of the post, Felicity suggests that “elders” and “deacons” had more of a regional or city-wide function in Scripture. There are some indications that she is correct; but, of course, the church had a regional or city-wide identity in Scripture as well.
What do you think?
(By the way, does anyone know where I got the title of this post? I’m not looking for a specific Scripture reference.)