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Deacons! – 1 Timothy 3:8-13



Text: I Timothy 3:8-13

In this study we’re going to look at the second of the biblical offices, the office of deacon – and before we look at its requirements and obligations, we ought to make a few simple observations:-

  1. There are only two leadership offices in Christ’s church, that of elder and that of deacon. The Bible knows nothing of a system of bishops over a number of churches.
  2. These two offices are equally essential and parallel in importance.  The Elder and the Deacon are not in a hierarchy Both offices are of equal value and equal status. They are just different functions – yet deacons are closely linked to elders in their work. Philipians 1:1. A deacon will be expected to have a practical ministry within the church, and to be responsible for that ministry to the Church Meeting.
  3. Two applications of diakonos!
    1. In a general sense. The biblical word for ‘deacon’ is diakonos, – it simply means servant, and we are ALL servants!
    2. In a more specific sense. In Acts 6 deacons were chosen specifically to lead the church in areas of practical administration. The purpose was that the elders might be free to preach and to pray
  4. A deacon must be spiritually equipped for his task. He must be called of God to the task. He must be willing to learn – to be trained as a deacon.

Now, the office of deacon is so important, that the qualifications of a deacon are just as high as that of an elder. What are they?

1. The Features of a Deacon. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre

In Acts 6 the church sought out men of honest report What will a good deacon look like, spiritually:-

  • A Deacon must be GRAVE. (v8) To be grave is to be the opposite of being flippant, or of bringing dishonour upon himself, or of being over talkative, thus indicating a shallowness of religion.
  • A Deacon must not be DOUBLE TONGUED. A deacon must never indulge in gossip, or in saying one thing to one person and another thing to another Leviticus 19:16.
  • A Deacon should not be a DRUNKARD. Not given to much wine! Cf Verse 3 .
  • A Deacon must not be MONEY ORIENTATED.   The whole ethic of a church leader is to GIVE, to be committed to giving, not to get or to be obsessed with building an empire on this earth.

2. The Faith of a Deacon. 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

Obviously the first qualification of a deacon must be his faith There are three spiritual tests which the deacon must pass.

  • Holding the mystery of the faith. A deacon must be sound in doctrine! 1 Tim. 3:16.
  • Having a clear conscience before others. The deacon must have a good conscience about living cut the Christian faith especially before other men. He must not accept the office of deacon. and then shirk his duties. 1 Tim, 1:19
  • He must be proven and tested and found blameless. 10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. (Compare with v6)

3.  The Family Life of a Deacon. 11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

when Paul writes about elders he says nothing about their wives, except that they are to only have one of them. Yet when he speaks about deacons, he mentions a whole list of requirements for a deacon’s wife! There are several explanations, among them…

  • The Order of Widows. The word translated ‘wives’ is the word gunaikas – from the root word gunh – Greek for a woman or   So, when Paul talks about the elders, likewise the deacons, likewise the women, is he actually giving requirements for a specific, official group of women servants in the church cf Chapter 5:9-10
  • The Wives of Workers. We can’t escape the fact that every reliable English translation translates gunaikas, ‘their wives’ – Why is it then that a deacon’s wife must have certain spiritual characteristics? Because there is no reason why, in the general sense of the word, the deacon’s wife, or any other woman cannot exercise a caring ministry in the church.

But isn’t that also the case with the elder too? Not when he is acting in his capacity as elder! Remember that the elder’s function is to govern the church, and to preach the word and administer the sacraments, – and in those ministries his wife can be of no help to him, for she is forbidden to preach, or to exercise authority in the church, – that is NEVER her role. A deacon’s wife must also be grave. She must not be a gossip. She must be sober. She must be faithful in all things. V 13

4. The Faithfulness of a Deacon. 13For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

  • The faithful deacon obtains a good testimony among other men. Even more importantly, he purchases a good degree before the Lord
  • The faithful deacon gains great boldness in the faith. As he works for the Lord in His church he gets even more assurance that the Lord is with him, and he gains more and more freedom, in God’s spirit, to speak out and witness for the Lord. Hebrews 10:22-24.

A deacon is not a man who will simply be desirous of office, or of some sort of status in the church, but a man who wants to be the servant of the church, and in so doing to be a servant of the Lord.

© Bob McEvoy

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