Phoebe in the Bible: The Faithful Deaconess

By lan Warner


Name: Phoebe
Book in The Bible: 
Romans 16
Audience of Book:
Church in Rome that is Mostly Gentile with some Jews
Date of Book:
Around 57 AD
Author of Book:
Paul
Book is Between: Acts and 1 Corinthians 
Associated With:
Paul
Role in God's Story: 
She was a deacon who was entrusted by Paul to deliver the letter to the Romans. She is the only person named as a deacon in the Bible.


Introduction to Phoebe

Phoebe is only briefly mentioned in Romans chapter 16: 1-2. The chapter is the last of the Book of Romans.

Even though she is only mentioned briefly, there is still some importance to her name and what makes her worthwhile to know. 

The first thing about Phoebe worth noting is that in some versions of the Bible, she is the only person referred to as a Deacon. In the ESV it calls her a servant but in the NIV for example it says Deacon. In 1 Timothy 3: 8 - 13 it talks about the qualifications of a deacon. Understanding this will speak to the character of Phoebe. 

Qualifications of a Deacon 

  • Dignified 
  • Not double-tongued 
  • Not addicted to alcohol 
  • Not greedy
  • Hold to the faith well
  • Must have been tested 
  • Blameless 

The second thing he lays out about Phoebe is that she has been a benefactor or a patron, meaning she has supported the church. It paints a clear picture that Phoebe is a servant of Jesus Christ ready to give her time, talents, and money to serving the Kingdom of God. 

Important Bible Verses With Phoebe

Romans 16:1-2

"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me."

What You Can Learn From Phoebe

Positives

  • Give your time, talents and money to God
  • She was a Deacon
  • Spread the Word of God

Negatives

  • None listed 

How Phoebe Points to Christ

Phoebe points to Jesus in such a glorious way and it only took two quick verses to see this. Phoebe is following Jesus Christ. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you see what Jesus did from birth until death.

He came to spread the good news and tell people that he was the son of God. He lived a life of perfection meaning he did everything a deacon should do and more.

Lastly, he did not just give his time, talents or money but he gave his life up for the church. In two short verses, Paul tells the church her credentials, it's clear that she was chasing the example Christ set.

lan Warner

Ian Warner is a believer, husband, and father of three. He grew up running track in Toronto before earning a scholarship to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he became an All-American and made the 2012 Olympic team. He currently helps people to build better habits and follow Jesus Christ.

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