Deaconess of Cenchrea

There comes a time in everyone’s life that we need help. The Apostle Paul was no different. The book of 2 Corinthians, chapter 11 lists the many trials he faced. But in the face of those trials, God gave Paul a helper. Her name was Phoebe, a woman from Cenchrea.

Cenchrea was the seaport of Corinth. The Apostle Paul had established a Christian church here. While working in Corinth he wrote his famous letter to the Romans and sent it by the hand of Phoebe. In Romans, chapter 16, her name stands at the head of a long list of noble workers.

Phoebe is called a “servant” of the church, but the word in the original language is “diakonos” from which we get our word deacon. So, while she is called a “servant” of the church, it truly should be translated a “deacon” of the church. The use of this term shows us that it was likely that Phoebe had an official position in the church at Corinth.

It appears that Phoebe was also a business woman, having had affairs of her own to attend to in Rome, for Paul urges the Christians at Rome to be of any possible assistance to her. Paul pays her high tribute by saying she has been of great help to many people, including himself.

Phoebe used both her financial means and her own person to minister to the sick and distressed of her city. She was a useful worker and co-laborer with the Apostle Paul, and is noted in the Bible for her faithful service.