Bible Question:

Can an elder also be a deacon? Should the elder board only be responsible for the financial aspect of the church? When the pastor and the elders govern a body of members and they are provided no accountability, who governs them? If women are not to preach or teach in the church, will those that do go to hell?

Bible Answer:

The roles of elders and deacons are different. The elders have the responsibility for the spiritual oversight of the church. This includes teaching, doctrine, the various ministries of the church, general church policy, how the monies are spent, and establishment of the church’s direction, church discipline, and prayer. The deacons have no authority except for what the elders give them. In some churches, elders and deacons are given authority in a check and balance system. But this is not biblical. How many times have elders attempted to lead the congregation in a spiritual direction only to have a board of deacons frustrate their wishes because they are concerned about money, property, or some other issue? This is not biblical. The following scripture makes it clear that the elders are to have the sole responsibility for the church in every sense,

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (NASB) 1 Tim. 5:17

Scripture gives all the authority to the elders. The deacons have none. Deacons are mentioned only two times in scripture (Phil. 1:1 and 1 Tim. 3:9-12). In both passages, the deacons are not assigned any responsibility. Why? They are to function in a support role to the elders and not as a means of accountability (Acts 6:1-4).

However, the issue of accountability is real and very important. Unfortunately, God’s safeguard is ignored when spiritually unqualified men are chosen as elders. This occurs when God’s marks of spiritual maturity are ignored 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1. Excuses are often made as to why unqualified men should be selected and as a result the church eventually suffers. Since deacons are assistants to elders, it does not seem logical that a man serving as an elder would also hold office as a deacon at the same time. Many elders first serve as deacons and then later become elders. Please visit God’s Design For The Church, Marks of Spiritual Maturity, and Recovering the Pattern of Biblical Leadership for in depth teaching regarding church leadership.

The scriptures direct that women teachers cannot teach men (1 Tim 2:12). Otherwise, they can teach women and children. Will women go to hell if they violate God’s direction? The answer is no. One’s eternal destiny is determined by one criteria – whether or not an individual accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Please see Searching For God for an explanation of God’s plan of salvation. For in-depth teaching on the role of women in the church see Role of Women In The Church.

Related Links:

Searching For God
God’s Great Passion
Recovering the Pattern of Biblical Leadership
God’s Design For The Church
Role of Women In The Church