“Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”
Deacons first came into the church rank in Acts 6:3-4. Their purpose was to provide for the poor and serve tables so the overseers could concentrate on sharing the gospel. They were of good character, trustworthy, and grave. They aren’t contradictory ~ they don’t say one thing to one person and something else to a different person. They aren’t drunkards (indulging in too much wine opens a person up to many temptations) and they aren’t greedy, which is an especially bad trait in deacons because they’re intrusted with the church’s money.
The word “likewise” makes me wonder if deacons aren’t supposed to be everything an overseer is supposed to be too. That would make being a deacon a harder job than being an overseer. Although, quite often the behind-the-scenes worker is working harder than the person getting up on stage.
The deep truths of faith, in other versions called the “mystery” of faith, is best held in a clear conscience. The love of truth is the most powerful protection from sin, because we are called to be like Christ, who is sinless and Truth in itself. Taking notice of everything that draws you away from God, and steering clear of it, gives you a clear conscience, which, as we saw back in chapter one, goes hand-in-hand with a pure heart and a sincere faith.
Notice here that it tells us potential deacons must be tested before they can achieve that rank. Public trust should not be given to a person until they have proven themselves worthy of it. The things that they are tested in are the soundness of their judgment, their zeal for Christ, and the blamelessness of their conversation. And if they pass the test, “let them” serve as deacons ~ don’t force it upon someone who doesn’t want it, no matter how qualified they may be.
In verse 11, we are told that not only is the aspiring deacon’s character important, but his wife’s is as well. His wife must be the same as her husband ~ of good character and grave, as well as watchful, not a slanderer or gossiper, and someone that is trustworthy in everything that is placed in her hands. Everyone who is related to a minister must be extra careful to walk blamelessly, in case the ministry is blamed for that person’s misdirection.
Like we learned in the previous verses about overseers, Jews and Gentiles both commonly divorced and remarried, or had several wives at once. A deacon, however, must have only one wife, and he should manage his family well because his family should be an example to other families.
The reason deacons need to be so qualified is because they might decide to leave that rank and become an overseer, like Stephen did. Integrity and uprightness is the way to be raised to a higher station ~ and these will also give a person boldness in the faith.