Selection and Qualifications of Deacons
Deacons are important to our congregation. Deacons are a distinct group of men that serves the congregation. We see this in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in which he addresses the saints, including the elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1).
The Word “Deacon”
- “Deacon” is translated from the Greek word diakonos and means “servant.”
- Diakonos also refers to men holding the office of deacon, meaning they serve the congregation under the oversight of the elders.
Work of Deacons, Example of Their Selection
- In Acts 6:1-6, brethren in Jerusalem selected seven men to serve the congregation.
- Besides exemplifying deacons’ work, this Scripture gives us an example of the selection process. The apostles gave the qualifications of deacons to the congregation and asked the people to select men who met the qualifications. Then at a later date, the apostles appointed them.
- We do not have the exact details of the process in Scripture. So each congregation must establish a suitable technique to accomplish the selection and ordination of deacons.
Tested Before Ordained
- Like elders, men must be tested before serving as deacons. If they prove to be qualified, they may be ordained (1 Tim. 3:10).
- The way we test them is to see whether they meet the qualifications in the Bible (1 Tim. 3:8-13).
Moral and Spiritual Integrity
- Men qualified to serve as deacons have moral and spiritual integrity, a trait all Christians should possess (1 Tim. 3:8-10).
- Dignity (reverent, grave)
- Not double-tongued
- Not addicted to much wine (not given to much wine)
- Not fond of sordid gain (not greedy for money, not the greed of filthy lucre)
- Holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience
- Beyond reproach (blameless)
- These men behave in a dignified and reverent manner; therefore, they are grave. Deacons are serious about serious matters and do not take them lightly.
- These men are not double-tongued. They do not say one thing to one person and something different to another person. Deacons are consistent and truthful, even when they make mistakes.
- Deacons are not addicted to much wine. Literally translated, they are “not holding the mind” on much wine. Deacons have no desire to partake of much wine, which would result in drunkenness and impaired judgment.
- Deacons are not fond of sordid gain. They are not men who try to make money illegally or in ways that hurt others.
- Deacons are holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. They are faithful to the gospel of Christ and possess a clear conscience (Jas. 4:17).
- Deacons are beyond reproach (blameless). A sustainable charge of sin cannot be brought against them.
Lawfully Married to a Faithful Wife
- A deacon must be the husband of one wife, meaning he is lawfully married (1 Tim. 3:12).
- The deacon’s wife must also meet qualifications, which enable her to help her husband rather than hinder him (1 Tim. 3:11).
- Dignified (reverent)
- Not malicious gossips (not slanderous)
- Temperate (sober)
- Faithful in all things
- Deacons’ wives must be dignified and reverent, just as their husbands (1 Tim. 3:8).
- They are not malicious gossips and slanderous. Gossips habitually reveal personal or sensational facts to hurt others. Slanderers utter false charges or misrepresentations to defame and malign others. A wife who gossips and slanders is not only sinning but hurting her husband and his work.
- Rather than gossiping and slandering, deacons’ wives are temperate and sober. They are in complete control of themselves and faithful in all things.
Deacon’s Management of His Home
- Besides being lawfully married to a faithful wife (1 Tim. 3:12), a deacon must also have at least one child.
- Notice the language in 1 Tim. 3:12, as Paul uses the plural form of words relating to deacons, their children, and their households.
- “Deacons must be husbands of only one wife and good managers of their children and their own households.”
- Since Paul uses the plural this way, he is not specific regarding the number of children a man must have to qualify as a deacon. Therefore, a man with any number of children can be qualified.
- Deacons are good managers of their children and households. This shows they have a good track record as managers, and the skills to be managers in the church.
A Deacon’s Reward
- Deacons who serve well “obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13).
- They have confidence in the reward the Lord will give (Matt. 23:11-12).