In 1 Timothy 3 the scripture talks about the standard of appointing a man as deacon. Appointing women as deaconesses was not mentioned in the scripture. Why? Is it a matter of opinion on our part to appoint women as "deaconesses"? — Shadrach (Ilorin, Nigeria)

A valid question. Students of church history know that by the 3rd century the office of deaconess had developed. But what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the first century church?

Many churches do not recognize an official position of "deaconess." Yet a passage supporting the deaconess concept is Romans 16:1, where Phoebe is said to be a deaconess/servant/minister of the church at Cenchrea. This is no different than the word for minister/deacon/servant in Phil 1:1. For more, please see the N.T. Character Podcast on Phoebe.