Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Who Is Qualified to Be a Deacon? A Careful Analysis of 1 Timothy 3:8-13 (Part 3 of 3)

Let deacons each be
 the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well” (1 Tim. 3:12). 
This basically repeats what is expected of overseers (vv. 2, 4), without presupposing older children. Being a “husband” and “managing” a household “well” involves so much more than a marriage certificate and the ability to procreate or adopt. Faithfulness in marriage is assumed, along with other marital obligations,1 plus family engagement, care, provision, and spiritual leadership. Having the kind of wife described in the previous verse is indispensible.
For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13).
The verbal diakonéō (“serve”) is repeated from v. 10, once again highlighting the service nature of the deacons’ work (cf. v. 8), with the adv. kalōs (“well”) descriptive of the quality envisaged (cf. vv. 4, 12; 5:17). “Service carries with it honor. In the deaconship as in all other ministry in the church there is honor. But in the church as elsewhere service goes before honor and real honor comes only of service.”2
Consequently they “gain” (“obtain,” NASB; “acquire,” CSB) a good [kalós] standing,” a level of excellence noted throughout the letter (1:8, 18; 2:3; 3:1, 7; 4:4, 6; 5:10, 25; 6:12, 13, 18, 19). Their reputation and influence earn the respect, appreciation, and recognition of those among whom they serve, not to mention the everlasting reward (cf. 1:16; 4:8; 6:19). They likewise have “great confidence” [parrēsía], “assurance” (NIV), “boldness” (ASV, CSB, N/KJV) in “faith  in Christ Jesus,” as opposed to “fear, ambiguity, or reserve,”3 an example worthy of emulation. 
“A deacon is more than a diligent worker in the church. He is a divinely designated role model of righteousness and responsibility. Whatever it takes, he gets the job done…. A deacon is a protector, promoter, and champion of Christ’s church.”4 Thank God for faithful, dependable, hard-working deacons and their families.
--Kevin L. Moore
     1 1 Cor. 7:2-5, 33; Eph. 5:25-33; 1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Pet. 3:7. 
     2 P. E. Burroughs, Honoring the Deaconship 25. 
     3 K. S. Wuest, The Pastoral Epistles 62. 
     4 A. Johnson, Dynamic Deacons 8.
Related PostsDeacons' Qualifications Part 1Part 2
Image credit: adapted from https://www.liber.co.jp/knowhow/column/column844.html


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