1 TIMOTHY 3:8-13

1Timothy 3:8 Deacons in like manner {must be} grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

'Deacons' -1249. diakonos {dee-ak'-on-os}; probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands; compare 1377); an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess): -deacon, minister, servant.

-the word "deacon" has a very ordinary meaning in the New Testament. The Greek term from which this English word comes is used some 30 times in the New Testament, but only five times is it translated 'Deacon'.

-one who executes the commands of another, esp., of a master; a servant, attendant, minister.

-DIAKONOS-primarily denotes a servant.

-The word is used of -Civil Government-Romans 13:4

-Preachers-1 Cor. 3:5; 6:4; Eph. 3:7; 1 Timothy 4:6

-Servants of the church-Eph. 6:21; Romans 16:1

-In a different sense, 'Deacons'-Phil. 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8,12

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

'Servants' -1401. doulos {doo'-los}; from 1210; a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency): -bond(-man), servant.

There is a sense in which a 'Deacon' is different from a Christian who ministers or serves. Paul does not call Timothy and himself, deacons, but servants. The word must then carry an 'official' sense, 'an office'.

'There is a difference in "servants" and "deacons" in this passage (they are different Greek terms), but both Greek words mean "to serve or minister". We must keep in mind that there is a special sense in which 'Diakonos' is used, and there is a general sense in which it is used'

'The English word Deacon is an Anglicized word given by the translators to distinguish between that work of certain qualified men and the work of Christians who generally serve.'

1Timothy 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, if they be blameless.

'Serve as deacons' -1247. diakoneo {dee-ak-on-eh'-o}; from 1249; to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or [figuratively] teacher); techn. to act as a Christian deacon: -(ad-)minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon.

-of the ecclesiastical office -serve as deacon.

Obviously, 'Deacon' means more than just 'servant or minister' in this sense. 'Serve as servers'?



-HOSAUTOS-denotes in like manner, just so, likewise

-in the same way, similarly

'As Bishops must be qualified men, 'in like manner' must the Deacons be qualified in all respects mentioned.'

Titus 2:3 that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; (6)

Each time, 'likewise' introduces a new category; the idea is that as Older men have responsibilities, so do Older women and younger men. And yet we are not to understand that the younger men also have the responsibilities stated to the older women.

'It does not mean that the deacons must be qualified in all respects and qualities of a bishop, otherwise, there would be no need to mention all these qualities again.'

In addition, why even has a separate class?


'Must Be' -obviously the translators assumed that the 'must be' of 3:2; also attached to the qualifications of deacons; and the women mentioned in 3:11.

'Grave' -to be venerated for character, honorable.

-SEMNOS-serious, grave. The word points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct.

-Worthy of respect or honor, noble, dignified, serious.

A man who inspires respect by his conduct and deportment

The character of the deacon must be such that he is respect and honored by men in general. Often younger men are prone to be light-hearted and irresponsible in certain duties given to them, a man who would be dependable and trustworthy.

The word points to seriousness of purpose and self-respect in conduct. HIGH PRINCIPLE.

'Their tasks, however humble, are to be performed seriously and with becoming gravity' Erdman p. 49

Translations: 'Worthy of respect' (Amp)

'Serious Outlook' (Phi)


-double in speech, saying one thing with one person another with another (with intent to deceive).

-DILOGOS-primarily means saying the same thing twice, saying a thing to one person and giving a different view of it to another


Translations: 'not indulging in double talk' (NEB)

'not shifty and double talkers but sincere in what they say' (Amp)


'A deacon, in his going from house to house, and in his dealings with those who needed charity, had to be a straight man'

'Persons who are in an intermediate position (between elders and members) are exposed to a temptation to speak of the same matter in different tones and manner..depending upon who they are speaking to'

The deacons will be reporting to the elders, they need to be men who are reliable in the presentation of facts, and not two-faced..deacons must not speak anything but the truth in all matters and to all people.

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

In dealing with people, and their problems, the deacon also will be subject to the temptation of spreading gossip.


'Given' -to be given or addicted to

-to turn one's mind to, attend to, of giving oneself up to

-to occupy oneself with, devote or apply oneself to, addicted to much wine.

'Much' -abundant, plenteous (Thayer p. 529)


'By the use of several historic citations, Dr. Stein establishes firmly that in N.T. times, before wine was drunk it was mixed with water. The ratio of water to wine varied, but the most common mixture seemed to be 3 parts water to 1 part wine. At times the ratio went down to 1 to 1 or even lower, but when it did the substance was referred to as "strong drink". While the ratio of water to wine might vary, only the barbarians drink it unmixed'

'The alcoholic content of ancient wine was considerably lower than that of modern wine..."All wine in ancient times was light wine i.e. not fortified with extra alcohol. Concentrated alcohol was only known in the Middle Ages when the Arabs invented distillation ('alcohol' is an Arabic word)...the twenty percent fortified wines were unknown in bible times. (TWOT p. 376)


-eager for base gain (Thayer p. 17)

-Same as 3:3 and Titus 1:7

-fond of dishonest gain, greedy for money

Translations: 'not greedy for ill-gotten gains' (Ber)


'craving wealth and resorting to ignoble and dishonest methods of getting it' (Amp)

a. The deacons probably will have access to church funds-distributing money, etc..reporting expenses for reimbursement.

b. Does this man 'put the kingdom first' (Matthew 6:33); or material possessions?

c. Cannot use the 'office' for dishonest gain or selfish pursuits.


