one who serves, as distinguished from the master.
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but MINISTERS by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. ( 1 Corinthians 1:1 Psalm 3:5-6 )
This term is used in the Authorized Version to describe various officials of a religious and civil character. Its meaning, as distinguished from servant, is a voluntary attendant on another. In the Old Testament it is applied (1) to an attendance upon a person of high rank, ( Exodus 24:13 ; Joshua 1:1 ; 2 Kings 4:43 ) (2) to the attaches of a royal court, ( 1 Kings 10:5 ; 2 Chronicles 22:8 ) comp. Psal 104:4 (3) to the priests and Levites. ( Ezra 8:17 ; Nehemiah 10:36 ; Isaiah 61:6 ; Ezekiel 44:11 ; Joel 1:9 Joel 1:13 ) One term in the New Testament betokens a subordinate public administrator, ( Romans 13:6 ; 15:16 ; Hebrews 8:2 ) one who performs certain gratuitous public services. A second term contains the idea of actual and personal attendance upon a superior, as in ( Luke 4:20 ) The ministers duty was to open and close the building, to produce and replace the books employed in the service, and generally to wait on the officiating priest or teacher. A third term, diakonos (from which comes our word deacon), is the one usually employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel: its application is twofold, --in a general sense to indicate ministers of any order, whether superior or inferior, and in a special sense to indicate an order of inferiors ministers. [DEACON] [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary