Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words 
"a servant, attendant, minister, deacon," is translated "minister" in Mark 10:43; Romans 13:4 (twice); 15;8; 1—Corinthians 3:5; 2—Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; 11:15 (twice); 15:8; 2:17; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 1:7,23,25; 4:7; 1—Thessalonians 3:2; 1—Timothy 4:6 . See Deacon.
denoted among the Greeks, firstly, "one who discharges a public office at his own expense," then, in general, "a public servant, minister." In the NT it is used (a) of Christ, as a "Minister of the sanctuary" (in the Heavens), Hebrews 8:2; (b) of angels, Hebrews 1:7 ( Psalm 104:4 ); (c) of the Apostle Paul, in his evangelical ministry, fulfilling it as a serving-priest, Romans 15:16; that he used it figuratively and not in an ecclesiastical sense, is obvious from the context; (d) of Epaphroditus, as ministering to Paul's needs on behalf of the church at Philippi, Philippians 2:25; here, representative service is in view; (e) of earthly rulers, who though they do not all act consciously as servants of God, yet discharge functions which are the ordinance of God, Romans 13:6 .
properly "an under rower" (hupo, "under," eretes, "a rower"), as distinguished from nautes, "a seaman" (a meaning which lapsed from the word), hence came to denote "any subordinate acting under another's direction;" in Luke 4:20 , RV, "attendant," AV, "minister" it signifies the attendant at the synagogue service; in Acts 13:5 , it is said of John Mark, RV, "attendant," AV, "minister," in Acts 26:16 , "a minister," it is said of Paul as a servant of Christ in the Gospel; so in 1—Corinthians 4:1 , where the Apostle associates others with himself, as Apollos and Cephas, as "ministers of Christ." See Attend , C, Officer.
akin to A, No. 1, signifies "to be a servant, attendant, to serve, wait upon, minister." In the following it is translated "to minister," except where "to serve" is mentioned: it is used (a) with a general significance, e.g., Matthew 4:11; 20:28; Mark 1:13; 10:45; John 12:26 ("serve," twice); Acts 19:22; Philemon 1:13; (b) of waiting at table, "ministering" to the guests, Matthew 8:15; Luke 4:39; 8:3; 12:37; 17:8 , "serve;" Matthew 22:26 , "serve," Matthew 22:27 , "serveth," twice; the 2nd instance, concerning the Lord, may come under (a); so of women preparing food, etc., Mark 1:31; Luke 10:40 , "serve;" John 12:2 , "served;" (c) of relieving one's necessities, supplying the necessaries of life, Matthew 25:44; 27:55; Mark 15:41; Acts 6:2 , "serve;" Romans 15:25; Hebrews 6:10; more definitely in connection with such service in a local church, 1—Timothy 3:10,13 , [there is nothing in the original representing the word "office;" RV, "let them serve as deacons," "they that have served (well) as deacons"]; (d) of attending, in a more general way, to anything that may serve another's interests, as of the work of an amanuensis, 2—Corinthians 3:3 (metaphorical): of the conveyance of materials gifts of assisting the needy, 2—Corinthians 8:19,20 , RV, "is ministered" (AV, "is administered"); of a variety of forms of service, 2—Timothy 1:18; of the testimony of the OTs prophets, 1—Peter 1:12; of the ministry of believers one to another in various ways, 1—Peter 4:10,11 (not here of discharging ecclesiastical functions).
(akin to A, No. 2), in classical Greek, signified at Athens "to supply public offices at one's own cost, to render public service to the State;" hence, generally, "to do service," said, e.g., of service to the gods. In the NT (see Note below) it is used (a) of the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, who "ministered to the Lord," Acts 13:2; (b) of the duty of churches of the Gentiles to "minister" in "carnal things" to the poor Jewish saints at Jerusalem, in view of the fact that the former had "been made partakers" of the "spiritual things" of the latter, Romans 15:27; (c) of the official service of priests and Levites under the Law, Hebrews 10:11 (in the Sept., e.g., Exodus 29:30; Numbers 16:9 ).
Exodus 4:3 Deuteronomy 10:12 Hebrews 8:5 Revelation 22:3
"to do the service of a huperetes" (see A, No. 3), properly, "to serve as a rower on a ship," is used (a) of David, as serving the counsel of God in his own generation, Acts 13:36 , RV, expressive of the lowly character of his service for God; (b) of Paul's toil in working with his hands, and his readiness to avoid any pose of ecclesiastical superiority, Acts 20:34; (c) of the service permitted to Paul's friends to render to him, 24:23.
"to minister in priestly service" (akin to hierourgos, "a sacrificing priest," a word not found in the Sept. or NT: from hieros, "sacred," and ergon, "work"), is used by Paul metaphorically of his ministry of the Gospel, Romans 15:16; the offering connected with his priestly ministry is "the offering up of the Gentiles," i.e., the presentation by Gentile converts of themselves to God. The Apostle uses words proper to the priestly and Levitical ritual, to explain metaphorically his own priestly service. Cp. prosphora, "offering up," and leitourgos, in the same verse.
"to furnish, provide, supply," is translated "minister" in 1—Timothy 1:4 , of the effect of "fables and endless genealogies." See Bring , A, No. 21.
"to work, work out, perform," is translated "minister" in 1—Corinthians 9:13; the verb is frequently used of business, or employment, and here the phrase means "those employed in sacred things" or "those who are assiduous in priestly functions." See Commit , A, No. 1.
