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DiakoniaRe-Interpreting the Ancient Sources$
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John N Collins

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396027

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396027.001.0001

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Commissions under God, Church, and Spirit

Commissions under God, Church, and Spirit

(p.227) 12. Commissions under God, Church, and Spirit

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

Christian literature has so far furnished no indication that Christians created a terminology for “diakonia” based on the cognates under study. One phrase in the prescript to Paul's letter to the Philippians is translated in many ways, from “the bishops and deacons” to “church leaders and helpers”. Whether or not Paul introduced the title in the prescript of the Philippians as an honorific designation or takes up from the Philippians a title for officers of the “overseers” within their Hellenistic community, there is no doubt that in I Tim. 3 we meet such officers who with some certainty we can call “deacons”. To delineate the role of the deacon in Ignatius accurately it is necessary, as in the Pastoral epistles, to distinguish usage in respect of deacons from occasional other usage denoting the bishop's godly commission as head of the church or signifying that certain individuals, whether deacons or other members of the community, are godly representatives of one church to another on a godly mission.

Keywords:   Paul, Philippians, Ignatius, diakonia, bishops, deacons, church leaders, overseers

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