By Harold Markham
Deacon Qualifications from 1 Timothy 3:8-13
The office of Deacon is an office that should not be taken lightly. It is an office of leadership, but most importantly, it is a specific place of service. The very Greek word means servant. God's method of leadership is servanthood. A good deacon is a servant first, then leads as he serves. The following qualifications are the standard that God directs for what a deacon should be.
- Dignity - "venerable" or "honorable" - This deals with the deacon's relationship to people. Deacons ought to be men of certain dignity, with a consciousness of human worth and divine privilege, and a right relationship to God, making them men who are respected. This is a very important quality and ought to be noted that it is listed first in the qualifications.
- Not double-tongued - This deals with the deacon's relationship with truth. This is the only place in scripture that this word is used. It means saying one thing to one person and something else to another with intent to deceive.
- Not addicted to wine - A deacon has a responsibility towards God in his relationship to alcoholic drink. There is a vast difference between the cultural use of wine in Paul's day and the alcohol industry of today. With the passage in Romans 14:21 in mind and qualification number seven, deacons at NBC are asked to abstain completely from alcoholic beverages.
- Not fond of sordid gain - This deals with the deacon's relationship to money and work ethics. Lit. - "eager for base of dishonorable gain." Covetousness plays a part here, but it is more than that. He must be careful as to how he makes a living; not taking advantage of something or someone. He puts in his rightful time at work, and is careful in every way to be honest to his employer or employees.
- Holding the mystery of faith - This deals with the deacon's relationship to his convictions. He must be a man of conviction. The word "mystery" in the NT means "revealed secret." It is a reference to the full revelation of God that is in Christ Jesus. A deacon must be a man who is a "firm believer" in the Word of God.
- Tested -"tried or discerned" - This deals with the deacon's relationship to faithfulness. He should be one with some experience as to God's leading in his life as well as the lives of others. He should have a proven track record as one who is faithful.
- Beyond reproach - This deals with the deacon's relationship to his testimony. The deacon should be a man that is above reproach, one against whom no charge has been brought. The word idea means "without handles" and indicates a life that is above reproach from anyone who would attempt to bring reproach on him. This is the picture of other's perception of the man.
- Husband of one wife- The Greek text actually reads, "Let deacons be one-woman men." This has to do with a man's fidelity, purity, and loyalty to marriage principles as set forth in God's Word This is dealing with the man being single-mindedly devoted to his wife, totally consecrated and devoted to her. It is more than not divorced.
- Ruling their own home -.This deals with the deacon's relationship to his home. God has ordained the institution of the family first and foremost. It only stands to reason that this qualification be held. The family represents the picture of God's relationship to the church. They are to be good managers not only of their children, but also of their money, possessions, and everything associated with their own households.