Bible Study Christian Character Traits Church Doctrine Pastoral

1 Timothy 3:8-16

Paul informs Timothy about the qualifications of deacons and deaconesses. He finishes the chapter writing some of the clearest passages concerning the deity of Jesus Christ.

My translation and notes on 1 Timothy 3:8-16

8 In the same way, deacons must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to lots of wine, not greedy for filthy money,

[The Greek word for ‘deacon’ is (G1249) διάκονος diakonos, which means assistant, helper, an intermediary between apostle/pastor and the people. The origin is Acts 6:1-6 where they were to be assistants to help the believers with spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, especially physical needs. In the society of Paul and Timothy’s days, there were slaves, servants/deacons/table assistants, and the elite. For non-church officers, see Matthew 20:26, Matthew 22:13, John 2:5, 2 Corinthians 11:15 (satan’s human assistants posing as pastors, teachers, theologians, and church leaders), Romans 15:8 (Jesus Christ). For church officers, see Acts 6:1-6 and Romans 16:1 (deaconess). They were not just helpers of elders with believer’s needs for they were evangelist/preachers (Acts 6:5 (Stephen) and Philip (Acts 8:5). Concerning the appointment qualifications, the Scriptures state: Acts 6:3 Therefore, brothers, look among youp for seven men with an honest reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint over this matter. Full of the Holy Spirit would be the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is a gift from God (James 1:5)].

9 Keeping the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

[A ‘mystery’ is not an obscure event or saying (Daniel 2:27); it is something that was unknown previously (Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:7, and Ephesians 3:9). Also see Vincent’s note (WORD STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT) here: the truth, which is its basis, which was kept hidden from the world until revealed at the appointed time, and which is a secret to ordinary eyes, but is made known by divine revelation. The idea of ‘pure conscience’ is that they not only believe it, but they can also defend it, and they live it in public and private blamelessly].

10 Let these also first be proven, then, if found blameless, let them have the position of a deacon.

11 In the same way, women [deaconesses] must be dignified, not slanderers, free from the influence of wine, totally faithful.

[Not all agree that this refers to deaconesses instead understand this to be speaking of deacon’s wives. But why isn’t the wife of the overseer mentioned? It would seem strange that a deacon must have a wife with certain qualifications and the overseer’s wife has none. Most churches have sisters in Christ who have Holy Spirit given gifts of wisdom, help, teaching, administration, etc. who already are recognized but are not given a title of office. Wilbur Pickering adds in a note on this verse: That’s what the Text says, just ‘women’—no article and no possessive pronoun. Because Paul returns to the deacons in verse 12, most versions take the reference here to be to their wives, but the grammatical construction of verse 11 is parallel to that of verse 8, which is parallel to verse 2. I take it that the grammar obliges us to see a third office in the congregation, one filled by women—deaconesses, or something of the sort. Counseling women can be dangerous for a man; certain matters are best handled by a mature, sanctified woman; if she has an official standing in the congregation, so much the better].

12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

13 For those having served well acquire for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

[By exercising the office of deacon/deaconess faithfully, they acquire boldness and a good reputation. If they are unfaithful, then they lose both. Experience is needed. Compare Psalm 119:34, Luke 11:28, and Philippians 4:9. The Greek word for ‘degree’ is (G898) βαθμός bathmós, which means degree or step, as in stairs. Vincent (WORD STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT) writes: Also degree of relationship or affinity. Here the word apparently means a position of trust and influence in the church; possibly a promotion from the diaconate to the episcopate. Wuest (WORD STUDIES IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT) writes: Expositors says: The R.V., gain to themselves a good standing, does not necessarily imply an advance in rank, but an assured position in the esteem of their fellow-Christians. We know that among the many who possess the same rank, whether in church or state, some from their character and abilities gain a standing that others do not. The ‘boldness’ comes from their actions and words. Compare Stephen in Acts 7. The Greek word for ‘boldness’ is (G3954) παρῥησία parrhesia, which means boldness in speech as in ‘telling it like it is’ and the truth regardless of opposition. See John 7:26, Acts 4:13, and Acts 28:31. It can also mean boldness is actions as in Hebrews 4:16 and 1 John 4:17, and boldness in both (Philippians 1:20)].

14 I write these things to yous hoping to come to yous soon.

15 But if I am delayed yous will know how yous should conduct yourselfs in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

[There are two descriptors of the church and two of God. The two for the church are ‘household of God’ and ‘church of the living God.’ ‘Household of God’ describes the family idea. It is God’s plan for the church to be a family with family loyalties and commitments to each other. The church is comprised of individuals who after being awakened by the Holy Spirit have committed their lives asking for salvation through grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. See Acts 12:5 and Romans 16:5. ‘Church of the living God’ refers to Jesus’s resurrection—He is alive. It also refers to His family. See Ephesians 1:5, 1 John 3:1-2, and Romans 8:14-17. We are also called the Temple of God in 2 Corinthians 6:16. This ‘church’, the believers, are God’s church. Some interpret the words ‘the pillar and foundation of the truth’ refers to the church. I prefer the reference is to God. God is the pillar (stabilization and support) of the church. Truth is the basis of God’s character and worldview. The church must have true faith, true fellowship, true love, true doctrine, true lifestyle, true words, true thoughts, and we need truth to feed our souls for strength and safety. God is the standard and source of truth. The Scriptures of the only source of 100% truth].

Jesus Is God

16 It must be admitted that the mystery of godliness is great. God appeared in flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, shown to angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

[Wilbur Pickering PhD writes: Instead of ‘‘God’, 1% of the Greek manuscripts read ‘‘who’, and most modern versions follow this 1%. But ‘who’ is nonsensical (in the context), so most of them take evasive action: NEB and NASB have “he who”; Phillips has “the one”; NRSV, Jerusalem, TEV and NIV render “he”. Berkley actually has “who”! In the Greek Text the relative pronoun has no antecedent, so it is a grammatical ‘impossibility’, besides being a stupidity—what is so mysterious about someone being manifested in flesh? All human beings have bodies. The pronoun can be accounted for as an easy transcriptional error, a simple copying mistake, so why not stay with the 98.5%? “God was manifested in flesh”—now there you have a mystery! Also, compare Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians Chapter 7, Catenae Graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum in 1844. To my amazement, this book is also online. The citation is indeed on page 124, line 8. It is also in Phillip Schaff’s Book quoting Against Eunomius, Book XI, paragraph 2: Nay, I do not even think it necessary to bring forward in detail the utterances of Paul, since they are, as one may say, in all men’s mouths, who gives the Lord the appellation not only of “God,” but of “great God” and “God over all,” saying to the Romans, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever980,” and writing to his disciple Titus, “According to the appearing of Jesus Christ the great God and our Saviour981,” and to Timothy, proclaims in plain terms, “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit982.” Since then the fact has been demonstrated on every side that the Only-begotten God is God983, how is it that he who says that goodness belongs to God, strives to show that the Godhead of the Son is alien from this ascription, and this though the Lord has actually claimed for Himself the epithet “good” in the parable of those who were hired into the vineyard? And many other early writings].

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