means an inferior person, in opposition to magister, a superior. One is connected with the Latin minus, and the other with magis. Our Lord says, “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister,” where the antithesis is well preserved. The minister of a church is a man who serves the parish or congregation; and the minister of the Crown is the sovereign's servant.
Minister. Florimond de Remond, speaking of Albert Babinot, one of the disciples of Calvin, says, “He was a student of the Institutes, read at the hall of the Equity school in Poitiers, and was called la Ministerie, ” Calvin, in allusion thereto, used to call him “Mr. Minister,” whence not only Babinot but all the other clergy of the Calvinistic church were called ministers.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894