1 Timothy 3:6-11
1 Tim 3:6 (KJB)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Novice - New Convert
One of the prerequisites for being a Bishop is that a person who is being considered for that position should not be a novice or a new convert. The position of Bishop requires wisdom and a good working knowledge of the Scriptures, both of these would be lacking in a new convert. They would make decisions according to the way the world would make them. A person should not be considered for the office of Bishop unless they have been saved at least ten years and even then they need to prove their maturity. A novice would be puffed up with pride not knowing how to handle the office. He would walk around with an arrogancy about him thinking he would be above the congregation and it is this pride which caused Satan to rebel against God. I knew a Christian who was saved for about 40 years and the only Bible he carried with him was a pocket New Testament, even to Bible conferences. What do you do in that case when the preacher says “turn to Isaiah?” He did not show maturity for a biblical office and that is why it is not so much how long a person is saved but the quality of the time they are saved.
1 Tim 3:7 (KJB)
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Moreover - It is necessary
Report - Testimony
Without - Outside (Figuratively the unsaved)
Reproach - Disgrace or be blamable
Snare - Trap
In addition to the fact that a person who desires to be Bishop be a mature Christian, it is necessary that he have a good testimony to those who are unsaved. If a person aspires to be Bishop and then at work he steals, flirts with the women, is lazy, or he goes out drinking and partying, this man should never be considered for that office because he would be a hypocrite. He would then carry over those same sinful tendencies in the church. This would mean that in a short time he would be a disgrace to the entire church and if he were not dealt with, then the snare of the devil he would fall into would be a vindictive nature and he would try to remove those who would be coming against him. This is why when someone who is seeking the office of Bishop, that they be scrutinized in all areas of their life including their business and personal life. If they do not want that, then reject them because it means they have something to hide.
1 Tim 3:8 (KJB)
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
Next the Apostle Paul speaks to the qualifications of deacons. The deacons were subordinate to the Bishop and the Elders. It was their responsibility to be attendants in the church and to handle the secular affairs. They would attend to the elements of Holy Communion, would deal with those in the church who are destitute and need help with material goods, such as clothing or food. They were not teachers but that does not mean they were not to be spiritually mature in their Christian walk. This is why the Scriptures are also giving certain spiritual qualifications because it is a church office.
Grave - One of the characteristics of a deacon is to have integrity. They must be honorable men in all their ways. Since they are handling material goods, it must be given to those who need it and they must never expect anything from the people who are receiving it. Things that are donated which are to be given to the people, must never be sold for personal gain. This is why a person must have integrity because sometimes the sin of temptation to take will be present and if they are strong in the Scriptures, they will reject that temptation.
Not Doubletongued - The deacon must not be insincere or deceitful. To be double tongued also carries with it the idea of telling one thing to one person and then tell a different story to another. This type of person can enflame a spirit of hostility in a congregation. This can also be a person who claims salvation and really is not saved. They could have the voice of Jacob but the hands of Esau. (Gen 27:22 KJV) And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
Not given to much wine - The man must not be addicted to wine or a steady drinker of any alcoholic beverage. This will cloud any judgment they have to make and one of the requirements for this office is to be clear headed. In fact the word “given” means to “pay attention to or be devoted.” If a person is devoted to alcoholic beverage it means they are a drunk and no drunk should ever have a leadership position in a church. This would also give an indication that they are unsaved. (Prov 23:31 KJV) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. The admonition from Proverbs 23:31 is that we are not even to look upon the wine, never mind drink it.
Not greedy of filthy lucre - They must not be men who are greedy of dishonest gain. If they see evil people prospering, they must never be envious and desire to make money or any type of gain by any other manner than legally. They must not pursue anything dishonest. As I have already stated, they will normally handle material goods including money and if they have their eyes on becoming wealthy, the temptation to steal will be present and they must be spiritually mature enough to overcome any temptation.
1 Tim 3:9 (KJB)
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
Holding - Cling to or possess
Pure - Unadulterated or clean
The deacon must possess the Gospel in a pure manner and must never twist it or teach it falsely for the purpose of any gain. Their motives must always come from a pure conscience. The word “holding” in the Greek is in the present tense which means that a deacon must always be operating from a saved conscience continually and never from an adulterated conscience. Their actions must be above reproach which gives evidence of their salvation and its manifestation through their actions. This way they will maintain their good testimony to others and will help those who may be discouraged.
1 Tim 3:10 (KJB)
And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
Proved - Tried, examined, or test
This is where all churches make their big mistake. Instead of picking a few men and just voting on them in a meeting, what they should be doing is pre-picking them for a full year and then during that time, it should be a period of examination. Their boss should be called at work, their neighbors should be called upon to give a testimony of them, those they do business with on a regular basis, if possible, should be called upon for a statement of their daily work habits and attitudes. If a person is just picked because they show up every Sunday, how are they being tested? Of course, someone is going to be on their best behavior on Sunday but what about Friday or Saturday night? If they have been well scrutinized, and found blameless in their lives, then they may be voted in as a deacon because they have passed the scrutiny and it wasn’t just a quick nomination by a friend.
1 Tim 3:11 (KJB)
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
Paul then gives some spiritual characteristics for a wife of a deacon. A wife has the ability to turn her husband any way she wants and that is why both husband and wife must be on the same spiritual level with no ungodly intentions.
Grave - One of the characteristics of a deacon’s wife is to have integrity. She must be honorable in all her ways. She must exude the characteristics of a godly woman
Not Slanderers - The word in the Greek is the same one used for “devil.“ It speaks of one being a false accuser or adversary. She is not to be a gossiper because if gossip gets out of control, it quickly turns into slander along with false accusations. Unfortunately, in today’s church an accusation is instant guilt.
Sober - She must be sober minded which means she must be a serious minded individual concerning the ministry to which her husband is aspiring to. The word also carries with it the meaning of her being a very prudent individual. One who will not waste the resources of the family on inconsequential things.
Faithful in all things - This can be understood as her being absolutely faithful in all things. In whatever she undertakes or in whatever she helps her husband accomplish for the good of the church. She is also to be faithful with her tongue and never slander or even slightly hint any gossip which could immediately mushroom into the destruction of another’s reputation.