1Ti 3:11-13 “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 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.”
The role of a wife in the life of both a bishop and a deacon cannot be overstated. Having a wife who is supportive of her husband and the demands of the office strengthen him. Her life must be as devoted to the service of God as his for peace to reign in their lives as a couple. To that end, Paul makes mention of the wives in verse eleven.
Even so, or just like her husband, the wife must be deserving of honor and respect. She cannot participate in gossiping and backbiting. She cannot betray things she may become privy to in confidence. Faithfulness in all things (to God, to her husband, to her family, and community) is her hallmark.
The life of the deacon is to be lived in faithfulness as well. He must be faithful to his wife. If he is not faithful to her, how can the church have any confidence that he will be faithful to his office? He is to stand before his children and his household as a beacon of love, faithfulness, and integrity. Otherwise, how can he be expected to be that example to the church?
There is a blessing in performing the duties of a deacon well. That deacon purchases (acquires) a good degree (grade). In other words, he attains a good reputation both in the church and in the community. He becomes a trusted example of a disciple of Christ.
He who used the office of deacon well also gains great boldness (assurance) in the faith. He can bear witness to the power and grace of God. There is no fear in him when his faith is challenged for the cause of Christ. He is anchored because of the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
As we consider the office of a deacon, we need to remember Peter’s admonishment to the congregation when this all began (Acts 6:3). We are to “look out” (observe, consider) men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Often the daily business of the church (keep the grounds, building repairs, etc.) are the things most emphasized when talking about deacons. While these things certainly fall under the deacon’s purview, and being good and honest in business is important, the thing we were told to look for is men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.
The spiritual side of being a deacon is often overlooked. He should be a spiritual guide to the congregation. He should be ready to visit the sick. He should be able to pray for the needy as well as provide for their physical want. He needs to be a friend and an encourager to his pastor and to the church.
While we have been considering in these past few writings Paul’s instruction concerning bishops, deacons, and their wives, we need to realize that many of these characteristics should be evident in every servant of God. That is true whether you occupy an office or fill the pew. God set these offices in the church for the good of His children. It is a weighty matter and one we can only accomplish through the leadership of the Holy Ghost.
May we all be blessed to serve with gladness in whatever capacity the Lord has been pleased to call us and be content with where He has placed us in His service!