2—Corinthians 9:10 2—Corinthians 9:10 Galatians 3:5 Colossians 2:19 2—Peter 1:11 2—Peter 1:5Supply. Ephesians 4:29
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
Minister The word ‘minister’ comes from the Lat. minister = ‘ servant ,’ and generally it may be said that wherever it is found in the Bible, whether in OT or in NT, its original meaning is its primary one, service being the idea it is specially meant to convey.
1. In OT it is used (corresponding to the same Heb. word in each case) of Joshua as the personal attendant of Moses ( Exodus 24:13 , Joshua 1:1 ), of the servants in the court of Solomon ( 1 Kings 10:5 ), of angels and the elemental forces of nature as the messengers and agents of the Divine will ( Psalms 103:21; Psalms 104:4; cf. Hebrews 1:7; Hebrews 1:14 ), but, above all, of the priests and Levites as the servants of Jehovah in Tabernacle and Temple ( Exodus 28:35 , 1 Kings 8:11 , Ezra 8:17 , and constantly). The secular uses of the Heb. word, standing side by side with the sacred, show that it was not in itself a priestly term. Ministry was not necessarily a priestly thing, though priesthood was one form of ministry.
2. In NT several Gr. words are tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘minister,’ three of which call for notice. (1) hypÃ§retÃ§s is found in Luke 1:2; Luke 4:20 , Acts 13:5; Acts 26:15 , 1 Corinthians 4:1 . In two of these cases RV [Note: Revised Version.] has properly substituted ‘ attendant ’ for ‘minister’ to avoid misconception. The ‘minister’ ( Luke 4:20 ) to whom Jesus handed the roll in the synagogue at Nazareth was the hazzan , corresponding to the English verger or Scotch beadle. John Mark ( Acts 13:5 ) was the minister of Barnabas and Saul in the same sense as Joshua was of Moses, he was their attendant and assistant. In the other cases hypÃ§retÃ§s is used of the minister of Christ or of the word in a sense that is hardly distinguishable from that of diakonos as under.
(2) leitourgos . In classical Gr. this word with its cognates is applied to one who renders special services to the commonwealth, without any suggestion of a priestly ministry. But in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] it was regularly applied, especially in its verbal form, to the ritual ministry of priests and Levites in the sanctuary, and so by NT times had come to connote the idea of a priestly function. What we have to notice, however, is that no NT writer uses it so as to suggest the discharge of special priestly functions on the part of an official Christian ministry. Either the reference is to the old Jewish ritual ( Luke 1:23 , Hebrews 9:21; Hebrews 10:11 ), or the word is employed in a sense that is purely figurative ( Romans 15:16 , Philippians 2:17 ); or, again, is applied to a ministration of Christian charity ( 2 Corinthians 9:12 , Philippians 2:25; Philippians 2:30 ) or of prayer ( Acts 13:2; cf. v. 3), from which all ideas of priestly ritual are clearly absent.
(3) diakonos . Even more significant than the uses to which leitourgos and its cognates are put in the NT is the fact that they are used so seldom, and that diakonos and diakonia are found instead when the ideas of minister and ministry are to be expressed. This corresponds with the other fact that the priesthood of a selected class has been superseded by a universal Christian priesthood, and that a ministry of lowliness and serviceableness (which diakonos specially implies) has taken the place of the old ministry of exclusive privilege and ritual performance, diakonia is the distinctive Christian word for ‘ministry,’ and diakonos for ‘minister.’ But these nouns and the related verb are used in the NT with a wide range of application. The personal services rendered to Jesus by Martha, Mary, and other women ( Luke 10:40 , John 12:2 , Matthew 27:55 ), and to St. Paul by Timothy, Erastus, and Onesimus ( Acts 19:22 , Philippians 1:13 ), are described as forms of ministry. The man who serves and follows Christ is His minister ( John 12:26; ‘my diakonos ’ is the expression in the original); and the minister of Christ will not fail to minister also to the brethren ( 1 Corinthians 12:5 , 1 Peter 4:10 ). But while every true Christian is a minister of Christ and of the brethren, there is a ministry of particular service out of which there gradually emerges the idea of a special Christian ministry. We may find the roots of the idea in our Lord’s words to His disciples, ‘Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister, â€¦ even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many’ ( Matthew 20:26 ff.). The minister at first was one who was distinguished from others by his larger services. He did not hold an office, but discharged a function. There were differences of function, indeed, and, above all, the distinction between those who were ministers of the word ( Act 6:4 , 2 Corinthians 3:6 , Ephesians 3:6-7 ) and those who ministered by gracious deed ( Acts 6:1 ff.). But whatever might be the ‘diversities of ministrations’ ( 1 Corinthians 12:5 ), the word diakonos covered them all. At a later stage, when differences of function have begun to harden into distinctions of office, the name diakonos is specially appropriated to the deacon (wh. see) as distinguished from the presbyter or bishop ( Philippians 1:1 , 1 Timothy 3:1-13 ). But diakonos still continues to be used in its wider sense, for Timothy, who was much more than a deacon, is exhorted to be ‘a good minister ( diakonos ) of Jesus Christ’ ( 1 Timothy 4:6 ). See following article.
