These studies do not tell you what the Bible says. The scriptures given direct you to specific topics. The questions are intended to help you focus on the study. No answers are given. You have to read and search the scriptures for the answers. We encourage you to use Bible helps such as concordances and commentaries. However, scholars and theologians often disagree on interpretation and application. The best study help comes from God. Pray. Allow yourself to be honest with your reactions, but don't jump to conclusions. It takes time to read and meditate on all the Bible says on various topics. Feel free to ask questions in your prayers. You will be amazed to discover that God does answer the sincere seeker. You will also be surprised that the Bible may not say what you might think it does on many subjects. Keep a notebook. A loose leaf one would make it possible to add thoughts and additional information as you learn more about different subjects. Welcome to an exciting search.

Print out version.  (This is 4 pages long, without the introduction and with space for answering questions.)


Bible Study Guide: 

Servant of the Church

By Scarlett Stough

To prepare for this study, please read the Women in Christ commentary Our Sister Phoebe.

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.

If you desire, find Cenchreae on a Bible map and notice its location compared to Rome.

Many commentators believe that Phoebe carried Paul’s letter (Romans) to the church in Rome.]

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?