Summary: SERVING THE CHURCH OF GOD IN THE PRIVILEGED ROLE OF DEACON ALSO REQUIRES MEN OF PROVEN CHARACTER AND RESPECTABLE FAMILIES
QUALIFICATIONS FOR DEACONS -- MEN OF DIGNITY
SERVING THE CHURCH OF GOD IN THE PRIVILEGED ROLE OF
DEACON ALSO REQUIRES MEN OF PROVEN CHARACTER AND
Wiersbe: "The first deacons were appointed to be assistants to the apostles. In a local church today deacons relieve the pastors/elders of other tasks so that they may concentrate on the ministry of the Word, prayer, and spiritual oversight."
I. (:8-12) QUALIFICATIONS FOR DEACON
A. General Qualification -- "men of dignity"
B. Men of Integrity
1. Trustworthy -- "not double-tongued"
not a liar or a gossip; you can trust what he says
Earle: "has the idea of saying something twice, with the bad connotation of saying one thing to one person and something else to another… Metaphorically,
the word means ’insincere’ …"
2. Self-controlled -- "not addicted to much wine"
3. Honest -- "or fond of sordid gain"
4. Good Conscience in Faith and Practice --
"but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience"
C. Men of Proven Experience
"And let these also first be tested then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach."
D. Men with Exemplary Wives -- "women must likewise be"
Note: talking about wives of deacons rather than an office of deaconess
Ryrie: "Most likely a reference to the wives of the deacons, rather than to a separate office of deaconess, since the qualifications for deacons are continued in v. 12. If he had a different group in mind, it would seem more natural for Paul to have finished the qualifications for deacons before introducing the office.of deaconess."
Hiebert disagrees: "The ancient interpreters generally took the view that the reference is to deaconesses. The New Testament gives indication that
deaconesses existed in some apostolic churches. Phoebe is called ’a deacon of
the church that is at Cenchrea’ (Rom. 16:1, Gr.).’"
1. General Requirement: "dignified"
2. "not malicious gossips"
4. "faithful in all things"
E. Men of Good Homes
1. "husbands of only one wife"
2. "good managers of their children and their own households"
II. (:13) REWARD FOR FAITHFUL SERVICE
A. Prerequisite: Faithful Service
"For those who have served well as deacons"
B. Reward -- "obtain for themselves"
1. "high standing"
Hiebert: "The word ’standing’ means ’a step’ and so denotes an advanced position. Paul is not speaking of the ecclesiastical advancement of the deacon to
the overseership, nor is he speaking of the future reward in glory. The reference is to the excellent community standing and recognition which they require
through their having rendered good service."
Possibly refers as well to excellent standing with God?
2. "great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus"
* * * * * * * * * *
1) Should we view the office of deacon as a stepping stone to the eldership (i.e. you prove yourself first in this realm of responsibility and then possibly move up to elder) or view them as two very distinct offices with different types of individuals better suited
for one or the other?
2) Do you think this passage favors the inclusion of women as a separate office of deaconess or is it talking about the wives of deacons here?
3) How does this passage impact the debate over the Christian’s abstinence or temperate use of alcohol? What was different about their situation as opposed to today?
4) What can we do to increase our "confidence in the faith"? What is meant by that expression? Apparently all Christians do not have the same level of confidence in the faith.
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