J. C. Lambert.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection 
The sharp shrill cry of 'Acqua! Acqua!' constantly pierces the ear of the wanderer in Venice and other towns of sultry Italy. There is the man who thus invites your attention. Look at him. On his back he bears a burden of water, and in his hand a rack of bottles containing essences to flavour the draught if needed, and glasses to hold the cooling liquid. In the streets of London he would find but little patronage, but where fountains are few and the days are hot as an oven, he earns a livelihood and supplies a public need. The present specimen of water-dealers is a poor old man bent sideways, by the weight of his daily burden. He is worn out in all but his voice, which is truly startling in its sharpness and distinctness. At our call he stops immediately, glad to drop his burden on the ground, and smiling in prospect of a customer. He washes out a glass for us, fills it with sparkling water, offers us the tincture which we abhor, puts it back into the rack again when we shake our head, receives half-a-dozen soldi with manifest gratitude, and trudges away across the square, crying still, 'Acqua! Acqua!' That cry, shrill as it is, has sounded sweetly in the ears of many a thirsty soul, and will for ages yet to come, if throats and thirst survive so long. How forcibly it calls to our mind the Saviour's favourite imagery, in which he compares the grace which he bestows on all who diligently seek it, to 'living water;' and how much that old man is like the faithful preacher of the word, who, having filled his vessel at the well, wears himself out by continually bearing the burden of the Lord, and crying, 'Water! water!' amid crowds of sinners, who must drink or die. Instead of the poor Italian water-bearer, we see before us the man of God, whose voice is heard in the chief places of concourse, proclaiming the divine invitation, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters!' until he grows grey in the service, anÃ§l men say, 'Surely those aged limbs have need of rest;' yet rest he courts not, but pursues his task of mercy; never laying down his charge till he lays down his body, and never ceasing to work until he ceases to live.
At the door of Saint Mark's Cathedral, we bought a glass of what should have been the pure element, but when we began to drink, a pungent flavour of something which had previously been in the cup, made us leave the rest of our purchase, thirsty though we were. The water was good enough, but the vessel which held it imparted an evil taste to it; the like has often happened in the ministry, the gospel preached has been true and divine, but the unhallowed savor of an inconsistent life, or a bitter disposition, has marred the sweetness of the Word. May all of us by whom the Lord hands out the water of life, see that we are clean and pure in conversation, vessels fit for the Master's use. Men who are very thirsty will drink out of any cup, however dirty; but no conceivable advantage can arise from filth, and hundreds will turn away from the water because of it, and thus a very faulty ministry may be useful because of the truth contained in it, but its sinfulness can do no good, and may serve as an excuse to the ungodly for refusing the gospel of Christ.
In the square of the Doge's palace are two wells, from which the sellers of water obtain their stock-in-trade, but we can hardly compare either of them with the overflowing spring from which the preacher of righteousness draws his supplies. One of the wells is filled artificially and is not much used for drinking, since the coldness and freshness of water springing naturally from earth's deep fountains is lacking. It is to be feared that many preachers depend for their matter upon theological systems, books, and mere learning, and hence their teaching is devoid of the living power and refreshing influence which is found in communion with 'the spring of all our joys.' The other well yields most delicious water, but its flow is scanty. In the morning it is full, but a crowd of eager persons drain it to the bottom, and during the day as it rises by driblets, every drop is contended for and borne away, long before there is enough below to fill a bucket. In its excellence, continuance and naturalness, this well might be a fair picture of the grace of our Lord Jesus, but it fails to set him forth from its poverty of supply, He has a redundance, an overflow, an infinite fulness, and there is no possibility-of his being exhausted by the draughts made upon him, even though ten thousand times ten thousand should come with a thirst as deep as the abyss. We could not help saying, 'Spring up, 0 well,' as we looked over the margin covered with copper, into which strings and ropes: continually used by the waiting many: had worn deep channels. Very little of the coveted liquid was brought up each time, but the people were patient, and their tin vessels went up and down as fast as there was a cupful to be had. 0 that men were half as diligent in securing the precious gifts of the Spirit, which are priceless beyond compare! Alas! how few have David's thirst for the well of Bethlehem. The cans sent down had very broad sides, so that they dropped down flat upon the bottom of the well, and were drawn up less than half full; larger vessels would have been useless, and so, indeed, would small ones if they had not been made to lie quite down upon their sides, along what we must call the floor of the well, and had they have been erect they would not have received a drop. Humility is always a profitable grace; pride is always as useless as it is foolish. Only by bowing our minds to the utmost before the Lord, can we expect to receive his mercy, for he promises grace unto the humble in that same verse which foretells his resistance of the proud. If there be grace anywhere, contrite hearts will get it. The lower we can fall, the sooner will the springing water of grace reach us, and the more completely shall we be filled with it.
It would be a great misfortune for those who buy their water in the streets, if the itinerant vendors should begin to fill their casks and bottles from muddy streams. At Botzen, in the Tyrol, we saw many fountains running with a liquid of a very brown colour, and a seller of such stuff might cry 'Acqua!' very long and very loudly before we should partake of his dainties. Sundry divines in our age have become weary of the old-fashioned well of which our fathers drank, and would fain have us go to their Abana and Pharpar, but we are still firm in the belief that the water from the rock has no rival, and we shall not, we hope, forsake it for any other. May the Lord send to our happy land more simple gospel, more Christ-exalting doctrine, more free-grace teaching, more distinct testimony to atoning blood and eternal love. In most of the Swiss villages there are streaming fountains by the dozen, and the pure liquid is to be had at every corner; may we yet see the Word of God as abundantly distributed in every town, village, and hamlet in England. Meanwhile, having recorded the prayer, we resolve, by divine grace, to cry more loudly than ever, 'Acqua! Acqua!'
