Written by John Fesko
Often in the study of Scriptures we come to concepts and doctrines that
many in the church believe arise de novo in the New Testament (NT).
One such teaching concerns the office of deacon. Many read the book of
Acts and see that deacons are for the first time appointed in chapter 6
and then of course they see Paul giving the qualifications for deacons
in 1 Tim 3.8-13. The assumption is that the office of deacon never
existed prior to Acts chapter 6 and Paul’s explanation of the
qualifications for office is unique to the NT. Yet, as St. Augustine
once explained, what is revealed in the NT is hidden in the Old, and
what is hidden in the Old Testament (OT) is revealed in the New. If
Augustine’s little aphorism is true, then there is a case to be made
that we can find the office of deacon in the OT. Let us therefore turn
to the OT so that we can see where the office of deacon begins, see how
that office finds its fulfillment in Christ, and then, of course, see
how these things come to bear upon those who hold the office of deacon.