'Holding' -to hold fast, keep (Thayer p. 266)

-ECHO -used of mental conception, of steadfast adherence to faith, or the faith (1 Tim. 1:19; 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:13)

-keep, preserve (Arndt p. 332)

'Mystery' -spiritual truth generally, as revealed in the gospel

-a REVEALED SECRET. (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 115)

Ephesians 3:3 how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words,

Ephesians 3:6 {to wit}, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

Ephesians 6:19 And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

'Of the faith' -the substance of Christian faith or what is believed by Christians

-The faith is equivalent to the gospel. (P.P. Comm. p. 53)

-might be paraphrased, 'the revealed truth of Christianity' (p. 53)

-The subject matter of the faith. (Vincent p. 234)

-'holding to the faithful word' (Titus 1:9)

'These must be men who combine a clear conscience with a firm hold on the deep truths of our faith' (NEB)

-Means the knowledge of Christ and his salvation. They must practice what they preach, so that they can hold the Christian faith with a clear conscience. (Barclay p. 85)

'Pure' -free from every admixture of what is false, sincere

-'Clear conscience' (NEB) '

Points to Note:

a. The Deacon is a man who doesn't violate his conscience; he is a sincere and honest man.

b. He is unmovable in his holding to the faith, a man of conviction. He has a firm and good grasp of the message of the faith. He knows his Bible.

c. A man of stable character.

Clearly this is more than just a 'church janitor'. This qualification asks, 'how much do they know about "the faith"?


'These' -i.e. these men being considered for deacons

'Also' -as well as the Bishops.

'First be proved' -1381. dokimazo {dok-im-ad'-zo}; from 1384; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve: -allow, discern, examine, X like, (ap-)prove, try.

-to test, examine (to see whether a thing be genuine or not) (Thayer p. 154)

-put to the test, examine (Arndt p. 202)

Translations: 'let them also be tested first' (RSV) 'should first be tested till approved' (Wms) 'they must first undergo a scrutiny' (NEB)

Point to Note:

'It was the belief and practice among many pioneer preachers that this passage taught that men should first be put into the office of bishop and deacon and let them develop and prove themselves there'.

But notice the order in the first:

'First be proved' -of time, in the first place, before, to begin with (Arndt p. 726)

'THEN LET THEM SERVE' -the word 'First' tells the rank or order of time of proving, the word 'then' tells when the office (work) may be filled by the man.

The church proves the men when the selection is made from among them. i.e. no unqualified man can serve. The fact that the deacons, as well as the elders, must be first proved implies that someone must prove them.

'If they be blameless' -410. anegkletos {an-eng'-klay-tos}; from 1 (as a negative particle) and a derivative of 1458; unaccused, i.e. (by implication) irreproachable: -blameless.

-that no specific charge of wrong-doing had been laid against him (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 115)

-that cannot be called to account, unreprovable, unaccused (Titus 1:6) (Thayer p. 44)

-ANENKLETOS-signifies that which cannot be called to account, i.e. with nothing laid to one's charge (as the result of public investigation) (Vine p. 131)

-it implies not merely acquittal, but the absence of even a charge or accusation against a person. (Vine p. 131)

Translations: 'and only appointed to their Office if no objection is raised against them' (TCNT)

'if they are of unblemished character' (Wey)

'if there is no fault to be found with them' (Gspd)


VIII. 1Timothy 3:11 Women in like manner {must be} grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

'Women' -'Even so must their wives be' (KJV)

-(Con, Ber, Phi)

-1135. gune {goo-nay'}; probably from the base of 1096; a woman; specially, a wife: -wife, woman.

-a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow (Thayer p. 123)

-GUNE-a woman, married or unmarried, a wife (the reference in 3:11 may be to the wives of deacons)

'Whether this is a list of qualifications for women who serve the church or for the wives of deacons (elders) is not clear. Since it is right in the midst of qualifications for DEACONS, I am inclined to think it refers to their wives' (Williams p. 23)

'In like manner' -same as verse 8 (a new category). These are neither elders or deacons.


Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church that is at Cenchreae:

'Servant' -side ref. 'deaconess'; the same word rendered 'deacon'.

'In Romans 16:1 Phoebe is described as a 'diakonos' (RSV 'DEACONNESS'), but since the form is masculine, without article, and since the first indications of an office of "deaconess" appear only in the 3rd century, it is highly doubtful that the verse refers to a specific and definite church office. The 'women' of 1 Timothy 3:11 prob. refers to the wives of deacons'

Points to Note:

1. There is nothing that demands that 'servant' means 'deacon' in Romans 16:1. We don't translate, or even understand the following 'men' to be deacons: (Eph. 6:21; Col. 1:23,25; 4:7; 1 Thess. 3:2; 1 Tim. 4:6).

