What is a deaconess?
I would like to know what a deaconess is and what it means to become a deaconess in the church. Can you help with this? Thank you in advance.
In Romans 16:1 Phebe is referred to as a “servant” in the King James Version. The word translated “servant” is in some translated “deaconess” and that translation is noted in the margins of others. The Greek word is the feminine form of the word translated “deacon.” It is common to consider Phebe as a deaconess. There is no doubt that Phebe performed distinguished service for the saints at Cenchreae as evidenced by Paul’s commendation. But there is no reason to perform the service of or as one who held the office of a deacon. For one thing, she could not meet the qualifications. 1 Tim. 3:8-13. Though the word is the same translated deacon, it is also used to indicate a person performing any kind of service. Given the service that she performed for the church, she was a servant of the church. There is neither need nor warrant to suppose that she occupied an official office in the church. She undoubtedly served in an area where her abilities and gracious spirit were needed. There is no more reason to suppose that she was a “deaconess” than were the widows who, prior to their receiving support from the church, must have exhibited the qualities mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:9-10.