Ministry and Ministers in the New Testament

Who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6 ESV)

The term ministry today conjures thoughts of Christian organizations such as our ministry Patrick Oben Ministries Inc, or well-known ministers within the Body of Christ. However, the New Testament has more to say about ministry in this dispensation of grace.

In 2 Corinthians 3:6, Paul says God made them sufficient ministers of the New Testament. Additionally, he told his spiritual son Timothy to make full proof of his ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). Therefore, the New Testament describes ministers with ministries

The term ministry is translated from the Greek diakonia, which means a role or position of serving. Ministry, in God’s mind, is serving others: it is a role, not a title, organization, or position of authority. And the New Testament is specific on what (or rather Who) ministers serve others in their ministry: the Spirit. For instance, when we preach to someone and lead them to accept Jesus, we have just ministered to them and led them to receive God’s Spirit to become His child.

Ministry, in God’s mind, is serving others: it is a role, not a title, organization, or position of authority. Click To Tweet

Similar to ministry, the term ministers refer to those who serve others—serving the Spirit. It is a translation of the Greek diakonos, which means a person that renders service to others, a servant. Again, note the keyword servant. In the example of conversion above, the believer who preaches to a sinner is a minister; one God has graced to bring people to receive the Spirit or come under His influence.

God fulfills His purposes through ministers and ministries.


What is your ministry?

Apply the Word

It is crucial that we do not allow our Christian, especially charismatic culture, to blur God’s idea of ministry in the New Testament. As Paul said to Archippus, so I say to you  “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:17 ESV)


Ask the Spirit to help you understand the ministry He has given you.

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