These are the verses that I use when I train officers for the church. I like to read it and watch the faces of those chosen to see their reaction. The list is quite intimidating because none of us actually qualify according to these requirements. Let me be clear, I am not saying that anything goes, but I am saying that we cannot just pick and choose those things that we subscribe to and leave others out. We have to try to achieve all that we are asked to achieve which includes: being above reproach, faithful in marriage, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, and able to control their household. Good luck with all of that. But with God’s help we are made worthy to serve. That’s the point I try to get across in the training.
Remember, Paul is writing to Timothy to remind him that these are the types of people that we are looking for to run the church. We need pastors and we need deacons. Here are some qualifications for these people. Notice just about all of it had to deal with their own personal life and not how well they knew the Word of God, or how spiritual they were, or their faith pedigree.
It is fascinating for me that the role of deacon is singled out here by Paul. The deacons came around in Acts 6:1-6 where the Apostles could not handle all of the work of feeding and caring for the widows and those who were less fortunate. So, they asked that people be chosen for that specific role. I love to see the origin of it in Acts and then it is carried out in all of the churches where Paul had a hand. The church in Ephesus would again need to have deacons to fill the role of helping those who are the most in need.
Moving fast forward to today where we see churches, especially First Presbyterian, who understand this role and fill it with people whose primary concern is to visit and care for those who are most needy. We have an awesome group of deacons. Praise God for the direction and guidance that we get from Scripture that helps us to set up institutions to meet the needs of the powerless.