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary 
A name applied to those who are pastors of a congregation, or preachers of God's word. They are also called divines, and may be distinguished into polemic, or those who possess controversial talents; casuistic, or those who resolve cases of conscience; experimental, those who address themselves to the feelings, cases, and circumstances of their hearers; and, lastly, practical, those who insist upon the performance of all those duties which the word of God enjoins. An able minister will have something of all these united in him, though he may not excel in all; and it becomes every one who is a candidate for the ministry to get a clear idea of each, that he may not be deficient in the discharge of that work which is the most important that can be sustained by mortal beings. Many volumes have been written on this subject, but we must be content in this place to offer only a few remarks relative to it. In the first place, then, it must be observed, that ministers of the Gospel ought to be sound as to their principles. They must be men whose hearts are renovated by divine grace, and whose sentiments are derived from the sacred oracles of divine truth. A minister without principles will never do any good; and he who professes to believe in a system, should see to it that it accords with the word of God. His mind should clearly perceive the beauty, harmony, and utility of the doctrines, while his heart should be deeply impressed with a sense of their value and importance.
2. They should be mild and affable as to their dispositions and deportment.
A haught imperious spirit is a disgrace to the ministerial character, and generally brings contempt. They should learn to bear injuries with patience, and be ready to do good to every one; be courteous to all without cringing to any; be affable without levity, and humble without pusillanimity; conciliating the affections without violating the truth; connecting a suavity of manners with a dignity of character, obliging without flattery; and throwing off all reserve without running into the opposite extreme of volubility and trifling.
3. They should be superior as to their knowledge and talents. Though many have been useful without what is called learning, yet none have been so without some portion of knowledge and wisdom. Nor has God Almighty ever sanctified ignorance, or consecrated it to his service; since it is the effect of the fall, and the consequence of our departure from the Fountain of intelligence. Ministers, therefore, especially, should endeavour to break these shackles, get their minds enlarged, and stored with all useful knowledge. The Bible should be well studied, and that, if possible, in the original language. The scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ should be well understood, with all the various topics connected with it. Nor will some knowledge of history, natural philosophy, logic, mathematics, and rhetoric, be useless. A clear judgment, also, with a retentive memory, inventive faculty, and a facility of communication should be obtained.
4. They should be diligent as to their studies. Their time especially should be improved, and not lost by too much sleep, formal visits, indolence, reading useless books, studying useless subjects. Every day should have its work, and every subject its due attention. Some advise a chapter in the Hebrew Bible, and another in the Greek Testament, to be read every day. A well-chosen system of divinity should be accurately studied. The best definitions should be obtained, and a constant regard paid to all those studies which savour of religion, and have some tendency to public work.
5. Ministers should be extensive as to their benevolence and candour. A contracted bigoted spirit ill becomes those who preach a Gospel which breathes the purest benevolence to mankind. This spirit has done more harm among all parties than many imagine; and is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful engines the devil makes use of to oppose the best interests of mankind; and it is really shocking to observe how sects and parties have all, in their turns, anethematized each other. Now, while ministers ought to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, they must remember that men always will think different from each other; that prejudice of education has great influence; that difference of opinion as to non-essential things is not of such importance as to be a ground of dislike. Let the ministers of Christ, then, pity the weak, forgive the ignorant, bear with the sincere though mistaken zealot, and love all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. Ministers should be zealous and faithful in their public work. The sick must be visited; children must be catechised; the ordinances administered; and the word of God preached. These things must be taken up, not as a matter of duty only, but of pleasure, and executed with faithfulness; and, as they are of the utmost importance, ministers should attend to them with all that sincerity, earnestness, and zeal which that importance demands. An idle, frigid, indifferent minister is a pest to society, a disgrace to his profession, an injury to the church, and offensive to God himself.
7. Lastly, ministers should be uniform as to their conduct. No brightness of talent, no superiority of intellect, no extent of knowledge, will ever be a substitute for this. They should not only possess a luminous mind, but set a good example. This will procure dignity to themselves, give energy to what they say, and prove a blessing to the circle in which they move. In fine, they should be men of prudence and prayer, light and love, zeal and knowledge, courage and humility, humanity and religion.
See Declamation. Eloquence, Preaching and SERMONS, in this work; Dr. Smith's Lect. on the Sacred Office; Gerard's Pastoral Care; Macgill's Address to Young Clergymen; Chrysostom on the Priesthood; Baxter's Reformed Pastor; Burnett's Pastoral Care; Watt's Humble Attempt; Dr. Edwards's Preacher; Mason's Student and Pastor; Gibbon's Christian Minister; Mather's Student and Preacher; Osterwald's Lectures on the Sacred Ministry; Robinson's Claude; Doddridge's Lectures on Preaching and the Ministeral Office.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Minister Mesharet . As Joshua was to Moses ( Exodus 24:13; Joshua 1:1), and Elisha's "servitor" ( 2 Kings 4:43). The king's subordinate attendants, as "servants" are higher officials ( 1 Kings 10:5). The angelic attendants of the heavenly King ( Psalms 104:4). The priests and Levites, "ministers of our God" ( Isaiah 61:6). In New Testament Leitourgos is a "public administrator", civil as the magistrate ( Romans 13:4; Romans 13:6), or sacerdotal as the Aaronic priests were ( Hebrews 10:11) and as Christ was ( Hebrews 8:2), and as Paul figuratively was, presenting as a sacrifice before God the Gentiles converted by his ministry of the gospel ( Romans 15:16) and their faith ( Philippians 2:17), and as Christians minister their alms ( Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 9:12).
Liturgy at Athens meant public service rendered gratuitously to the state; hence the sense of public Divine service (not restricted to sacrifice, Luke 1:23): Acts 13:2. Ηufretes is a greater man's "personal attendant" (literally, the rower under the steersman) or subordinate in waiting, as Mark was to Saul and Barnabas ( Acts 13:5); also ( Luke 1:2; Acts 26:16) interchanged with Diakonos ( 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 3:5), both applied to Paul. Diakonos is also applied especially to deacons as distinguished from presbyter bishops ( Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
King James Dictionary 
MIN'ISTER, n. L.
