What is the New Testament definition of “elder” and “deacon,” and what are the biblical requirements for each office?

Your friend Mary wants to be involved in ministry at her church. Before she commits, she has a few questions about the role of women in the church in light of the debate between egalitarianism and complementarianism.

Keeping this scenario in mind, answer the following questions in your essay:

  • What is the New Testament definition of “elder” and “deacon,” and what are the biblical requirements for each office?
  • Can a woman be an elder or a deacon? Support your rationale with proper interpretation (and not merely quotations) of the relevant texts, including Gal. 3:28, 1 Tim. 2:11–15 and 3:2, 1 Cor. 14:34–35, and Rom. 16:1 and 16:7.
  • How does your interpretation of these passages differ from those who hold to a different view? Interact with the arguments and exegeses from those who disagree with your view.
  • If limitations on women in the church exist, do they also apply to life outside the church (e.g., in the workplace)?
  • What contributions, if any, can a woman make to theology, leadership, and management in the local church?
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