1 Timothy 3.8-13 – A Deacon in Character

Yesterday we said that the character of an Elder is something we should all be working towards displaying. Today, it’s the same with Deacons. How your church deploys the service of Deacons will most likely be different from the church down the road, and that’s ok, however the character of the people involved should not be too different.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

A Deacon is one who provides leadership through acts of practical service (Acts 6.1-6). Meeting particular needs, they lead through serving and exemplify the dedicated service of a believer to the Lord. Because they meet particular needs, their service within individual church bodies may look different. Maybe they aren’t as formally structured as the Elders, but will be there for sure, quietly working to make sure the church body is served.

Again, whether we all serve as Deacons or not is interesting. We are all called to serve the Lord and each other (Galatians 5.13, 1 Peter 4.10), therefore, you could make a case that we are all to be Deacons, meeting particular needs and ensuring that our church bodies are well maintained. There is no option in the Word for casually turning up to church, sitting, soaking it all in, and leaving. Everyone is contributing, everyone is part of the body (1 Corinthians 12.12, 14).

Maybe you don’t feel like serving the church practically is that important. Maybe you have refrained from volunteering your time and talents because you don’t think it will make much of a difference, it’s “only…“, but, look at v.13, those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. It’s good for the church that we all serve as Deacons, it’s good for ourselves that we all serve as Deacons, and it’s good for our faith that we all serve as Deacons.

As with Elders, there is a difference between being a Deacon in character and being asked to serve on a particular board or within a particular team. The character is something we are to all be working towards and displaying. The character is more important.

May we be a church full of Elders and Deacons!

1 Timothy 3.7 – An Elder in Character

We continue then with Paul’s letter to Timothy. Today Paul, the church planter, writes to Timothy, the church leader, with instructions on how this fledgling fellowship should be led and supported. Within the structure of the letter, within the who-is-writing-to-who-about-what we begin to see God’s model for church leadership.

Today in 1 Timothy 3.7, the character of the men needed to help Timothy lead spiritually. Does that mean that if you’re not appointed to serve as an Elder you should never focus on these character qualities? Absolutely not!

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

There will never be a church in the world where every single man who demonstrates these character qualities is actively serving as an Elder, because, in theory every man, and woman for that matter, should be working to display these qualities in their everyday life.


Being appointed to serve as an Elder should be seen as separate from simply being an Elder in character, something we all must do.


The character needed (an overseer MUST be…) is far more important than the actual structure within which these traits are deployed. It’s better to have a church full of Elder-like people than have only a handful, for sure. 

We see, then, that in this passage it all comes down to character, not gifting or ability.

We are all called to serve God (Hebrews 9.14), we are all uniquely gifted (1 Corinthians 12), but the character of a mature and maturing believer is something we should all aspire to regardless of age, gender, gifting, appointment, calling, or service. 

Today then, let us be believers who are outwardly demonstrating our growing maturity in the Lord by the character we display, let us all work towards being Elders in character.

1 Timothy 2.11-15 – What This Does and Doesn’t Mean

This is one of those passages in the Bible that people get so wrong. Detaching verses from context is not right and true handling of the Word of God (verse numbers were not added until around the 16th Century, and they certainly aren’t inspired). So, what does this passage mean?

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Maybe you have heard this passage taught to say that women should never speak in church, full stop. That’s wrong. Take that chit-chat outside Eve, only Steve can talk in church…

But, think of the context; the whole letter is instructing Timothy on how to run this church as the leader, chapter two is about, predominantly, prayer. So, can v.11 be detached from both of these things and used against women speaking at all in church? No, it cant.

Quietly and with all submissiveness carries our thoughts back to v.2 wherein we read that the church and the believers are to live a quiet and peaceful life, dignified and Godly in every way. Throw in the culture of the day where some say that women and men never worshipped together, but now they can, so the women may talk to her husband across the room and ask him questions as to what it going on, and we begin to see that learn quietly doesn’t mean that women can never speak in church. That would be inconsistent with what Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11.5.


The consistent and orthodox interpretation is that not permitting a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man is referring to when the assembled church gathers together, it is a male’s job to deliver the Word of God in an expositional sermon, the message, the Word, or however you refer to that part of a worship service. 


Other than that particular point of the service, other than the overall ‘who is in charge on earth in this church’, we see throughout Scripture that women have an equally important role in the worship of God to that of their male counterparts. Ladies lead worship, ladies lead prayer ministries, ladies lead children and youth ministries, ladies lead home groups/small groups, simply, ladies lead in churches. Having the ultimate earthly authority in the structure of the church be male takes nothing away from the value and leadership contributions of women, as we said yesterday, different roles for different people. 

So, ladies, yes, pray in church, talk whilst you are at church. Teach a home group, lead a Bible study, serve in Kids Church, lead us in worship, read our Scripture, pray aloud.

But also, everyone, read the Bible in context, don’t detach single verses from a paragraph, or a chapter, or a book, or even a section of the Bible, and things make much more sense.