The word translated “deacon” in this text is the generic term for a servant. It is clear Paul has in mind a special class of servants that will be a unique part of how the church does its work. “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience”(1 Tim 3:8-9). Like elders, deacons are expected to have developed personal discipline in speech, addiction, and greed. They also should have a ready grasp of “the mystery of the faith” and a life that matches it.
“And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless”(1 Tim 3:10). I don’t believe that Paul is advocating “provisional” deacons who prove themselves. He is telling Timothy to seek out men who have distinguished themselves as trustworthy by prior behavior. Paul also gives qualifications for the wives of deacons (1 Tim 3:11) and expectations for the home life of a deacon: “Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well”(1 Tim 3:12). Like elders (1 Tim 3:4), deacons show their fitness to serve by the way they show fidelity to their wives and manage their children.
God’s plan for local churches includes men who are devoted to serving in a special way. They need to be trustworthy and dependable because the church will be counting on them. They are examples in character and in willingness to serve others.
------------- One Thing to Think About: If God is so concerned about the speech of deacons (1 Tim 3:8) and their wives (1 Tim 3:11), what does he think of my speech?
One Thing to Pray For: God to continue to raise up men of character to serve his people