OceanSide church of Christ
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THE OFFICE OF A DEACON—I Timothy 3:8-14
The meaning is serious and sober-minded
Paul tells Timothy right from the start that this task is not to be taken lightly. Clarke says, “Of a sedate and dignified carriage and conduct.”
This same word (translated “grave”) appears in verse 11 and Titus 2:2
There is no sin in relaxation (Matt 26:45; Mark 6:31), but serious tasks demand serious minds.
Not doubletongued (v.8)
“That is, telling a different story—double-tongued” (Strong’s).
A man who tells the story of Christ with his mouth while telling a different story with his life is guilty (in principle) of being doubletongued.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).
Not given to much wine (v.8)
“See I Tim 3:3. The word ‘much’ is added here to what is said (I Tim 3:2) of the qualification of a bishop. It is not affirmed that it would be proper for the deacon, anymore the bishop, to indulge in the use of wine in small quantities, but it ‘is’ affirmed that a man who is much given to the use of wine ought not, on any consideration, to be a deacon” (Barnes).
Drinking alcohol (in any amount) is condemned by verses like Eph 5:18.
It is akin to saying, “don’t get into a lot of trouble.” Parents who tell their children this do not authorize moderate amounts of trouble!
Not greedy of filthy lucre (v.8)
There is no room for greed.
Some church positions are/were for pay. “For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his reward” (I Tim 5:18).
Greed extends beyond money, however. There is no room for unbridled desire for popularity (Gal 1:10), glory (3 Jn 9), or authority (3 Jn 10). Some have no real interest in working as a deacon, but they see it as the first (necessary) step before becoming an elder which is what they really covet.
Hold the faith (v.9)
“But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). “For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (I Jn 5:4).
Upholding the faith is of utmost importance. Sometimes church leaders can get so bogged down they forget about this.
The word means, “unaccused, that is, (by implication) irreproachable” (Strong’s).
If (when) criticism comes, a deacon is supposed to be someone who repels all accusations. Do you welcome investigation, or does it make you mad? Do you consider your life an open book? Do you appreciate the efforts of your brethren to lovingly point out sin in your life and offer suggestions?
Blameless does not mean sinless (Rom 3:23). Too many shy away from such positions because they feel inferior.
Family matters (vv. 11,12)
God desires that a deacon be married with children. There is valuable experience that comes from such.
The deacon’s wife is to be serious about her Christianity and her husband’s work.
The deacon’s wife is to be faithful in all things. Nothing is left out. She is not to be a slanderer.
A deacon is to rule his own house orderly. A bad home life disqualifies many from noble service as a deacon. Can God say of you what He said about Abraham: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment” (Gen 18:19)?
Barnes explains “husband of one wife” as follows: “It is the most obvious meaning of the language, and would doubtless be thus understood by those to whom it was addressed. At a time when polygamy was common, to say a man should ‘have but one wife’ would also be prohibiting polygamy. The marriage of a second wife, after the death of the first, is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as wrong.”
“And in those days, when the number of the disciples were multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:1-3)
It is crystal clear from Acts 6 (which may or may not focus on the office of a deacon), that first there was a job that needed to be done and then they found a man for that job. The idea of giving someone a position without knowing what job he will do is unscriptural.
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor 15:58).