1. Properly, a chief servant hence, an agent appointed to transact or manage business under the authority of another in which sense, it is a word of very extensive application.
Moses rose up and his minister Joshua. Exodus 24
2. One to whom a king or prince entrusts the direction of affairs of state as minister of state the prime minister. In modern governments, the secretaries or heads of the several departments or branches of government are the ministers of the chief magistrate. 3. A magistrate an executive officer.
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. Romans 13
4. A delegate an embassador the representative of a sovereign at a foreign court usually such as is resident at a foreign court, but not restricted to such. 5. One who serves at the altar one who performs sacerdotal duties the pastor of a church, duly authorized or licensed to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments. Ephesians 3 6. Christ is called a minister of the sanctuary. Hebrews 8 7. An angel a messenger of God.
Who maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire. Psalms 104
Min'Ister, L ministro. To give to afford to supply.
He that ministereth seed to the sower-- 2 Corinthians 9
That it may minister grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4
MIN'ISTER, To attend and serve to perform service in any office, sacred or secular.
I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. Exodus 29
1. To afford supplies to give things needful to supply the means of relief to relieve.
When saw we thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
2. To give medicines.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?
In this sense, we commonly use administer.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
Christian ministry is a very broad subject and may be conveniently studied through looking at topics that deal with its various aspects. According to its most common biblical usage, ‘ministry’ means ‘service’. A person who ministers to others is one who serves others; a minister of God is a servant of God ( Deuteronomy 10:8; Psalms 103:21; Joel 2:17; Matthew 8:15; Matthew 25:44; Matthew 27:55; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 11:15; 2 Corinthians 11:23; for details see Servant ).
Different forms of the biblical word translated ‘minister’ denote a variety of people and the work they do in the church ( Romans 12:7; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:17; Hebrews 6:10; see Gifts Of The Spirit ). The same word, transliterated ‘deacon’, refers to a recognized class of church helpers ( Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8; see Deacon ). The pastoral leaders of the church, who are distinct from the deacons, are also ministers ( Ephesians 4:11-12; Colossians 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:5; see Apostle ; Elder ; TEACHER; Preaching ). The perfect minister, who is an example to all others, is Jesus Christ ( Matthew 20:28; John 13:14-16; Romans 15:8).
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Minister. This term is used in the Authorized Version to describe various officials of a religious and civil character. Its meaning, as distinguished from Servant , is A Voluntary Attendant On Another . In the Old Testament, it is applied
(1) to an attendance upon a person of high rank, Exodus 24:13; Joshua 1:1; 2 Kings 4:43;
(2) to the attaches of a royal court, 1 Kings 10:5; 2 Chronicles 22:8; compare Psalms 104:4;
(3) To the priests and Levites. Ezra 8:17; Nehemiah 10:36; Isaiah 61:6; Ezekiel 44:11; Joel 1:9; Joel 1:13.
One term, in the New Testament, betokens A Subordinate Public Administrator, Romans 13:6; Romans 15:16; Hebrews 8:2, One Who Performs Certain Gratuitous Public Services. A second term contains the idea of Actual And Personal Attendance Upon A Superior, as in Luke 4:20.
The minister's duty was to open and close the building, to produce and replace the books employed in the service, and generally to wait on the officiating priest or teacher. A third term, diakonos , (from which comes our word, Deacon ), is the one usually employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel: its application is twofold, - in a general sense, to indicate ministers of any order, whether superior or inferior, and in a special sense, to indicate an order of inferiors ministers. See Deacon .
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
one who attends or waits on another; so we find Elisha was the minister of Elijah, and did him services of various kinds, 2 Kings 3:11 . So Joshua was the servant of Moses, Exodus 24:13; Exodus 33:11 . And these persons did not by any means feel themselves degraded by their stations, but in due time they succeeded to the offices of their masters. In like manner John Mark was minister to Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13:5 . Christ is called a minister of the true, that is, the heavenly, sanctuary. The minister of the synagogue was appointed to keep the book of the law, to observe that those who read it, read it correctly, &c, Luke 4:20 . The rabbins say he was the same as the angel of the church or overseer. Lightfoot says, Baal Aruch expounds the chazan, or minister of the congregation, by sheliach hatzibbor, or angel of the congregation; and from this common platform and constitution of the synagogue, we may observe the Apostle's expression of some elders ruling and labouring in word and doctrine, others in the general affairs of the synagogue. Ministers were servants, yet servants not menial, but honourable; those who explain the word, and conduct the service of God; those who dispense the laws and promote the welfare of the community; the holy angels who in obedience to the divine commands protect, preserve, succour, and benefit the godly, are all ministers, beneficial ministers, to those who are under their charge, Hebrews 8:2; Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:15; 1 Corinthians 4:1; Romans 13:6; Psalms 104:4 .
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
The word commonly occurring in the O.T. is sharath, 'to minister, serve.' Joshua was Moses' minister. All God's hosts are called 'ministers of his, that do his pleasure,' and He maketh 'his ministers a flaming fire.' The priests were the ministers of Jehovah. Joshua 1:1; Psalm 103:21; Psalm 104:4; Joel 2:17 . In the N.T. three words are used.
1. διάκονος. See DEACON.
2. λειτουργός, a public servant,' one holding an official position. It is applied to the Lord; to angels; to Paul; and to magistrates. Romans 13:6; Romans 15:16; Hebrews 1:7 . Hebrews 8:2 .
3. ὑπηρέτης, lit. 'under-rower,' and so an 'attendant' on, or 'assistant ' to a superior authority. Luke 1:2; Luke 4:20; Acts 13:5; Acts 26:16; 1 Corinthians 4:1 . It is also translated 'officer' and 'servant.'
