1 Timothy 3:8-13

8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,

9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.

11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

likewise (v.8) — similar to bishops (vs. 1-7)

deacons (v.8) = servants, in relationship to their work (distinguished from “bond servants” which indicates their relationship to their masters) — The KJV includes the word “office” in verses 8 and 13. This is not in the original texts.

reverent (v.8) = having gravity and dignity

double-tongued (v.8) — saying one thing to one person and then another thing to another person, saying one thing while meaning another

given (v.8) = attach one’s self to

not greedy for money (v.8) — disgraceful gain (see v.3)

mystery (v.9) — something that can only be known through divine revelation, not through human apprehension — knowledge withheld until God appoints a time and manner to reveal it.

“The faith,” of course is the “one faith” of Ephesians 4:5, the great body of doctrine committed to and proclaimed by Paul. This body of truth, as we know, was a mystery, a secret, until the glorified Lord revealed it to him (see Ephesians 3:1-3; Romans 16:25-26). It is assumed that the bishops would “hold” this blessed truth out of deep conviction, but this should be the case with the deacons as well, even though their ministry differed from that of the bishops. — Stam, page 78.


pure conscience (v.9) — A mere intellectual attitude toward the mystery which, in every age attaches to the faith, will result in doubt, questioning, and wordy strife (see 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9), sometimes in moral laxity, sometimes in despair. — Wuest, page 60.

tested (v.10) = proved, approved after testing — refers to a general judgment, not a formal exam

blameless (v.10) — see v. 2

their wives (v.11) — this may be the intended meaning — in the original it was just “women” with no article — it may apply to women who serve in an assembly, deaconesses (like Phoebe in Romans 16:1)

slanderers (v.11) = accusers, gossipers

temperate (v.11) — see v.2

faithful (v.11) — not slack or superficial in regard to their duties, true to the trust

husbands of one wife (v.12) — see v.2

standing (v.13) = order, rank, position of trust — here = esteem

boldness (v.13) = absence of fear, confidence

boldness in faith (v.13) — boldness founded on faith

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