Qualifications of Elders and Deacons
Desire- To reach out to grasp something. One must not desire it for the wrongs reasons like power the title or from pride. The main reason one should desire it is to glorify God and to try and get people to heaven. One should not be an elder if they don’t desire the office.
Blameless- Not sinless this is a big misconception Rom 3:23, 1Jn 1:8. Only Jesus was sinless Heb. 4:15. Peter was an elder 1Pet 5:1, yet he was found in sin Gal 1:11. The word blameless means one who cannot be attacked because of his moral conduct. This is a man who right with God. Its important for an elder to have the characteristic because he is an example to the flock 1Pet 5:3. How can an elder be an effective leader in rebuking someone for a sin that they themselves are entangled in? It is easy to follow the leadership of the elders when they are not called into question about their about their faithfulness to the Word of God or their righteousness or Godliness. These are the kind of men Elders are to be.
of one wife- This simply means a one women man. This means
that an elder must be married and he must only have one wife. This verse also
shows that its only men that are to be elders because only a man can be the
husband of one wife. Some get confused about this idea of what is meant by the
husband of one wife. Some think this means a elder can
only be married one time, and still be qualified. Is this the case? Rom 7:1-4, 1Cor
Temperate - The original meaning of this word is to abstain from wine but also carries the meaning of one who is not given to excesses. This means that one has the ability to think and reason clearly. A person who drinks intoxicating drink certainly can not do this. This word is very close in meaning to our next qualification.
Sober minded – Sound in their thinking one who is right in his mind. This means that the men who oversee the congregation cannot be impulsive, gullible or unreasonable men. They must have the ability to look at any given situation from all sides and deal with it in a responsible manner. We must remember that one of the major works of the eldership is their decisions that they make in regards to the spiritual growth of the church. These decisions should be given great thought on how they will effect the church and its growth. Decision made by the elders should not done half heartedly. These men should be able to think on their own without having to ask others how to make their decision. An elder will consider the thoughts of their family and the church members but the decision should be theirs and not someone else’s. This is very important because of Heb. 13:17.
Good Behavior – This means one who is orderly and
well mannered is his life. A good word to describe this in our modern language
is a gentlemen. He is not rude or rough in his nature.
An elder must be of Good behavior in his day to day living that is with those
in his family, the world, and with the church members. It is easy for most of
us to maintain good
behavior under controlled environments. But one who is an elder must maintain
good behavior even under stressful or difficult situations. This can quickly
separate those who are qualified to be an elder and who are not.
Being hospitable is one of the best ways an elder or a Christian can open up many opportunities to promote the Word of God. As we exercise hospitality we need to remember the golden rule found in Mat 7:12. (1Pet 4:9 all to be…). You can never tell what may happen from being hospitable. Look at Acts 28:7-8. One last example Mat 25:31-46.
Apt to teach – Perhaps the best definition of this is found in Titus 1:9-11. An elder is one who has the ability and knowledge to teach and to combat false doctrine. Every elder should be able to teach at a level that all the church can be edified. So, many Elders are being put into the office of a bishop who just really and truly don’t know how to teach or how deal with false teachers. Nor do they have good understanding of the scriptures. If a man is going to be the spiritual leader of the congregation he needs to know his stuff. Let me give you an example. Tell about the man about to fly a plane who hasn’t actually done it.
Not given to wine- The first thing we must realize is
meanings of words change through out time. When we think of wine we think of an
intoxicating drink. If you look up wine in a modern day dictionary it will
define it a fermented drink. But, the further you go back in time you will find
that the word wine was defined as having 2 meaning. 1 It was simply fruit of
the grape 2 It was intoxicating. In the Bible the
Greek Word for wine (oinos) simply means fruit of the
vine and has a dual meaning. It could mean grape juice or intoxicating wine.
The same thing is true for the word wine in the Hebrew language. Sometimes we
can determine from the context of the verse if the wine being spoken of is mere
grape juice or intoxicating. Prov. 23:31-35 (Pro
A NT example of wine not being intoxicating is Mat
Atheneaus, the Grammarian (200AD)
in his book the Banquet recommends for the dyspeptic (someone with digestive
problems) “let him take sweet wine, either mixed with water or warmed.. As being good for the stomach, for sweet wine does not
make the head heavy”. Notice this was a wine that did not make one heavy headed
but was good for the stomach. Welchs also has a
pamphlet out that tell how grape juice is good for ailments and one of those
listed is stomach problems. While this does not prove that Paul was prescribing
grape juice it definitely shows it as a possibility. In our day and time I
don’t know of any good that can come from intoxicated alcohol and an elder
being an example should not be one that every touches the stuff. Being drunk is
a sin Eph
Not violent, Patient, Not quarrelsome – One who is easily provoked into anger has no business being an Elder. Lets consider a few verses james 1:19, Prv 14:17, 29, Prv 15:18 Prv 19:11.