Webster's Dictionary 
(1): ( v. i.) To act as a servant, attendant, or agent; to attend and serve; to perform service in any office, sacred or secular.
(2): ( v. i.) To supply or to things needful; esp., to supply consolation or remedies.
(3): ( n.) One who serves at the altar; one who performs sacerdotal duties; the pastor of a church duly authorized or licensed to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments.
(4): ( n.) To furnish or apply; to afford; to supply; to administer.
(5): ( n.) One to whom the sovereign or executive head of a government intrusts the management of affairs of state, or some department of such affairs.
(6): ( n.) An officer of justice.
(7): ( n.) A servant; a subordinate; an officer or assistant of inferior rank; hence, an agent, an instrument.
(8): ( n.) A representative of a government, sent to the court, or seat of government, of a foreign nation to transact diplomatic business.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
One who attends or waits on another, Matthew 20:28; so Elisha was the minister of Elijah, 1 Kings 19:21 2 Kings 3:11 . These persons did not feel themselves degraded by their stations, and in due time they succeeded to the office of their masters. In like manner, John Mark was minister to Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13:5 . Angels are ministers of God and of his people, Psalm 103:21 Hebrews 1:14 . The term is applied to one who performs any function, or administers any office or agency: as to magistrates, Romans 15:16 1 Corinthians 4:1 5:5; and to teachers of error, 2 Corinthians 11:15 . Christ came to minister, not to be ministered unto; and is called in another sense a minister "of the circumcision," Romans 15:8 , and of the heavenly sanctuary, Hebrews 8:2 .
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Minister'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/m/minister.html. 1897.
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
one who acts as the less (from minus or minor) or inferior agent, in obedience or subservience to another, or who serves, officiates, etc., as distinguished from the master, magister (from magis), or superior. It is used in the A.V. to describe various officials of a religious and civil character. The words so translated in the Scriptures are the following:
1.' מְשָׁרֵת , Meshareth', which is applied,
(1) to an attendant upon a person in high rank, as to Joshua in relation to Moses ( Exodus 24:13, Sept. Παρεστηκὼς Αὐτῷ ; Aquila and Symm. Ὁ Λειτουργὸς Αὐτοῦ ; comp. Exodus 33:11, Sept. Θεράπων Ι᾿Ησοῦς ; Numbers 11:28; Joshua 1:1, Sept. Ὑπουργὸς Μωυσῆ ; Alex. Λιτουργός ), and to the attendant on the prophet Elisha ( 2 Kings 4:43; 2 Kings 6:15, Sept. Λειτουργός ; comp. 2 Kings 3:11; 1 Kings 19:21);
(2) to the Attaches of a royal court ( 1 Kings 10:5 [Sept. Λειτουρός , where, it may be observed, they are distinguished from the "servants" or officials of higher rank [ עֶבֶד , a more general term, Sept. Παῖς ], answering to our Ministers, by the different titles of the chambers assigned to their use, the "sitting" of the servants meaning rather their abode, and the "attendance" of the ministers the ante-room in which they were stationed); persons of high rank held this post in the Jewish kingdom ( 2 Chronicles 22:8); and it may be in this sense, as the attendants of the King of kings, that the, term is applied to the angels in Psalms 103:21(λειτουργοί ); comp. Psalms 104:4 ( Hebrews 1:7; and see Stuart's Comment. ad loc.);
(3) to the priests and Levites, who are thus described by the prophets and later historians ( Jeremiah 33:21; Ezekiel 44:11; Joel 1:9; Joel 1:13; Ezra 8:17; Nehemiah 10:36), though the verb, whence Meshareth is derived, is not uncommonly used in reference to their services in the earlier books ( Exodus 28:43; Numbers 3:31; Deuteronomy 18:5, etc.). Persons thus designated sometimes succeeded to the office of their principal, as did Joshua and Elisha. Hence the term is used of the Jews in their capacity as a sacred nation, "Men shall call you the ministers of our God" ( Isaiah 61:6).
2. פְּלָה , Pelach (Chald.), Ezra 7:24, "minister" of religion, Λειτουργός (comp. פלחן , Ezra 7:19), though he uses the word משרתים in the same sense, Ezra 8:17. In the N.T. we have three terms, each with its distinctive meaning.
3. Λειτουρός , a term derived from Λεῖτον Ἔργον , "public work," and the Leitourgia was. the name of certain personal services which the citizens of Athens and some other states had to perform gratuitously for the public good. From the sacerdotal use of the word in the N.T., it obtained the special sense of a " public divine service," which is perpetuated in our word "liturgy." The verb Λειτουργεῖν is used in this sense in Acts 13:2. It answers most nearly to the Hebrew Meshareth, and is usually employed in the Sept. as its equivalent. It betokens a subordinate public administrator, whether civil or sacerdotal, and is applied in the former sense to the magistrates in their relation to the divine authority ( Romans 13:6), and in the latter sense to our Lord in relation to the Father ( Hebrews 8:2), and to St. Paul in relation to Jesus Christ ( Romans 15:16), where it occurs among other expressions of a sacerdotal character, "ministering" ( Ἱερουργοῦντα ), "offering up" (Προσφορά , etc.). In all these instances the original and special meaning of the word, as used by the Athenians, namely, with respect to those who administered the public offices ( Λειτουργίαι ) at their own expense (Bockh, Staatshaush. Der Athener, 1:480; 2:62; Potter's Gr. Ant. 1:85), is preserved, though this comes, perhaps, yet more distinctly forward in the cognate terms Λειτουργία and Λειτουργεῖν applied to the sacerdotal office of the Jewish priest ( Luke 1:3; Hebrews 9:21; Hebrews 10:11),to the still higher priesthood of Christ ( Hebrews 8:6), and in a secondary sense to the Christian priest who offers up to God the faith of his converts ( Philippians 2:17, Λειτουργία Τῆς Πίστεως ), and to any act of public self-devotion on the part of a Christian disciple ( Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 9:12; Philippians 2:30).
