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8 The Bishop and his Deacons. Ignatius of Antioch’s View on Ministry: Two-fold or Three-fold?

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Chapter Summary

While in the early Church of the first centuries there are several texts where a two-fold ministry seems to be the case, it is the martyr Ignatius of Antioch who is adduced as providing the first instance of the three-fold structure of ministry. In this article it is argued that the epistles of Ignatius witness to the two-fold model—also found in the New Testament, Hermas, 1 Clement and the Didache—rather than to the three-fold ministry of later tradition. Some attention is also paid to the Pauline background of Ignatius’ speaking about ministry and to the specific tasks of deacons.



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