Rules his household well children in submisson.
Read the verses. These two statements here are the most controversial found in the qualifications of an elder. I don’t expect everyone to agree on what I will present on this topic. I just ask you to listen to what I say and study it out on your own and make up your own mind on this topic. Many questions can be spawned from these to statements. For instance.
I believe the answer to this question is that elders must
have children to be qualified. When a man properly disciplines his children and
trains them up right having their respect one can have a glimpse of his ability
to take care of the
Who is going to be able to relate more to a family who is going through hard times because of their rebellious child? The man who has been through and dealt with it before. So many people who don’t have children think they are experts on how to deal with children. One preacher made this statement. “ On the Sunday immediately following the birth of our first child, I announced to the congregation at Adamsville that I had resigned my position as an authority on rearing children”. In Titus 1:5 it says having faithful children. This strongly suggest that a may must have children to be qualified as an elder.
The language here does not demand a plurality of children.
Now I would agree that an man who has 2 children has
more experience in rearing children. So is a man who raises 3 children over the man who
has 2. We even use the word children today to mean just one child. For instance if I ask you if you have any children and you have one
you will answer yes. Or ask a new grandmother who only has one
grandchild if she has any grandchildren and she will say yes. Bible example Mat
My answer is that the children should be faithful Christians. It would be hard determine how a child who was faithful to his father not be faithful to Christ. I would suggest in my own personal judgment that before a man be elected an elder that his children should be well in their teens. Its not that difficult to rear your children in the early years. But, it’s a whole new ball game when they become teenagers. Read Titus 1:5. Now this does not mean that his children do not sin. It means that they are not out of control.
One might look at Prov 22:6 and say that if a child falls away then it has something to do with the way the parents raised their children. While it is true that if one rear a child in the Lord more than likely this child will remain faithful in their adulthood. But this is not a guarantee. To say that under no circumstance can they fall away from the Lord would be a false statement. So the answer to the question is that once a child leaves the home the parents are no longer responsible for their actions. So if a child falls away after he or she has left the home this does not disqualify them from being an elder. The qualification is focused on how he ruled his household which would mean how the children were while they were under his control.
Again, I cant emphasize it enough, if anything even a child that has fell away after they have left the home in some way hinders or would hinder his ability to Shepard the flock then it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for him to be an elder.
Not a Novice.
The literally meaning of this word means newly planted. This simply means that one who is has newly became a Christian should not be an Elder. There are no shortcuts to becoming spiritually matured. Notice what our text says what will probably happen to a novice if he is given such a position vrs 6.
Vrs 7 Now this is an interesting
qualification. Its not enough that members of the
Church respect this man but he must also be respected by those outside the
church. This is very necessary quality to look for in an elder. First of all,
we as individual members of the church rarely get to really know each other
that well. But, when we are around each other we put on our best face and on
the surface we may seem like an honorable person. But, if you want to learn
about the real person just talk to that persons neighbors or with the people
they work with and you will soon find out if they have a good reputation
outside the church. An elder should have a good reputation with those outside
the church in being just or honest in his dealing with
others. One who is both just and holy is going to be dedicated to serving God
in our out of the church. He will have the spirit of Christ and he will stand
out as honorable man in society. If a man seeking the office of a bishop deals
harshly or unfair with those on the outside he does not need to be an elder.
Just think of what people think about the
An elder can not be one who is self centered or arrogant.
This is the kind of person that things they are very important and that what
they say is more important that what anyone else says. For instance in matters
of opinion like
what color the carpet should be this type of person would insist on a certain
color no matter what anybody else thought about it. If they were to go to an
Elders meeting they would want the other Elders to agree with everything they say and if they didn’t
they would get mad. Decisions are to be made by the majority of the eldership
not one elder. We all know that that bible teaches that we are to have more
than one elder but sometimes within elderships one man will be running the
show. It will be one man that really make the
decisions instead of the eldership making it. A good example of such a person
is found in 3rd John vrs 9-10. One who is
self willed should defiantly not be an elder. Philp
2:3-4 puts it best on how not to be self willed.
Lovers of good
This means that elder is someone who loves all those things
that are good. This is a broad statement that can encompass a great deal of
things. But the main point here is to lovers of good rather than lovers of
evil. Perhaps a better explanation of this is found in Philp
Self controlled- keeping your emotions under control.
