THE QUALIFICATIONS OF A DEACON
1 Timothy 3:8-13
8 ¶ Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,
9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.
11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.
13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;
7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
Qualifications of Deacons listed:
A. Must be men of dignity (1 Tim. 3:8)
B. Not double-tongued (1 Tim. 3:8)
C. Not addicted to much wine (1 Tim. 3:8)
D. Not fond of sordid gain (1 Tim. 3:8)
E. Holding to the mystery of faith (1 Tim. 3:9)
F. Has a clear conscience (1 Tim. 3:9)
G. First be tested (1 Tim. 3:10)
H. Beyond reproach (1 Tim. 3:10; Titus 2:8)
I. Husband of only one wife (1 Tim. 3:12)
J. Good manager of his children (1 Tim. 3:12)
K. Good manager of his household(1 Tim. 3:12)
L. Sensible (Titus 2:6)
M. Example of good deeds (Titus 2:7)
N. Pure in doctrine (Titus 2:7)
O. Dignified (Titus 2:7)
P. Sound in speech (Titus 2:8)
The meaning of the word Deacon
The word deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos. This word occurs a number of times in the Scriptures, but only four times to describe what we call deacons in the church today. Diakonos means servant, minister, waiter, or attendant. When used in an official way it describes what we call deacons of the church. In Acts chapter six, the apostles instructed the congregation to select seven men who were to be appointed to the task of daily serving the needs of the congregation. They waited upon the people. They served the widows. They rendered active service toward solving a problem. This is the meaning of the term diakonos.
Reason for Qualifications:
The qualifications for deacons that are given in 1 Timothy 3:8-12 and certain ideas that come to us from Titus 2:7-8 and Acts chapter six, give us guidelines for the men who are responsible to care for the material aspects of God’s people. Every member of the congregation should give the time and prayerful consideration necessary to carefully study God’s word and the lives of potential deacons for this congregation so that only qualified men might be chosen.
Whether a person is to be an elder, deacon, or even an evangelist in the church, a man’s personal qualifications must carefully be considered. It should be remembered that these are qualifications given by God for men, not angels! None of these qualifications are out of reach for today’s church members to achieve.
Elders and deacons are necessary to be appointed if they are available. If qualified men are not available they should not be appointed. No office in the church should be filled just to be filling that office. If work needs to be done, then men should be selected to do the work as in Acts chapter six.
How it worked in the First Century:
1 ¶ Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
3 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
4 "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.
6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
The office of a deacon is that of a servant. Servants serve. They relieve the elders of mundane and routine affairs of the church. The men appointed in the book of Acts were appointed to do a certain task in order that the apostles would not be required to leave the Word of God to serve tables. Even though these were not specifically called deacons, we usually refer to them as the first deacons recorded in the New Testament.
The apostles brought the congregation together, set up the qualifications, gave the number of men, and made the appointments. But notice carefully that it was the church which made the selection of the men (Acts 6:3).
If we include all that is indicated in this passage, and the qualifications listed in Timothy and Titus we could list the personal qualifications for deacons as follows:
An honest life – of good reputation (the congregation, community and neighborhood thinks well of him.)
A spiritual person – full of the Spirit (a person who is directed by that which the Spirit has revealed (i.e. Gal. 5:16).
A person with wisdom – full of…wisdom (his dealings with his fellowman show a person possessing wisdom.)
Maturity of life – the husband of one wife, good managers of their children (old enough to have children and mature enough to manage them well.)
Gravity of conduct – must be men of dignity (honorable, venerable, of serious character.)
Simplicity and sincerity – not double-tongued (keeps the same position on all issues to all people, not telling one person one thing and another person something else).
Of temperate habits – not addicted to much wine (nor to be completely absorbed in any outside interest)
Unselfish – not fond of sordid gain (to love money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Sound in the faith – holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience (well read on the issues in the brotherhood on sound doctrine)
Executive ability – good managers of their children and their own households (not hen-pecked by his wife or children).
The Scriptures tell us those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 3:13).
On the last page is a guide to be used to assist us in selecting men to serve as deacons. Remember, this is only a guide.
GUIDE FOR THE SELECTION OF DEACONS
In my judgment, brother ______________________ is qualified in the following manner:
I. EXPERIENCE IN CHRISTIAN LIFE Excellent Moderate Poor
A. Is he pure in doctrine? ( ) ( ) ( )
B. Is he beyond reproach (blameless)? ( ) ( ) ( )
C. Does he have proven character? ( ) ( ) ( )
D. Does he say one thing and do another? (double-tongued) No ( ) ( ) Yes ( )
E. Is he given to pride? No ( ) ( ) Yes ( )
II. REPUTATION AND HABITS Excellent Moderate Poor
A. Is he well thought of by outsiders ( ) ( ) ( )
B. Does he get along well with people ( ) ( ) ( )
C. Is he sensible (grave) ( ) ( ) ( )
D. Is he sound in speech ( ) ( ) ( )
III. DOMESTIC RELATIONS Excellent Moderate Poor
A. Good manager of his children ( ) ( ) ( )
B. Good manager of his household ( ) ( ) ( )
C. His wife is serious, not a slander, temperate, faithful in all things ( ) ( ) ( )
D. Is he the husband of one wife Yes ( ) No ( )
IV. CHARACTER AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Excellent Moderate Poor
A. Man of dignity ( ) ( ) ( )
B. Not double-tongued ( ) ( ) ( )
C. Is he addicted to wine? ( ) ( ) ( )
D. Is he money hungry? ( ) ( ) ( )
E. Has he been involved in church work? ( ) ( ) ( )
F. Beyond reproach ( ) ( ) ( )
G. Sensible ( ) ( ) ( )
H. Example of good deeds ( ) ( ) ( )
I. Does he have a foul mouth? No ( ) Yes ( )
J. In your opinion will he take the time to do the work of an deacon? Yes ( ) No ( )