FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

THE ORDER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST – PART 22

Qualifications of Deacons

 

1 Timothy 3:8-13Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

 

As we have previously established, the deacons are servant helpers to the bishops, or elders. This is additionally why we have the qualifications given to Timothy who is laboring in a Body of Christ with elders.

 

Likewise: This is presented at the beginning of the qualifications, and at the conclusion of the qualifications of elders to establish that in all of these things to come, they are to be considered in the same or like manner of serious teaching and consideration. It goes back to Vs. 2, where Paul establishes that an elder “Must Be” according to the qualifications. In the same way, the deacons “Must Be” according the coming qualifications (no on the job training, they must be able to demonstrate the qualifications). 

 

Reverent: These servants must demonstrate a reverent decorum, a quiet gravity which never interferes; but shows a constant example of reverent service.

 

Not Double-Tongued: I always think of the Indians of the old west when I read this. We have seen them in movies speaking of their dealings with the leaders of various government entities and referring to them as “The Chiefs of the Double-Tongues”; because they never kept their word.

This is the same meaning it has here. Deacons are to be truthful; never talking two ways to suit the company they may be in.

Not Given to Much Wine: We dealt with this in the qualifications of elders as well. The primary use of this instruction is to denote “One who sits long at his wine” and means to be drunken, and addicted to wine. Many translations give it an additional meaning of “quarrelsome over wine”; hence to be a brawler or abusive in drunkenness.

In fact, the two ideas of “sitting long at wine” and “quarrelsome over wine” go hand in hand, as one usually leads to the other.

A man considered to be a deacon is not the caliber of person who would put himself in a situation whereby he sits long at anything that controls his conduct against the demanded good report he must have. In fact, this instruction has the same weight to every Christian in the same way!

Not Greedy for Money: The deacons, like the elders, must not be lovers of money (seeking it to fulfill the lust of it). They should never be so anxious for it as to neglect their duty in order to obtain it (Romans 13:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Holding the Mystery of Faith: Paul refers to the doctrine of Christ here as a mystery due simply to the place in time of the state of the permanent revelation. Much of what is held at this time is that which is taught via word of mouth (2 Timothy 2:2). Never-the-less, whether given orally by an established source, or in permanence in the written word, these servants were to seek the instruction in purity of conscience.

Perversion of conscience occurs when one is instructed one way; however, chooses of his own accord to disregard that instruction for his own desires. Paul instructed Christians in Rome that the only way they could achieve this pure conscience was through intellectual morality in humility, note:

Romans 12:2-3And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Let Them First be Tested: This is such an important understanding for this special service; especially considering the correlation between so many of these qualifications with those of the elders.

As elders age, die, and or attrition occurs from un-faithfulness, we see the wisdom of the Lord for His Body to always be self-sufficient in the ability to replace attrition with scriptural replacements when the time comes. In addition, as these men prove themselves into the qualifications of elders, by first proving themselves as servants, the Body of Christ is confident in these who have demonstrated Spirit derived abilities already.

To those who would be selected as deacons, remember that all are to be watching you, and testing your resolve to serve the Lord and the Body.

Blameless: This means, “One against whom no evil charge can be sustained”; “One who is above an established charge of evil”. This does not mean one who has never sinned or will never err; but one who has made his errors right and who always will before His God through Jesus Christ – 1 John 1:7-2:2.

Likewise Their Wives Must Be: Once again after the same pattern as elders and deacons, their wives must additionally demonstrate Spirit directed qualifications. First this says, without saying, that deacons must be married and only men.

Reverent: As the wife of the deacon, she must have shown herself to be of serious and earnest deportment (demeanor), not light-minded and frivolous, but cheerful, hopeful, and earnest.

Not Slanderers: They are to never be guilty of circulating false reports, or given to gossip, especially that which injures others.

Temperate: This is to be calm and collected in spirit, dispassionate to the inane, circumspect.

Faithful in All Things: This may be best described by Paul as he gave Titus instructions concerning the foundations for a sound Body of Christ, note:

Titus 2:3-5the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Husband of One Wife: The Apostle Paul demands in both passages of qualifications given that the elder is the husband of one wife; he additionally command the same here. This literally means a ‘one woman’ man. It does not speak to marriages, as we will see in this simple exercise.

There are five types of practice that we will consider to see the simplicity of Paul’s instruction.

- A man who is married to his wife, the only wife he has ever had to date. This man would be the husband of one woman!

- A man who loses his wife by death, and then remarries has but one woman, and additionally has no conflict with the present tense of Paul’s teaching.

- A man who has remarried after the scriptural divorce of a previous wife and has remained blameless has but one woman, and is additionally not in conflict with Paul’s teaching.

- A man who has many wives and is practicing polygamy (still acceptable in many cultures), is not a one woman man and cannot serve as an elder by Paul’s instruction.

- By omission, a bachelor is not a one woman man, and is thus disqualified by not having a household in subjection, a wife in subjection, or a demonstrative ability to rule his own house well.

The term one woman man means just that, not more than one, but must have one (which in God’s wisdom completes him). In everyday language we would use this terminology in similar understanding without issue; for example: “a one farm man” – the owner of a single farm in the present tense (which does not speak in the present tense if he has ever owned any other farms, but that right now he has one), or “a worshipper of one God” would in the present tense exclude atheists (a no god man), or polytheist (a many god man).

So, it is with the elder and now deacon in the context of these qualifications, which demands the deacon to be a family man with a single scriptural wife; anything else will not satisfy the language of the Apostle of Christ.

Ruling their Children and Home Well: In the same way, the importance of the domestic qualifications as given by Paul for elders and deacons are noted in the fact that they are the ones that most clearly demonstrates capabilities. If they can care properly for their own, it is a good sign that they will likewise care for the Body of Christ and their charge in the same way.

The wisdom of deacons as given by the Lord could clearly be seen in our previous lesson; as they allow the elders to focus on spiritual leadership. In addition to this wisdom, we see in the last verse of the list of qualifications, Paul’s knowledge of the wisdom of the Lord for the future of the Bodies of Christ in maintaining the Lord’s order, note:

“For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Next: “Evangelists!”