The qualifications for a deacon are similar, but less stringent:
"Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well." (1 Timothy 3:8-12)
|To qualify as a deacon:|
|A man must not be:|
|given to much wine|
|greedy for money|
|He must be:|
|the husband of one wife|
|And he must:|
|hold the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience|
|rule his children and his own house well|
|Likewise, his wife*7 must not be:|
|And she must be:|
|faithful in all things|
We notice that there are no such qualifications for the wives of elders. An elder's work involves teaching and leadership of the church. His wife cannot take part in this work, for women are not allowed to do either of these. But a deacon's wife can take a significant part in his work. Indeed, in ministries such as caring and sharing, she may do more than her husband. She must therefore be qualified for such work.
Finally, a deacon must first be tested; then allowed to serve, "being found blameless." Our Lord said that "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." (Luke 16:10) This scripture teaches us to test a proposed deacon with small jobs. If they are performed faithfully, he may then given greater responsibility. As in the case of an elder, the basic reason for this is to give the devil no opportunity to reproach that Holy Name we love so well.
*7 The Greek word here is gune, in the plural form gunaikas. It literally means woman, or in this case, women, but it also means wife. The Greek language did not have separate words for wife and woman. A man's wife was simply his woman. Because of this, some make this out to mean deaconesses, rather than the wives of deacons. But we remember that the Greek word diakonos, here transliterated deacon, simply meant servant. This word had a feminine form, diakonon, found in Romans 16:1. If the Holy Spirit had meant deaconesses in 1 Timothy 3:11, it seems that He would have used the plural of this word instead of gunaikas. From this I conclude that our translation (along with ten others of the authorities charted in the back of this book) correctly interprets this word to mean wives, rather than women. Jay P. Green renders it "their women." Return Return to the chapter on the ministry of women.
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