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BEN: You begin your book by properly introducing us to Phoebe the deacon. I find your presentation right on target, but if you are correct, then an awful lot of the readers, modern and ancient of what the Pastoral Epistles say about deacons simply being males, husbands of one wife etc., must surely be wrong, at least in terms of exclusivity. Explain why you think diakonos has a technical and religious sense in Rom. 16, and how would you reconcile that with what 1 Tim. 2-3 has often been thought to insist on in terms of males and ministry.
SCOT: Ben, you are an expert on all things about women in the 1st Century so I will seek to answer it as I see it. You may well want to add more. First, the terms used for Phoebe are “sister” and “deacon” and “benefactor” (NIV 2011) … these strike me as reasonably known terms for specifics: siblings in Christ, patron of the Pauline mission, and then we get to deacon. The term can be general (servant, serving, etc) or it could be more specific,...
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