Christian Pilgrim


141. Minister

This is not a man in charge, with “leadership skills,” who speaks ex cathedra from the pulpit and whom you are not allowed to question.

In the following verses it is the Greek word diakonos, which means “servant.” It is generally distinguished in the Authorised Version of the Bible from the word “servant” which is the Greek word doulos, meaning “slave.” So diakonos implies a voluntary servitude. A far cry from those men who fancy themselves in the pulpit and love to have a following:

Matthew 20:26-28 – “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mark 10:43 – “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Romans 13:4 – “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. The civil magisrate is here called a “minister.”

Romans 15:8 – “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers Christ is here called a “minister” i.e. servant.

Galatians 2:17 – “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

Ephesians 3:7 – “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Ephesians 6:21 – “But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things.”

Colossians 1:7 – “As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.”

Colossians 1:23 – “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.”

Colossians 1:25 – “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.”

Colossians 4:7 – “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 3:2 – “And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith.”

1 Timothy 4:6 – “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

Hebrews 1:14 – “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Note the word “ministering," which is the word leitourgos, “public servant”, see below.

Hebrews 6:10 – “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. The verb is diakoneo, see below.

Verb diakoneo:

Matthew 25:44 – “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Romans 15:25 – “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.”

1 Peter 1:12 – “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

1 Peter 4:10,11 – “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The following verses use the word uphreths, which means “subordinate.” i.e. not a leadership position at all, but the position of an assistant:

Luke 4:20 – “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.”

Acts 13:5 – “And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Acts 26:16 – “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.”

Verb uphreteo:

Acts 24:23 – “And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.

The following verses have the word leitourgos, meaning “public servant”:

Romans 15:16 – “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Note the word “ministering” is the verb uphreteo, as above.

Hebrews 8:2 – “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Verb leitourgeo:

Romans 15:27 – “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”

The following verses are irrelevant, but have been translated “minister” in the Authorised Version of the Bible:

ergazomai, meaning "to toil or labour":

1 Corinthians 9:13 – “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Equivalent to “waiting” cf. a waiter.

epicorhgeo, meaning "to supply":

2 Corinthians 9:10 – “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness

didomi, meaning "to bring forth":

Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

pareco, meaning "to present occasion":

1 Timothy 1:4 – “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.