I Timothy

I Timothy 3:8-13 Qualifications Of Deacons.

Deacons are like overseers in many of the required qualifications, but they are not required to teach. Someone who is reverent is someone who shows respect for others. One of the character flaws contrary to this is to be double-tongued, which means to be either hypocritical or deceitful (v. 8a). Like bishops, deacons must practice moderation and contentment, “not given to much wine, not greedy for money” (v. 8b). The opposite of being double-tongued is to have integrity, “holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience” (v. 9). Paul uses the word ‘mystery’ to refer to truth once hidden but then revealed, in particular he will go on to expound on the great mystery of God’s presence on earth manifested in his time by the incarnation (vv. 14ff.). Also like overseers, deacons must be tested and found blameless, which of course does not mean sinless, but it does mean they don’t condone or justify hypocritical behavior (v. 10 Cf. v. 2; Titus 1:6-7).

Like bishops, a deacon must be a man whose wife also shows godly traits of Christian character. Like their husbands they “must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things” (v. 11). Merriam-Webster defines slander as “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.” Besides being an example of being double-tongued, slander is the bearing of false witness, it also reveals how serious is the issue of gossip. To be temperate is to practice moderation. Some contest that Paul is only speaking about women in general here, thus lending support to the idea of deaconesses. However, the context doesn’t bear this out. Women don’t have wives, only men can be husbands. As Paul will go on to say, like bishops, deacons if married, must be husbands of but one wife, “ruling their children and their own houses well” (v. 12). There is great reward for those who serve well (v. 13).

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