Deacons 1 Tim. 3: 8-13 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
After Paul wrote about the qualities of pastors, he gave Timothy a list of qualities for deacons. Since deacons are an extension of the pastor’s ministry [Acts 6:1-7], it follows that their qualities should be very similar to that of pastors. That’s why Paul starts this list with “Likewise,” [1 Tim 3:8].
Deacons must be:
Grave – synonyms for “grave” are serious, sober, earnest. The office of deacon is not a political office, nor is it an office of recognition. It is an office of service and the man occupying this office must take his work seriously.
Not double tongued – we used to say about a person that was double tongued, “he talks out of both sides of his mouth.” A person who is double tongued is prone to say one thing to his pastor and something completely different to people behind the pastor’s back. A double tongued man is often a flatterer. He is a deceiver and he is not to be trusted.
Not given to much wine – a deacon cannot be controlled by addictive substances and behaviors.
Not greedy of filthy lucre – a deacon can’t be covetous; he might be inclined to embezzle. He also should not be chosen because of his money; he might be inclined to run the church and treat it as a business. Paul’s reference to filthy lucre is certainly appropriate. We say of the very wealthy, they are filthy rich.
Faithful – the office of a deacon is a spiritual office like the bishop’s office. Thus, he must be faithful because he is also a steward of the mysteries of God [1 Cor 4:1-2]. The mystery of faith refers to the gospel [Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:2-12], which he holds with a pure conscience [1 Tim 1:5, 19]. He must be saved and know it and know how to tell others to be saved. In this he will be in complete agreement with the pastor. If he can’t agree with the pastor and the statement of faith of the church, he should resign. Likewise, to protect the church, if the pastor becomes heretical in his doctrine, the deacons should hold to the correct doctrine and the pastor should resign.
Proved – deacons conduct themselves as deacons before they are ever chosen to be deacons. You avoid problems by following 1 Tim 5:22.
Blameless – in this a deacon’s character and reputation are above reproach, like a bishop [1 Tim 3:2].
Husbands of one wife – see the discussion concerning this subject in the Sunday school lesson on a Bishop. Basically, he is not a polygamist, as so many of the kings in the Old Testament were, and as men are in certain societies even today.
In charge of their homes – a deacon must be able to rule his home and his children in the same way that the bishop must rule his home [1 Tim 3:4-5]. The reason is that he must uphold and enforce the decisions of the church and the pastor. Likewise, he must not be under the authority of his wife. She will end up running him and, indirectly, the church. The devil got to Adam through his wife.
Deacons’ wives must be:
Grave – as their husbands must be [see above].
Not slanderers – see Ps 101:5 and Prov 10:18. Because of her husband’s office, she is in a position to know things about other people. She cannot utter anything that could be damaging to another person’s character or reputation. She could say things that could damage another person for the rest of his or her life
Sober – see Titus 2:4, temperate. This should be the character of all Christian women.
Faithful – her husband is a faithful servant and she must be, too. Consider the qualities of a widow, whom the church can support, as a good example of her faithfulness [1 Tim 5:10].
Conclusion: deacons who handle their responsibilities well “purchase to themselves a good degree.” That is, they are worthy of the respect this office affords. They are also bold regarding the faith. That is, they stand firm on the words of God and resist any movement in the church away from the doctrines and principles of the Bible.