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HELPS. In the NT there are four lists of “gifts” that God has given to his church (Rom.12.6-Rom.12.8; 1Cor.12.7-1Cor.12.11, 1Cor.12.28-1Cor.12.31; Eph.4.11-Eph.4.12), and these are not to be confused with the officers who are listed elsewhere. “Helps” are mentioned only in 1Cor.12.28, and the Greek word antilēmpseis occurs only there. It means protector or assistant and probably refers to the ability to perform helpful works in a gracious manner.

HELPS (ἀντίλημψις, G516. This word comes from the verb ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι, which means to take a burden on oneself for another, to bear another’s burden.) This noun occurs only once in the NT (1 Cor 12:28), where it refers to one of the gifts God gives to the Church. The RSV trs. the word as “helpers”; “and God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, then helpers (ἀντιλήμψεις), administrators (κυβερνήσεις), speakers in various kinds of tongues.”

It is questionable whether this tr., which understands the word as a personal noun, is justifiable. The personal noun is άντιλ(μ, G3398) πτωρ and is tr. “helper,” “protector.” This noun is really an abstract noun, has reference to that which the helper does, and hence should be tr. “helpful deeds,” “acts of aid,” or “succor.” Like this word, the other four gifts mentioned in the second part of this list refer to gifts and not to separate offices. Only the first three in this list of eight items are clearly officers, i.e., men holding offices. They are the apostles, prophets, teachers. The rest of the list refers to charismatic gifts that may be possessed by various officers. A man may hold one office and have many special gifts that he exercises in the one office.

Although “helps” does not refer to a separate office, it is commonly believed that it does refer to gifts expressed more particularly in the work of deacons, while “administrators” (κυβερνήσεις) refers to elders in their ruling functions.


J. Bannermann, The Church of Christ, II (1960), 229f.; G. Delling, “ἀντιλαμβάνομαι,” TDNT, I (1960), 375f.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

In classical Greek the word antilempsis means "remuneration," the hold one has on something, then perception, apprehension. But in Biblical Greek it has an altruistic meaning. Thus, it is used in the Septuagint, both in the Old Testament Scriptures and in the Apocrypha (Ps 22:19; 89:19, 1Esdras 8:27; 2Macc 15:7). Thus, we obtain a clue to its meaning in our text, where it has been usually understood as referring to the deacons, the following word kuberneseis, translated "governments," being explained as referring to the presbyters.

Henry E. Dosker

(boetheiai, Ac 27:17).