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Diakonia StudiesCritical Issues in Ministry$
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John N. Collins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367573.001.0001

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The Diakonia of the Seven

The Diakonia of the Seven

(p.152) 10 The Diakonia of the Seven
Diakonia Studies

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

The rhetorical prominence of the term diakonia in the account of the neglected Hebrew widows and the subsequent appointment of the Seven (Acts 6:1–6) are factors that strongly influenced ancient authorities and modern scholars in recognizing the passage as an account of the institution of deacons. However, other ancient and modern commentators reject this view. The passage does not use the Greek term for “deacon” (diakonos) but does instance diakonia. While this term can designate the diaconate, it also has commoner uses, as “the ministry of the word,” for example. Elsewhere in Acts, diakonia designates preaching missions of the Twelve (1:17, 25) and of Paul (20:24; 21:19) and the delegation from Antioch to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29; 12:25). In Acts 6 the context is preaching (5:42). The passage presents the church’s first commissioning of additional ministers of the word. Thus Stephen (6:8ff) and Philip (8:4–6) were preachers, the latter being designated “the evangelist” (21:8).

Keywords:   diakonia, diakonos, deacon, ministry, mission, preaching, widows, commissioning

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