In all these passages the word simply means 'servant'; with no 'official sense'.

2. Where are the 'Deaconess's'? (Philippians 1:1)

3. In 1 Timothy 3 the offices are specifically named 'office of a bishop' (3:1); 'Deacons in like manner' (3:8). It says 'women'; not 'Deaconess'.

If an offical class were intended we should expect something more specific than 'women or wives' without the article. (Vincent p. 236)

4. Very few qualifications. Must she be married? What about her children?

'must be grave' -same as verse 8.

Translations: 'dignified, worthy of respect and serious, serious-minded, honorable, 'their wives should share their serious outlook'

'Not slanderers' -1228. diabolos {dee-ab'-ol-os}; from 1225; a traducer; specially, Satan [compare 7854]: -false accuser, devil, slanderer.

-a calumniator, accuser (false) (Thayer p. 135)

-DIABOLOS-those who are given to finding fault with the demeanor and conduct of others. (Vine p. 39)

Translations: 'who will not talk scandal' (NEB)

'not gossips' (Gspd)

'and must be women of discretion and self-control' (Phi)

'They must not be "slanderers", for it would be very easy to make a wrong use of the many details which they would learn in reference to the private lives of the members of the congregation and of their families'

'Temperate' -3524. nephaleos {nay-fal'-eh-os}; or nephalios {nay-fal'-ee-os}; from 3525; sober, i.e. (figuratively) circumspect: -sober.

-NEPHALIOS-(3:2 'vigilant') (Vine p. 114)

-lit., temperate in the use of alcoholic beverages, sober, clear-headed, self-controlled (Arndt p. 538)

-'controlling themselves' (Bas)

-sober, temperate; abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use.

-Lit., temperate in the use of alcoholic beverages, sober, clear-headed, self-controlled.

'Faithful in all things' -trusty, faithful (Thayer p. 514)

-trustworthy in every respect (Arndt p. 664).

Translations: 'women who can be trusted' (Phi)

Faithful in keeping secrets, faithful in keeping appointments, faithful to God.


-the same as elders.

Here is a good argument against women being deacons. Paul used the word 'servant' (deacon) of himself (1 Cor. 3:6); and yet the qualifications that he gives for deacons would excuse himself-as well as women. If Paul is excluded, then so are women.

Translations: 'must be only once married' (Gspd)


'Ruling' -same as 3:4

-PROISTEMI-lit., to stand before, to lead, attend to (indicating care and diligence) (Vine p. 307)

-literally, being at the head of, presiding over (P.P. Comm. p. 54)

'Well' -2573. kalos {kal-oce'}; adverb from 2570; well (usually morally): -(in a) good (place), honestly, + recover, (full) well.

-'fitly ruling' (Con) 'properly' (Mof)

-fitly, appropriately, in the right way, (Arndt p. 401)

-rightly, so that there shall be no room for blame (Thayer p. 323)

'Children' -

'A distributive usage of the plural is found in 1 Timothy 3:12. 'Deacons (plural) must rule their children (plural), hence each deacon must have at least one, and may have more. The distributive plural sets forth a minimum (at least one each) and not a maximum (not more than one each) standard. Incidentally, it is asked sometimes how could Paul have indicated that an elder could be qualified with only one child, but might have more. This passages shows how.'

1Timothy 3:13 For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

'Served well' -'ministered well' (Rhm) 'render good service' (Wms) 'filled that post with honour' (TCNT) 'well performed' (Con).

'Gain' -to get for one's self, purchase (Thayer p. 504)

-Acquire, gain, obtain for oneself (Arndt p. 650)

'good standing'-win a good standing (or rank) for oneself; of a grade of dignity and wholesome influence in the church.

Deacons who perform well have as a consequence real confidence in the sphere of their Christian faith. (Kent p. 143)

ACTS 6:3-4:

'HONEST REPORT' -3140. martureo {mar-too-reh'-o}; from 3144; to be witness, i.e. testify (literally or figuratively): -charge, give [evidence], bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.

-'good report, who can be well-attested, good reputation, good standing'. Men of good reputation.

'to be well reported of, accredited, attested, approved' (Thayer p. 391) Be well spoken of, approved (Arndt p. 493)

Means he must be right in all his dealings with his fellows. If one's reputation is not good, then he cannot serve as an deacon. The deacon must have a good record as a Christian. One having the reputation of being self-willed, arrogant, contentious, fault-finding, not dependable in work or word-cannot serve.

'FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT' -this does not mean, the ability to work miracles (6:6,8)

'Means the same as Ephesians 5:18. One who walks by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)'.

'FILLED WITH WISDOM' -'and of good practical sense' (Wms)

It's not enough to be filled with 'zeal' (Romans 10:1-2).

James 1:5 But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

He must be acquainted with God's word, he must have studied it so that his performance will always be in harmony with God's word.

Author Unknown

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