The workings of an elder and his
To be an Elder is a good work but is it one that takes some
serious commitment. Being an Elder can be very hard at times and Elders are
sometimes perceived as lazy and not doing anything when they are. There are a
lot of times that Elders are working in the background with individuals or
doing things that will spiritually strengthen the church that we as whole
simple are not aware of. 1Thess.
To really get this to sink in think about it this away. Lets say that someone is running a business and they are receiving no pay for it. Yet they are going to be held accountable for how they run the businesses. Now on Monday 500 workers show up but on Tuesday only 300 show up and on Wednesday only 350 show up. Can you imagine the stress and the disappointment you would have as this unpaid business owner. This is the same feelings the elders get went so many show up on Sunday morning but only 60% show up on Sunday night and about 70% show up on Wednesday night. So let us remember how much a strain this puts on elders when so many neglect church attendance. Of course this would be the case with any decision the eldership has made. If they want us to be involved in a work to help spiritually grow the church we should do it. Now an eldership will not ask us to do something they are not willing to do themselves. There authority is based upon the word of God. This means that an elder cant tell you to go wash his car or mow his lawn and you have to obey that but instead its in regards to spiritual matters.
Elders do not rule a congregation so that the members will
serve them, no instead the rule the congregation that they might serve the
lord. 1Peter 5:2-3. An elder or
eldership has earned the respect of the church members and people follow their
lead. If the Elders want a work done but they themselves don’t bother to show
up for it the work will fail because them flock will think if its not important enough for the elder to do it than I’m not
going to do it. Read Acts 20:28-31. A
watchman and an example of their duties -Ezek 3:16-21.
The best example I can show you of how a Shepard and the
flock work together is by using the master example Jesus. John 10:1-15. Example of a bad eldership Ezek
The word deacon comes from the greek word diakonos which
is usually translated as minister but here in 1 Tim 3 and Philp
1:1 it is translated as deacon. A deacon is a willing servant one who willing
to take on the task assigned to him. Every Christian is to be a deacon in the
general sense. Mark
Vr8 Likewise. Just like the elders have to be qualified for their office a deacon must be qualified for his office.
Reverent/ grave This means someone who is respectable. One who serious about serving God. This rules out those that are childish, disrespectful or smart-alec. This does not mean they are so serious that they never smile or laugh but simply that they are mature enough to carry out the work of the Lord.
Doubled Tongued. This
literally means to speak twice. A doubled tongued person is one who will say
one thing in one crown and something different in another. A good term of this
today is two faced. These kind of people will tell you what you want to hear
and even agree with you
on certain issues but when they go talk to the friend Joe they
will talk about you and how dumb you are about those same issues. This kind of
person doesn’t take a stand on a issue instead they
take both sides. James describes a doubled tongue Christian well in James
Not be given to much wine. Already covered this in a previous class.
Not greedy for money. You may remember this is one of the same qualifications of an elder. A deacon cannot be focused on material gain. Nor can he be a person that gains his money by dishonest measures. A deacon is one who is going to put God first in his life and is dedicated to serving the Lord.
Holding the mystery of the faith with a
pure conscience. The mystery of the faith was one Pauls favorite ways to describe
the scheme of redemption for mankind that was conceived in the mind of God.
Thayer describes this way “Gods plan of providing salvation for men through Chirst which was once hidden but now is revealed. Rom
So to hold the mystery of the faith means to understand and be steadfast in the truth. This is parallel with the qualification of an elder in Titus 1:9 to holding to the faithful word. So this means that a deacon can not be one who is unsound in the faith no matter how kind or wealthy they might be. The pure conscience in this verse means that they practice the truth. A deacon cannot just be someone who is knowledgeable in the word of God but he must also be one who lives a pure life.
Let them be tested. This means that these men will stand the test before the church as being those who meet these qualifications. For example some names may be submitted before the church as those who might become deacons. There should be a period of time for people to come forward and let people know if this individual does not meet the qualifications. If no one has anything they know that would keep this person from becoming a deacon of the church then they indeed will be considered blameless. Of course the word blameless doesn’t mean sinless as I pointed out earlier in regards to the qualifications of an elder.
11 women or wives.
Those who so aver
usually do so on the basis of three passages: (1) the reference to Phoebe in
the context before us (
First, let us consider the case of Phoebe in Rom. 16:1. Admittedly, the Greek word [@diakonon] (from which our English word deacon derives (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8,10,12-13)) is the word translated "servant" in this verse.<4> However, Paul also used [@diakonos] to describe civil rulers, who, he said, are "ministers" of God (Rom. 13:4,6). It is most unlikely that any of them were even Christians, much less deacons.
