Terry Baxter Devotional

Qualification of Deacons: 1 Timothy 3:8-13

Qualification of Deacons: 1 Timothy 3:8-13
“8) Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9) but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10) These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11) Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12) Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13) For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭3:8-13‬
The office of deacon originated in Acts 6:1-7 to help take the ministry load off from the Apostles. Verse 3 says they selected “seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”
According to verse 13, “… they brought these before the apostles; and after praying they laid their hands on them.” Some see this as a form of ordination for this office. It was at the very least formal recognition of their gifts, calling, character and appointment.
One of them was Stephen. He was full of grace and power and was performing wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8) He preached with unusual wisdom and power. It is obvious that his ministry soon extended beyond waiting on tables. He also became the first Christian martyr. The heritage of this office quickly become important in the early church.
Sadly, Nicolas was also among this group. (See Acts 6:5) He eventually went astray into heresy and started a movement known as the Nicolaitans. (See Revelation 2:6 & 15) The influence of this heresy was evidently strong in Ephesus and Timothy was sent to counter its influence in the church. Many associate his movement with the counsel of Balaam in the book of Numbers that participated in idolatry and promoted immorality.
The qualifications presented by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 for deacons are very similar to that of an Overseer, with the exception that women are included in this office in verse 11. Deacons were to be mature men and women of godliness with a good reputation. The qualifications should be studied carefully before putting anyone in this office.
Some trip over the mention in verse 12 that deacons should be “husbands of one wife.” This they believe excluded women from this office. I disagree.
I see this as merely excluding polygamous men, which was common in both Jewish and Gentile cultures. The idea was if they were married, they had to be in a good monogamous marriage relationship holding to strict fidelity.
This was a direct counter to the teaching of the Nicolaitans which evidently embraced several forms of immorality including polygamy and concubines. This New Testament restriction was most likely anchored in the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 19:1-12. As Christianity took root and spread, so did the standard of monogamous marriages.
To summarize, let me say that the early church had high standards for leadership. Both men and women had to demonstrate a godly and Spirit filled life to serve as a deacon or deaconess.
I see the goal of disciple making being the raising up of many fruitful leaders and Christian workers. Every effective church should be turning out a steady stream of gifted, experienced and approved Christian workers and leaders.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global