What are the qualifications for a deacon?

In 1 Timothy 3:8-12 Paul lays out the qualifications for a deacon:

  1. A deacon is self-controlled in speech, appetites, and actions (1 Tim. 3:8; see also 1 Tim. 3:11). According to Paul, deacons must be “dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.”
  2. A deacon is sound in the faith (1 Tim. 3:9). Deacons must “hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience,” which means that they must have a firm grip on the truths of the gospel and live consistently with those truths.
  3. A deacon has been tested (1 Tim. 3:10). Paul writes, “Let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.” Practically, this means that deacons should have a proven track record of faithful service before they are appointed to the office of deacon.
  4. If married, a deacon is faithful to his spouse (1 Tim. 3:12). If single, the deacon must honor Christ with his body (1 Cor. 6:18-19).
  5. A deacon manages his children and household well (1 Tim. 3:12). Does the way he manages his household indicate that he will faithfully serve the church’s needs? The basic message is that deacons are to be Christians whose trustworthiness, self-control, and soundness in the faith shows that they are able to be trusted (i) to faithfully care for the church’s physical needs and (ii) to serve as an example of faithful service to others.
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