Even nearer the
context of Rom. 16:1, Paul calls Christ a [@diakonon]
If the term has
reference to "official" deacons in the church in
"The New Testament word apostle is used in its both official and limited sense and also in a secondary and more general sense when applied to men like Barnabas and Silas, who were not, strictly speaking, "apostles." The view here is that "deaconess" as applied to Phoebe, in the same manner, does not mean that she was officially a deacon in the church of the Lord."<5>
Second, if Paul had been intending to list the qualifications for another specific class of workers in the church besides bishops and deacons (the subjects of 1 Tim. 3:1-13), he could have as easily used [@diakonous] to refer to the women he mentioned in 1 Tim. 3:11 as he did to identify the men he described in 1 Tim. 3:8,12,13. Instead, he used a generic term which may be translated either "women" or "wives." If there were deaconesses in the first century church having to meet certain qualifications similar to those of bishops and deacons, 1 Tim. 3:11 would surely have been the most appropriate place thus to indicate. Hendriksen offers the following sensible argument on this point:
"On the other hand, the fact that no special and separate paragraph is used in describing their necessary qualifications, but that these are simply wedged in between the stipulated requirements for deacons, with equal clarity indicates that these women are not to be regarded as constituting a third office in the church, the office of "deaconesses," on a par with and endowed with authority equal to that of deacons."<6>
to the women in the midst of the qualifications of elders and deacons is just
that -- a reference to women (or wives) (1 Tim.
"enrolled" widows in 1 Tim. 5:9-10 were just that, and to assume that
they were deaconesses is eisegesis rather than
exegesis. As with Phoebe and Cenchrea, so is the case of these women and
We have clear orders concerning the qualifications of elders and deacons. That they were to be appointed and that they existed in the early church is a matter of record. We have none of the above for deaconesses. Therefore, with Barclay, Whiteside, and Lipscomb, respectively, I agree: "Sometimes she is called a deaconess, but it is not likely that she held what might be called an official position in the church."<7> "But the use of the word [@diakonos], here translated servant, does not prove that she occupied an official position."<8> "Some think she was a publicly recognized deaconess, but we find no recognition in the Scriptures of any such class."<9>
A good standing For a deacon to be qualified he has already established a good standing but through laboring as servant for lord he will obtain even a higher standing of respect. Being a deacon is a good step toward becoming an Elder. Many good elders were once serving as deacons. But, this does not mean that one must be a deacon before they become an Elder and it does not mean that a deacon will become and Elder. The bible doesn’t really tells us what the work of an deacon is specifically. But here in our verse we can see that a deacon is one who serves and will serve well no matter what task is put before them. We have one possible example of deacons and their work found in Acts 6. However one would be hard pressed to prove that these men were actually deacons. But this is certainly a work a deacon could do. We must always remember that the elders and only the elders oversee the church. The deacons do not have any authority and they to are under the eldership. Now the Elders should give task to the deacons to do so that they office is not wasted. The deacons can help take care of writing checks, organizing visitation, selecting people to serve during the worship service, supervising the care of the building and things of that nature.
Paul had plans of returning to
Paul taught the same pattern of teaching in every church. 1Cor
Here we have 6 statements made about the mystery of Godliness. 3 of which belong to our realm (flesh, gentiles, world) and 3 of which belong to the heavenly realm (spirit, angels, glory). These six points are a miniature view of the gospel.
Manifested in the flesh.
This refers to the incarnation of our Lord. 1John 1:1, 14. I really like how Paul captures
what Christ was willing to do for us as he became flesh in Philp
Justified in the spirit
The idea here is that Jesus was vindicated his righteousness
was declared by the Holy Spirit by the raising of him from the dead. Rom
1:4. (HS raised him Rom 8:11, 1pet
Seen by angels
The word angels here can simply mean either a earthly messenger or a heavenly messenger. I believe this
is referring to the heavenly angels all though he was seen by both. The
heavenly angels were a part of his life as grew as man. They announced his
birth and protected his life by telling Joseph to flee to
Preaching to ever nation which would include both the
gentiles and the Jews was an important part of the mystery of Godliness. Part
of this mystery was that both Jew and Gentiles were to be a part of Gods
kingdom. It was the plan all along as Jesus gave the great commission that the
Word should be taught to every creature in the world. They had accomplished
this goal by the time Colossians was written according
Believed on in the world.
We know this to be true as many from the day of Pentecost till now have put their faith in Christ and what he represents for all of us.
Received up in Glory.
This is in reference to his accession into heaven. Remember
Acts 1 when ascended into heaven on a cloud. Peter referred to this in his
sermon in Acts 2:32-36.