The word "Ministry" is one of the most commonly used words in the churches today. We describe particular men and women as "ministers". We talk about people ministering and we refer to "the ministry".
Christian believers have different understanding of the words "ministry" and "minister". Some are refering to "full time preachers" and leaders of the Church. Others are using these words more widely,
It is important that we fully understand what the Bible means by the word "ministry".
1. WHAT IS MINISTRY?
There are three main groups of Greek words in the New Testament which are translated into english in the same way. Each group has a distinctive meaning.
a) Diakonos - Diakoneo - Diakonia
Diakonos is the greek word for an ordinary private house servant. The word was used to describe someone who swept their employer's floor, prepared food, served at the tables, washed dishes etc.
Diakonos is translated as "minister" in a lot of places in the New Testament. In some Bibles it is also tranlated as "attendant" or "deacon", but it always carries an association with a private house-servant.
"Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a minister to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers."
"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?"
(1. Corinthians 3:5)
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
(2. Corinthians 3:5-6)
"But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you."
"As you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf."
There are several verses in the New Testament using this term. It is interesting to observe that the Bible uses the same term about Jesus as it uses to describe us as ministers.
Diakoneo (to serve) is usually translated as "to minister". Again the greek word for cleaning the floor and preparing food is used. The word diakoneo speak about a humble attitude towards ourselves and our service and ministry.
"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to minister (serve) and to give His life a ransom for many."
"So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time."
"But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints."
"Clearly you re an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is of the heart."
(2. Corinthians 3:3)
Diakonia (serving) is the main New Testament word for "ministry". The story in Luke 10:38-42 (Marhta and Mary) illustrates its ordinary meaning of domestic duties. But it is commonly used to suggest spiritual service.
...To be continued.... Fortsettelse følger.....