4. The second Greek term, Ὑπηρἐτης , differs from the two others in that it contains the idea of actual and personal attendance upon a superior. Thus it is used of the attendant in the synagogue, the חָזָן , Chazan, of the Talmudists ( Luke 4:20), whose duty it was to open and close the building, to produce and replace the books employed in the service, and generally to wait on the officiating priest or teacher (Carpzov, Apparat. p. 314). It is similarly applied to Mark, who, as the attendant on Barnabas and Saul ( Acts 13:5), was probably charged with the administration of baptism and other assistant duties (De Wette, ad loc.); and again to the subordinates of the high-priests ( John 7:32; John 7:45; John 18:3, etc.), or of a jailor ( Matthew 5:25= Πράκτωρ in Luke 12:58; Acts 5:22). Josephus calls Moses Τὸν Ὑπηρέτην Θεοῦ (Ant. 3:1,4). Kings are so called in Wisdom of Solomon 6:4. The idea of personal attendance comes prominently forward in Luke 1:2; Acts 26:16, in both of which places it is alleged as a ground of trustworthy testimony ("ipsi Viderunt, et, quod plus est, Ministrarunt," Bengel). Lastly, it is used interchangeably with Διάκονος in 1 Corinthians 4:1, comp. with 1 Corinthians 3:5, but in this instance the term is designed to convey the notion of subordination and humility. In all these cases the etymological sense of the word ( Ὑπὸ Ἐρέτης ) comes out. It primarily signifies an Under-Rower on board a galley, of the class who used the longest oars, and consequently, performed the severest duty, as distinguished from the Θρανίτης , the rower upon the upper bench of the three, and from the Ναῦται , sailors, or the Ἐπιβάται , marines (Dem. 1209, 11, 14; comp. also 1208, 20; 1214, 23; 1216, 13; Pol. 1:25, 3): hence in general a hand, agent, minister, attendant, etc. The term that most adequately represents it in our language is "attendant."
5. The third Greek term, Διάκονος , is the one usually employed in relation to the ministry of the Gospel: its application is twofold, in a general sense to indicate ministers of any order, whether superior or inferior, and in a special sense to indicate an order of inferior ministers. In the former sense we have the cognate term Διακονία applied in Acts 6:1; Acts 6:4, both to the ministration of tables and to the higher ministration of the Word, and the term Διάκονος itself applied, without defining the office, to Paul and Apollos ( 1 Corinthians 3:5), to Tychicus ( Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7), to Epaphras ( Colossians 1:7), to Timothy ( 1 Thessalonians 3:2), and even to Christ himself ( Romans 15:8; Galatians 2:17). In the latter sense it is applied in the passages where the Διάκονος is contradistinguished from the bishop, as in Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The word is likewise applied to false teachers ( 2 Corinthians 11:15), and even to heathen magistrates ( Romans 13:4), in the sense of a minister, assistant, or servant in general, as in Matthew 20:26. The term Διάκονοι denotes among the Greeks a higher class of servants than the Δοῦλοι (Athen. 10:192; see Buttm. Lex. 1:220; comp. Matthew 22:13, and Sept. for משרת , Esther 1:10; Esther 2:2; Esther 6:3). It is worthy of observation that the word is thus of very rare occurrence in the Sept., and then only in a general sense: its special sense, as known to us in its derivative "deacon" (q.v.) seems to be of purely Christian growth. (See Ministry).
MINISTER is a Latin word applied in that portion of the Christian Church known as the Western to designate that officer who is styled deacon in Greek. The word was applied generally to the Anglican clergy about the time of the great rebellion, since which time it has come into general use, and is now applied to any preacher of the Gospel. Even the Jews have adopted the use of this word, and rabbi is scarcely ever heard in English- speaking congregations of that people. Ministers are also called divines, and may be distinguished into polemic, or those who possess controversial talents; casuistic, or those who resolve cases of conscience; experimental, those who address themselves to the feelings, cases, and circumstances. of their hearers; and, lastly, practical, those who insist upon the performance of all those duties which the Word of God enjoins. An able minister will have something of all these united in him, though he may not excel in all; and it becomes every one who is a candidate for the ministry to get a clear idea of each, that he may not be deficient in the discharge of that work which is the most important that can be sustained by mortal beings. Many volumes have been written on this subject, but we must be content in this place to offer only a few remarks relative to it.
1. In the first place, then, it must be observed that ministers of the Gospel ought to be Sound As To Their Principles. They must be men whose hearts are renovated by divine grace, and whose sentiments are derived from the sacred oracles of divine truth. A minister without principles will never do any good; and he who professes to believe in a system should see to it that it accords with the Word of God. His mind should clearly perceive the beauty, harmony, and utility of the doctrines, while his heart should be deeply impressed with a sense of their value and importance.
2. They Should Be Mild And As Fable As To Their Dispositions And Deportment. A naughty, imperious spirit is a disgrace to the ministerial character, and generally brings contempt. They should learn to bear injuries with patience, and be ready to do good to every one be courteous to all without cringing to any; be affable without levity, and humble without pusillanimity; conciliating the affections without violating the truth; connecting a suavity of manners with a dignity of character; obliging without flattery; and throwing off all reserve without running into the opposite extreme of volubility and trifling.
