Servant of the Church
By Scarlett Stough
To prepare for this study, please read
the Women in Christ commentary Our Sister
I. The Example of Our Sister Phoebe.
1. Romans 16:1-2 Who was Phoebe and why did Paul commend her to the church in Rome?
[Editor’s Note: For a better understanding of Phoebe’s role in the church in Cenchreae, see references in the commentary, Our Sister Phoebe. When reading commentaries, consider whether the comments are verifiable facts, educated guesses, or the commentators’ opinions.2. What qualities of character do you think Phoebe must have had to be worthy of Paul’s commendation and trust?
3. Describe how these same character traits are important for any Christian.
II. The Greatest Among You
[Editor’s Note: In the following verses, the word servant and related words such as serve or serves are translated from the Greek “diakonos” or a related Greek word.]
1. Matthew 20:25-28; Mark 9:33-37; Mark 10:41-45 Who is great in the eyes of Jesus? What was the example Jesus set for us?
2. Matthew 23:11-12 What is the chief characteristic of someone who is “diakonos?”
3. Ephesians 3:7-8; Colossians 1:23-26; I Corinthians 3:5-11 How did Paul describe himself?
4. Ephesians 6:21-22 Do you see any similarity between the task Tychicus carried out for Paul and the one Phoebe did? Any differences?
5. II Corinthians 6:3-10 What did Paul list as his credentials and the credentials of others who were “diakonos?” [Note that the word “ministry” (deakonia) in verse 3 (NIV) is closely related to “diakonos.”]
6. I Timothy 3:8-13 What are the qualifications of “diakonos?” [New International Version Study Bible note for I Timothy 3:11: “’their wives‘. The Greek for this phrase simply means ‘the women‘ and therefore could refer to (1.) deacons‘ wives, (2) deaconesses (see NIV text note: ‘way, deaconesses‘) or (3) female deacons. However, the fact that deacons are referred to again in vv. 12-13 seems to rule out a separate office of deaconess, but many judge otherwise.”]
III. To Serve Others.
1. I Peter 4:8-11; Colossians 3:22-24; Romans 12:6-7; I Timothy 3:10; Acts 6:1-6 Do you think the work of “diakonos” is only for a select few? Explain and defend your answer with scripture.
2. Galatians 5:13-15; Ephesians 6:5-9 Besides humility, what spiritual characteristic is essential to serving others?
3. John 12:23-26 Rephrase this passage
in your own words. In what way (s) can a Christian “diakonos” obey these
words of Jesus? How can you?