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Philippians 1:1(d): The Overseers and Deacons


Philippians 1:1
[1] Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: (ESV)

The final part of this verse mentions the overseers and deacons. Why does Paul mention them separately? Certainly they are included in the category, "all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi." Paul will be giving admonitions in this letter that will require the leadership of the church at Philippi to put them into action.

So, who are overseers and deacons? Here is a good summary from www.differencebetween.net:

Elders are the overseers of the church. The term “elder” is related to the Greek word “episkopos” which refers to the office of the bishop and the person holding this office. They are tasked with supporting, encouraging, and guiding the lower office of the deacons.

Deacons are responsible for assisting the pastor by feeding the less fortunate, taking charge of the church building, distributing goods, and even in helping deal with widows. Their presence gives time for the pastor to do other activities like prayer and fasting. The latter were the ones who appointed new deacons for the church at large. Deacons are the servants of the church. They have been called forth for spiritual service.

It is important that these wonderful leaders of the church be godly. There have been good people who debate whether or not women can be elders or deacons. The larger point is that they need to be godly in their character. The direction of a church is hinged upon the actions of its leaders. Paul writes to the elders and deacons. Their listening to his words was vital.

"A church is only as godly as its leaders. A pastor once said to me, "I think I've discovered why my church is not as effective as I want it to be: half of the men on my elder board are unsaved!" That may seem like an extreme example, but many churches fail to uphold the biblical standard for spiritual leadership. Such failures always impact the quality and integrity of a church's ministry."
- Dr. John MacArthur, www.gty.org

Pray for your leaders in your local church. Pray that they will follow God and not man. Pray that they will stand strong in the face of moral temptation. They are valuable to you in the church.


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