3. They Should Be Superior As To Their Knowledge And Talents. Though many have been useful without what is called learning, yet none have been so without some portion of knowledge and wisdom. Nor has God Almighty ever sanctified ignorance, or consecrated it to his service; since it is the effect of the fall, and the consequence of our departure from the fountain of intelligence. Ministers therefore, especially, should endeavor to break these shackles, get their minds enlarged, and stored with all useful knowledge. The Bible should be well studied, and that, especially, in the original languages. The scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ should be well, understood, with all the various topics connected with it. - And in the present day a knowledge of history, natural philosophy, logic, mathematics, and rhetoric is peculiarly requisite. A clear judgment, also, with a retentive memory, inventive faculty, and a facility of communication, should by obtained.
4. They Should Be Diligent As To Their Studies. Their time, especially, should be improved, and not lost by too much sleep, formal visits, indolence, reading useless books, studying useless subjects. Every day should have its work, and every subject its due attention. Some advise a chapter in the Hebrew Bible, and another in the Greek Testament, to be read every day. A well-chosen system of divinity should be accurately studied. The best definitions should be obtained, and a constant regard paid to all those studies which savor of religion, and have some tendency to public work. 5. Ministers Should Be Extensive As To Their Benevolence And Candor. A contracted, bigoted spirit ill becomes those who preach a Gospel which breathes the purest benevolence to mankind. This spirit has done more harm among all parties than many imagine, and is, in our opinion, one of the most powerful engines the devil makes use of to oppose the best interests of mankind; and it is really shocking to observe how sects and parties have all, in their turns, anathematized each other. Now, while ministers ought to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, they must remember that men always think differently from each other; that prejudice of education has great influence; that difference of opinion as to subordinate things is not of such importance as to be a ground of dislike. Let the ministers of Christ, then, pity the weak, forgive the ignorant, bear with the sincere though mistaken zealot, and love all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. Ministers Should Be Zealous And Faithful In Their Public Work. The sick must be visited, children must be catechised, the ordinances administered, and the Word of God preached. These things must be. taken up, not as a matter of duty only, but of pleasure, and executed with faithfulness; and, as they are of the utmost importance, ministers should attend to them with all that sincerity, earnestness, and zeal which that importance demands. An idle, frigid, indifferent minister is a pest to society, a disgrace to his profession, an injury to the Church, and offensive to God himself.
7. Lastly, Ministers Should Be-Consistent As To Their Conduct. No brightness of talent, no superiority of intellect, no extent of knowledge, will ever be a substitute for this. They should not only possess a luminous mind, but set a good example. This will procure dignity to themselves, give energy to what they say, and prove a blessing to the circle in which they move. In tine, they should be men of prudence and prayer, light and love, zeal and knowledge, courage and humility, humanity and religion.
See Dr. Smith, Lecture on the Sacred Office; Gerard, Pastoral Care; Macgill, Address to Young Clergymen; Massillon, Charges; Baxter, Reformed Pastor; Herbert, Country Parson; Burnet, Pastoral Care; Dr. Edwards, Preacher; Mason, Student and Pastor; Brown, Address to Students; Mather, Student and Preacher; Ostervald, Lectures on the Sacred Ministry; Robinson, Claude; Doddridge, Lectures on Preaching; Miller, Letters on Clerical Manners; Burder, Hints; Ware, Lecture on the Connection of Pulpit Eloquence and the Pastoral Care; Christ. Examiner; Plumer, Pastoral Theology; Tyng, Office and Duty of a Christian Pastor; Bridge, Christian Ministry; Kidder, The Christian Pastorate; Townsend, Tongue and Sword; Presb. Qu. and Princet. Rev. 1854, pages 386, 708; 1859, pages 15, 366; January 1873, art. 6 and 7; Universalist Qu. October 1872, art. 7; Kitto, Journal, April 1853, page 192; Meth. Quar. Review, July 1851, page 430. (See Ministry).
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
One who acts as the less or inferior agent, in obedience or subservience to another, or who serves, officiates, etc., as distinguished from the master or superior. In the Old Testament the term is applied to Joshua as the minister of Moses , and to Elisha as the minister to Elijah . Persons thus designated sometimes succeeded to the office of their principal, as did Joshua and Elisha. The word is applied to the angels,; comp.;; and also to the Jews in their capacity as a sacred nation, 'Men shall call you the ministers of our God' and to the priests . In the New Testament the term is applied to Christian teachers,;; and to Christ,; to the collectors of the Roman tribute, in consequence of the divine authority of political government, 'they are God's ministers.' The word diakonos, 'minister,' is applied to Christian teachers,;;;;; to false teachers,; to Christ,;;; to heathen magistrates,; in all which passages it has the sense of a minister, assistant, or servant in general, as in; but it means a particular sort of minister, 'a deacon,' in;; . Another word similarly rendered is applied to Christian ministers,;; . The word denotes, in , the attendant in a synagogue who handed the volume to the reader, and returned it to its place. In it is applied to 'John whose surname was Mark,' in his capacity as an attendant or assistant on Barnabas and Saul. It primarily signifies an under-rower on board a galley, of the class who used the longest oars, and consequently performed the severest duty, as distinguished from the rower upon the upper bench of the three, and from the sailors or the marines: hence in general a hand, agent, minister, attendant, etc.
- Minister from Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words
- Minister from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Minister from Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
- Minister from Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
- Minister from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Minister from King James Dictionary
- Minister from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- Minister from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- Minister from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- Minister from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Minister from Webster's Dictionary
- Minister from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Minister from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Minister from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Minister from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature