Monday, 11 November 2013
“…or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;” Romans 12:7
Adding to the list from Romans 12:6, two more designations of service are named in this verse. The first is ministry. The word translated as “ministry” is diakonia. This is the word from where we receive the title “deacon.” A deacon in the church fulfills an office of ministry and it is also a designation of that office. Unfortunately, the sense of being a deacon is often elevated to something other than its original intent which is humble service of any kind. Greek etymologists find the original meaning of “deacon” to be derived from the words “through the dust.”
In other words, the deacon is one who serves, and as he scurries about in his duties he kicks up the dust around him. But there is also the biblical connotation that man was made from the dust and so the deacon is the servant of all men. It then would be an office which resembles Christ as the Servant, going so far as to wash the dusty feet of His dust-made creatures. It is to be considered an office of humility and service, not authority and power. He is to be Christ’s courier of service to the people of the world and for the body of Christ.
However, the term as used in Romans 12:7, although aligning with this analysis, is probably intended more for the office of the ministry rather than the designation of that office. Stated differntly, it is not specifying a title, but speaking of the overall effects of ministering; that of service. Those who hold the gift of ministry, let them minister.
The second office is “teacher.” The Greek word didasko literally implies, to “cause to learn.” Hence it involves the instruction and imparting of knowledge and information so that others will grow though that instruction. In the New Testament, the word didasko is found in three separate noun forms, one verb, and in the form of two different adjectives which total over 200 uses. Of these, almost every instance is speaking of instruction in the Word of God. This then is certainly what Paul is referring to here – the right instruction for the proper application of Scripture.
Albert Barnes notes that “the churches in New England had, at first, a class of people who were called teachers. One was appointed to this office in every church, distinct from the pastor, whose proper business it was to instruct the congregation in the doctrines of religion.” This has continued in large part since that time, but it shows that the original believers who came to America had the intent not only of bringing their denominational faith with them, but also ensuring that the word was taught in the expectation that the faithful were not just blind adherents to the denomination, but were people who were expected to know why they believed what they believed. Those who hold the office of teacher, let them teach.
Life application: Are you gifted with the ability to minister to others? Then minister in a manner and form which is honoring to Christ. Have you been gifted as a teacher? If so, before you teach, read and take to heart James 3:1. Understand that your job is of the highest importance for the continued doctrine of those you teach. Being negligent in such a high calling will have negative effects beyond your own judgment, but can also lead others into sad avenues of confusion.
Glorious and wonderful Lord. I want to take time to today to thank You for those in my church who have been so faithful in their duties. Thank You for my pastor, my Bible teacher, those who minister, those who perform the administrations, and for those who clean and maintain the building. Thank You for those who reach out to the lost, and those who support the church with their money. Thank You for all of these and all the others who make my church a home. Amen.