Servants (Deacons and Fellow Slaves)

In the church, there is a distinct difference between two types of servants…

1) Those who are designated to fulfill leadership requirements of church function (which the elders are not designated to fulfill) and…

2) Those who are servants of Christ.

In other words, in the Greek, there can be a distinct difference between what a…

1) deacon (diakonos) is, and what a…

2) fellow slave (syndoulos) is.

I say “can be” because there are times when they do suggest the same thing. I added the Greek in parenthesis…

Matthew 20:26-27 (HCSB)
“It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant (diakonos), and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave (doulos)…”

However, in many cases, they are not synonymous…

An important thing to keep in mind is that everyone who is of the body of Christ, every member of the church (despite the role one might play in their congregation… an elder, a deacon, or a layperson), is a fellow slave (syndoulos) to Christ. In other words, even though not all of us are called to be deacons, all of us are called to be servants.

This verse, which Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Colossae, helps to bring out what I’m getting at…

Colossians 4:7 (HCSB)
“Tychicus, our dearly loved brother, faithful servant, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.”

In this example…

servant = (diakonos)

fellow slave = (syndoulos)

Regarding servanthood here, Paul is not being redundant. He is simply pointing out that Tychicus, a fellow slave, is also someone who has a role in a leadership capacity under Paul. Therefore, Tychicus can be trusted with the news that he brings to them.

Some Bible versions do say it differently though, such as in the King James Version. In this version, it renders diakonos as minister, and syndoulos as fellowservant

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

This translation, for example, is more helpful because the terms here are obviously different, which helps us to gain a better grasp of what is actually being emphasized. Either a specific label, for a specific role, for specifically appointed members in the church to act out, or a general label for all church members to act out.

The point is…

Regardless of who has or who hasn’t been appointed as a deacon, we (Christians) are all fellow slaves to Christ, and our walks ought to bear this out clearly within our congregation. In other words, we are all servants, therefore we all should be looking for things to do, so that the local church can run smoothly and joyfully…

Hebrews 13:17 (HCSB)
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

Are you interested in a brief and scripturally sound “Daily Dose” of the Bible to encourage you every day? Then click here to visit theidolbabbler’s The Daily Dose.

To read more from theidolbabbler click here.

  1. John the Baptist 3 years ago

    You rock idolbabbssss!

  2. Author 3 years ago

    Hey, thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Edith 3 years ago

    I like the point you made that we shouldn’t leave all the work in the body of Christ to ordained workers because we are all slaves of Christ. Thanks for sharing.

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