1 Timothy 3.8-Paul Presents The First Four Qualifications That Must Be Met By Those Men Who Aspire To Be Deacons

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1 Timothy: 1 Timothy 3:8-Paul Presents The First Four Qualifications That Must Be Met By Those Men Who Aspire To Be Deacons-Lesson # 60

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Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Thursday April 28, 2011

www.wenstrom.org

1 Timothy: 1 Timothy 3:8-Paul Presents The First Four Qualifications That Must Be Met By Those Men Who Aspire To Be Deacons

Lesson # 60

Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Timothy 3:8.

In 1 Timothy 3:8-13, the apostle Paul presents eight qualifications that must be met in order for men to hold the office of deacon in the local assembly.

In this pericope he also presents in verse 11 four qualifications that the deacon’s wives must meet in order for these men to be installed in this office.

Thus, in this passage we have twelve qualifications that must be fulfilled by men in order for them to hold the office of a deacon.

1 Timothy 3:8 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. (NASU)

This list is similar in many ways with the one in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 that addresses the qualifications for those men with the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher who aspire to the office of overseer.

In fact, of the nine qualifications of the deacon, six parallel the ones related to the overseer.

Both lists contain qualifications that prohibit alcoholism (verses 3 and 8) and being greedy for money (verse 3 and 8).

Both contain the qualification of being beyond reproach (verse 2 and 10) even though they describe this qualification with different words which are synonyms.

They both require being level-headed, i.e. temperate (verse 2 and 11) but verse 11 requires the deacon’s wives to be level-headed whereas verse 2 requires this of the overseer.

Lastly, both lists require one to be a good manager of one’s own household and to be a one-woman man.

Therefore, both lists require mature Christian character.

Both lists do not require sinless perfection but rather they emphasize that the qualifications of both the overseer and the deacon must stand out as prominent and consistent in a man’s life before he can be assigned to these offices.

The list in verses 8-13 contains qualifications that are unique to the office of deacon or in other words, this list does not contain qualifications that appear in verses 1-7.

For example, the latter contains the qualification of being a skillful teacher in verse 2 whereas the former does not.

Also, the list in verses 1-7 contains the qualification of taking care of the church of God whereas the list in verses 8-13 does not, thus, we can infer that teaching and being the top authority in the church of God is not a qualification of a deacon.

Furthermore, in verse 3 Paul teaches that the pastor must be magnanimous and not contentious whereas deacons are not given this qualification.

This probably is related to the fact that deacons are not responsible to oversee the congregation and administer discipline and direction.

They are also not required to be hospitable as the overseer is, which does not imply that a deacon is not to be hospitable since this is required of all Christians.

Rather, it simply emphasizes that this characteristic should be prominent in the life of the pastor since he is to lead the church and is responsible to exemplify the love of God more than anyone and hospitality is a major expression of that love.

Also, the qualification of not being a new convert is found in the list pertaining to pastors whereas it does not appear for the list related to deacons.

Neither, is the qualification of having an excellent reputation with the unsaved in the community.

The qualification that a deacon must first be tested in verse 10 is another way of saying that he must not be a new convert.

It appears that the list related to pastors present qualifications that are related to temptations associated with spiritual leadership whereas the list pertaining to deacons does not.

Like the list in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the list here in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 contains qualifications that are expressed both positively and negatively.

Both lists address the man’s home life, public life and church life or they can be viewed as addressing one’s relationship to self, family, others and things.

The office of deacon is one of two offices authorized for the local church (1Tim.3:8-13) and the other is that of pastor-teacher (1 Tim. 3:1-7).

Acts 6 records a crisis that arose in the early days of the church during the first century A.D. and the apostles dealt with it by exercising the authority the Lord delegated to them (Matthew 16:17-19) by creating the office of deacon, thus out of this crisis arose the office of deacon.

In 1 Timothy 3:8, the apostle Paul presents the first four of twelve qualifications that a man must fulfill in order that he may assume the office of deacon.

1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain. (NASU)

“Deacons likewise must be men of dignity” is composed of the accusative masculine plural form of the noun diakonos (διάκονος) (thee-ak-owe-noce), “deacons” which is followed by the adverb of manner hosautos (ὡσαύτως) (oce-owf-toce), “likewise” and the accusative masculine plural form of the adjective semnos (σεμνός) (sem-noce), “men of dignity.”

Here in 1 Timothy 3:8, the adverb of manner hosautos marks a similarity between the qualifications of the overseer in verses 1-7 with that of the deacons in verses 8-13.

It indicates that the deacons have qualifications that are similar but not identical to that of the overseer’s qualifications.

Therefore, hosautos is marking the similarity between the qualifications of the overseers with that of the deacons.

Just as the pastor-teacher must fulfill certain qualifications to be promoted to the office of overseer so those men who want to be deacons have to fulfill certain qualifications as well, though no identical.

Therefore, hosautos means “similarly” and not only compares the list for the overseer in verses 1-7 with that of the deacon’s in verses 8-13 but also distinguishes the two, thus indicating that the deacons are distinguished from the overseers.

The noun diakonos refers to the office of deacon, which was a position of honor and was commissioned by the apostles so that they might be able to maintain their priorities, namely prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:1-9).

The function of a deacon is to serve the individual members of the local assembly by seeing to it their needs are met, thus by doing so the deacons would enable the apostles (communicators of the Word) to fulfill their responsibilities of being devoted to prayer, study and teaching the Word of God.

The adjective semnos means “dignified” and describes someone who is worthy of respect and honorable and describes an individual who is serious and not a clown, yet not devoid of a sense of humor.

“Not double tongued” is composed of the negative particle me (μή) (me), “not” and the accusative masculine plural form of the adjective dilogos (δίλογος) (theelogoce), “double-tongued.”

The adjective dilogos means “hypocritical” since it describes someone who is not honest but rather insincere.

It refers to someone who talks out of both sides of his mouth meaning he tells something to someone and another thing to someone else.

Romans 12:8 and 1 Peter 2:1 prohibit the believer from getting involved with hypocrisy.

Dilogos in 1 Timothy 3:8 teaches that a deacon must not be an individual who betrays confidences or talks about others in derogatory terms.

Proverbs 17:9 He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. (NASU)

Proverbs 11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter. (NASU)

Therefore, in 1 Timothy 3:8, the adjective dilogos means “hypocritical” and its meaning is negated by negative particle me, “not” which denies any idea of a deacon being hypocritical.

“Or addicted to much wine” is composed of the negative particle me (μή) (me), “or” and the dative masculine singular form of the noun oinos (οἶνος) (ee-noce), “wine” and the dative masculine singular form of the adjective polus (πολύς) (police), “much” and the accusative masculine plural present active participle form of the verb prosecho (προσέχω) (prose-eh-koe), “addicted to.”

The verb prosecho means “to addicted to” wine and its meaning is negated by the negative particle me, “not” which denies any idea of a deacon being addicted to wine.

The adjective polus denotes the concept of excessiveness indicating that a deacon must not consume alcohol excessively.

“Or fond of sordid gain” is composed of the negative particle me (μή) (me), “or” and the accusative masculine plural form of the adjective aischrokerdes (αἰσχροκερδής) (escrow-kear-deece), “fond of sordid gain.”

The adjective aischrokerdes means “greedy” and its meaning is negated by the negative particle me, “not” which denies any idea of a deacon being greedy.

This qualification corresponds to the qualification with respect to the overseer in verse 3 that he must not be a lover of money.

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