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What Does the Bible Say About..Preachers, Ministers, and Evangelists?

What's the difference in preacher, minister, and evangelist? I see more and more now that preachers are changing to be called an evangelist.


A preacher is one who proclaims the word of God. The Greek word that Paul uses when he refers to himself as a preacher (1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11) means a herald who proclaims a specific message for a king. In some movies about the Middle Ages you might see someone who stands in the public square and reads a proclamation from the king. That would be a preacher.

The term evangelist comes from the Greek directly. A translation of the word would be one who brings good news. The term is used of Philip (Acts 2:18) and Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5). It basically carries the same meaning as a preacher, except that it specifically refers to good news. In the case of an evangelist for God it would be one who preaches the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.

A minister is a servant, or one who waits tables. Thus it would be proper for the one who takes your order in a restaurant to say, “I will be your minister today.” In the King James Version of the Bible, the word is translated minister twenty times, servant eight times, and deacon three times. Usually it means one who serves others or meets the needs of others. Because it is the word that is used as the title “deacon,” some people think a preacher should not be called a minister unless he is named a deacon of the congregation. On the other hand, Paul said he was a minister of the church (Ephesians 3:6-7). Anyone who performs a service for the church, particularly in the material operation of the church or meeting the physical needs of someone, can be called a minister. Many preachers are avoiding being called a minister so there will be no confusion about whether or not they are a deacon.