Biblical Ministries for Women

Also Philip had "four prophesying virgin daughters" or thugateres tessares parthenoi prophteuousai, in Acts 21:9. But such giftednesses in themselves did not constitute their ordination to the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments. Nor were they ever ordainable to such an office.

On the other hand, nobody should ever be appointed to church office until he or she first reveals his or her personal possession and development of the requisite gifts. Husbands who wish they were wives, or male Elders who wish they were female Deaconesses, or female Deaconesses who try to function as if they were male Preachers, not only frustrate the Church in general and themselves in particular. They also inevitably end up neglecting or ignoring the very work they were actually called to execute. I Cor. 7:7-24.

10.Biblical job description of a Deaconess's callng

Together with the great Presbyterian John Calvin, we believe that — quite distinct from the office of male Deacon (cf. Acts 6:1-8 & Phil. 1:1 & I Tim. 3:8-10 & 3:1213) — there is also the Biblical office of female Deaconess. Rom. 16:1-2 & I Tim. 3:11 & 5:9-10 cf. Acts 9:36-41.

Scripture states that this job of female Deaconess centrally involves:

(a) general assistance in congregational affairs as diakonon tees ekkleesias, cf. Rom. 16:1;

(b) succouring many in need as prostatis polloon, cf. Rom. 16:2;

(c) providing comprehensive help en pasin, I Tim. 3:11;

(d) collaboration in promoting the gospel en tooj euangeliooi suneethlee, Phil, 4:5;

(e) teaching young women to be good homemakers, Tit. 2:3-5 cf. I Tim 5:9-14;

(f) caring especially for needy widows and orphans, I Tim. 5:4-10;

(g) performing a ministry of constant prayer, I Tim, 5:5;

(h) combatting frivolity, gossip, insobriety and unfaithfulness, I Tim. 5:11 cf. 5:4-16; and


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(i) performing good works, I Tim. 5:5,10 cf.. W.C.F. 16:1-2 & 19:1-2 (such as washing or dressing ill persons or even dead bodies, or providing shelter for needy believers such as strangers and widows and orphans etc.).

Regarding such a Deaconess: "She does not function in the office of Preacher; she plays no role in the Eldership; but she is chosen to the office of Deaconess (I Tim. 5:9)." Thus the famous Dutch Presbyterian theologian, Rev. Prof. Dr. Abraham Kuyper Sr.6 His eminent colleague Rev. Prof. Dr. Herman Bavinck Sr.7 is even more specific about "what Paul says in I Tim. 5:9-10. While also recommending that first the family members (v. 4) and then the members of the congregation (v. 16) care for the poor widows, in vv. 9-10 he mentions the election of a widow at least sixty* years old who had been the wife of one husband.

"Many demands were made of such a widow. She must have a reputation for good works — if she had children, she must have finished raising them and educating them; she must have been hospitable ('having washed the feet of strangers'); she must also have helped the afflicted; and she must have been diligent in every good work."

Why indeed a minimum of specifically sixty* years old? Perhaps this was also because of one's average life-expectancy. As it were: 'six decades you shall labour and do all your work; but in the seventh decade you shall sabbath from your labours in the twilight of your life expectancy!' Cf. Ex. 20:8-11; Lev. 25:2-10; Ps. 90:3-10. See too sections 5 to 7 above.

"From these verses [I Tim. 5:9-10], continues Bavinck, "it is to be concluded that this widow was called to a special ministry within the congregation — and was probably required to visit the poor and the sick and those in jail as well as to educate orphans and to give advice and direction to younger women. For the contrast made in the following verses (11-16), commends this viewpoint….

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