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What are the requirements of a deacon?

What is a deacon? What qualifications does a deacon need to have?

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Deacons appear 3 times in the King James translation.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Using Strong’s Concordance

Deacons diakonos; probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands, cf dioko to run swiftly); noun

It is translated in the King James Version as ‘minister’ 20 times; ‘servant’ 8 times; ‘deacon’ 3 times.

Meaning

1. one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister

2. one who, by virtue of the function assigned to him in the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use

3. a waiter, one who serves food and drink

Below are sample verses where the word is translated minister and servant.

Matthew 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister <diakonos>;

Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants <diakonos>, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant <diakonos>.

Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant <diakonos> of all.

Mark 10:43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister <diakonos>:

Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant <diakonos> of the church which is at Cenchrea:

The office of a deacon appears twice in the King James translation.

1 Timothy 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

1 Timothy 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Using Strong’s Concordance

The office of a deacon diakoneo; verb

It is translated in the King James Version as ‘minister unto’ 15 times; ‘serve’ 10 times; ‘minister’ 7 times; misc 5 times.

Meaning

1. to serve, wait upon

2. to minister to one, render ministering offices to

3. to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests,

4. to minister i.e. supply food and necessities of life

5. to relieve one’s necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life

6. to take care of the poor and the sick.

Below are sample verses where the word is translated minister and serve.

Matthew 4:11... behold, angels came and ministered <diakoneo> unto him.

Matthew 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered <diakoneo> unto them.

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto <diakoneo>, but to minister <diakoneo>, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Matthew 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did <diakoneo> not minister <diakoneo> unto thee?

Matthew 27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering <diakoneo> unto him:

In Darby’s literal translation ‘the office of a deacon’ is simply translated ‘minister’

1 Timothy 3:10 And let these be first proved, then let them minister, being without charge against them.

1 Timothy 3:13 for those who shall have ministered well obtain for themselves a good degree, and much boldness in faith which is in Christ Jesus.

From the above the term ‘the office of a deacon’ isa description of ‘serving’.

The Apostles appointed in each church an overseer (Greek episkopos usually translated ‘Bishop’) and to assist him men who did the practical everyday ministering to the needs of the congregation.

These men needed to be men of integrity, honesty and reliability.

An example of ministers being chosen is recorded in Acts 6.

Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration ia>.

2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry ia>of the word.

5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

‘Episkopos’ and ‘diakonos’did not constitute ‘clergy’ as opposed to ‘laity’ in the early church but worked as different parts in the one body.

The Greek ‘diakoneo’ has been transposed into English as ‘Deacon’ to construct an official office for one whose function was the practical administration required in the day to day running of the congregation.

The congregation as individuals were to serve one another.

John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another‘s feet.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The concept of a ‘priesthood’ arising within the one body to separate it into two parts constitutes apostasy.

Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

9 And call no man your father (ie your spiritual superior) upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister <diakonos>;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

The requirements in one appointed to serve were similar to the integrity required of the bishop or overseer.

1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

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

‘Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience’ indicates that they must have a thorough understanding of the word of God.

Romans 10:17... faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

They must understand the doctrine preached by the apostles.

1 Timothy 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

They must understand the gospel preached by the apostles.

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

I hope this helps.

Glenn Smith

 
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