I've been flicking through Peter Gillquist's book Becoming Orthodox and balked at his translation of λειτουργέω in Acts 13:2. He hoped to see the word 'liturgy' in the verb (and I suppose, who can blame him?) and concluded that those Protestants replaced the word in their bibles with 'ministry' (Catholic translations notwithstanding!). This struck me as being, well - not putting too fine a point on it - a bit lame.
May I ask the Greek scholars among us please, if what Gillquist says has some validity - or can we simply understand that certain of the prophets and teachers at Antioch were worshipping God (minus a liturgy) and fasting? Be objective and honest now!
Would the appearance of λειτουργέω e.g. in Romans 15:27 (clearly referring to service in physical concerns) not detract from Gillquist's understanding of the verse in Acts?
Be gentle with me - I'm a newcomer and this is my very first question ever.
λειτουργ-ία , ἡ, earlier Att. λητ- IG22.1140.14 (386 B.C.):—at Athens, and elsewhere (e.g. Siphnos, Isoc.19.36; Mitylene, Antipho 5.77),
A. public service performed by private citizens at their own expense, And.4.42, Lys.21.19, etc.; λ. ἐγκύκλιοι ordinary, i.e. annual, liturgies, D.20.21; λειτουργίαι μετοίκων, opp. πολιτικαἰ, ib.18.
II. any public service or work, PHib. 1.78.4 (iii B.C.), etc.; ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν λειτουργιῶν τεταγμένος, in an army, the officer who superintended the workmen, carpenters, etc., Plb.3.93.4; “οἱ ἐπί τινα λ. ἀπεσταλμένοι” Id.10.16.5: generally, military duty, UPZ15.25 (pl., ii B.C.).
2. generally, any service or function, “ἡ πρώτη φανερὰ τοῖς ζῴοις λ. διὰ τοῦ στόματος οὖσα” Arist.PA650a9, cf. 674b9, 20, IA 711b30; “φιλικὴν ταύτην λ.” Luc.Salt.6.
3. service, ministration, help, 2 Ep.Cor.9.12, Ep.Phil.2.30.
III. public service of the gods, “αἱ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς λ.” Arist.Pol.1330a13; “αἱ τῶν θεῶν θεραπεῖαι καὶ λ.” D.S.1.21, cf. UPZ17.17 (ii B.C.), PTeb.302.30 (i A.D.), etc.; the service or ministry of priests, LXX Nu.8.25, Ev.Luc.1.23.
λειτουργ-έω, earlier Att. λητουργέω IG22.1147.6 (iv B.C.), etc. (λειτ- 22.665.11 (282 B.C.)): pf.
A λελειτούργηκα Lys.18.7, Is.6.60, Isoc.15.145:
I at Athens, serve public offices at one's own cost, And.1.132, al., D.27.64: c. acc. cogn., λ. τὰ προσταττόμενα Is.6.61; δύο λειτουργίας D.50.9, cf. Lys.3.47; λ. ὑπέρ τινος serve these offices for another, Is.3.80, 6.64; τὰ λελειτουργημένα public services performed, D.21.169.
II generally, perform public duties, serve the state, τῇ πόλει X.Mem.2.7.6; ἐκ τῆς ἰδίας οὐσίας ὑμῖν λ. Isoc.8.13; τὸ ταῖς οὐσίαις λειτουργοῦν, ὃ καλοῦμεν εὐπόρους Arist.Pol.1291a34; τοῖς σώμασιν καὶ τοῖς χρήμασιν λ. Id.Ath.29.5; λ. τοῖς σώμασιν D.21.165; τὸ περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς λ. Arist.Pol.1291a35; λ. τῇ πόλει ταύτην τὴν λειτουργίαν ib.37, cf. Plb.6.33.6; λ. πρὸς τεκνοποιΐαν Arist.Pol.1335b28; ἄρχειν καὶ λ. POxy.1119.16 (iii A.D.).
III generally, serve a master, c. dat., οἱ ἑνὶ λειτουργοῦντες τὰ τοιαῦτα δοῦλοι [εἰσι] Arist.Pol. 1278a12, cf. PSI4.361.15 (iii B.C.), Nic.Dam.4 J.; λ. τρισὶν ἀνδράσιν, of a prostitute, AP5.48 (Gallus).
2 perform religious service, minister, ἐπὶ τῶν ἱερῶν D.H.2.22; τῷ Κυρίῳ Act.Ap.13.2, etc. (Written λιτ- in Rev.Et.Anc.32.5 (Athens, i B.C.), etc., cf. λειτούργιον, λειτουργός.)
Father Peter is correct. It is the term used for liturgy in the sense of worship service, etc., both by the pagans and the Septuagint for the Mosaic/Aaronic cult.
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 1
edited by Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey William Bromileyhttp://books.google.com/books?id=ltZBUW_F9ogC&pg=PA528&dq=theological+dictionary+of+the+new+testament+liturgy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bia8T_bcJ4nlggen24SgDw&ved=0CEYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
(though it tries to deny the obvious)
Romans is a play on words, on the older meaning of charity work, and the established usage as a term for cultic worship, and the contrast of the materially rich but spiritually poor gentiles sharing their material wealth to Jews who have shared their spiritual riches with the gentiles.