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In I Timothy chapter 3 Paul told Timothy to ordain Deacons. Qualifications for deacons are also listed there. The Greek word "diakŏnŏs" is translated "deacon" when it indicates a specific office in the church. In other places the same word is translated minister, administer, serve, ministry, relief, and service. (A similar example from English: If I said "He is Dr. Jones' Assistant", you would understand him to be employed by Dr. Jones in an official capacity. If I said "Will you assist me with these groceries?", I have used the same word, but not to indicate an official office.) It is clear that, the office of a deacon is an office of service to the church. Consider these events from Acts 6.

Acts 6:1-3 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

The Apostles rightly discerned that they themselves must not get busy with the care of widows lest important matters like the study of the Word of God, and attendance to prayer be neglected. They laid down guidelines for the Church to select men to watch over this business: "...honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and Wisdom." Paul told Timothy:

1 Tim 3:8-12Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Grave--solemn, sober, serious. Doubletongued--making contrary declarations on the same subject at different times. Given to much wine-- using a great amount of alcohol. Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience-- Both understanding and heartily accepting the doctrines of the faith. First be proved--Having had sufficient time to show his faithfulness. Wife grave, sober, and faithful in all things-- a man's wife can disqualify him. Husband of one wife-- Not divorced/remarried. Ruling children and house well-- Successful domestically and as a parent.

God intends for servants of the church be Godly, mature, stable christians whose testimony is beyond reproach. The church that has very high standards for its servants is certainly justified by the Bible.

By Dave Thompson

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