An account is given here in Scripture of the qualifications, faith, character and conduct of those who serve the church in the office of deacon. Most agree that Acts 6:1-4 had to do with deacons. When the number of believers was multiplied from 120 to over 3,000 and still increasing, the apostles found it impossible to give themselves to the ministry of the Word of God and prayer and also to care for the physical and material needs of the people. They called on the church to appoint some men over the tables: the table of the poor, in seeing that none want; the table of the pastors, in seeing to their support; the table of the missionaries, that they be provided for; the table of the sick, that their needs be met; the table of the Lord, by providing the bread and wine. These are to be honest men, for it is their responsibility to distribute the funds of the church. They are to be men led by the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom, that they may know how to lead the church to carry out the will of God in material matters. The reason for the office of deacon is to enable ministers to give all their time to study, prayer and preaching, and not neglect this important duty. The financial matters of the church, care of the needy, visiting of the sick and the comfort and general welfare of the people are all very important, but not as important as the ministry of the Word and prayer. When a church is very small, the pastor can be more involved with these matters, but as the church increases in size, responsibility and influences, these matters must be turned over to the deacons while the pastors study, write, preach, pray and confine their work to individual spiritual matters which require their personal attention.
Vs. 8. 'Deacons should be grave' serious-minded, dedicated and honest. "Not double-tongued' being middle persons between the pastor and people, they must not say one thing to one and something else to the other. "Not given to wine', which impairs the health, dulls the mind and wastes the estate. "Not given to greediness' and covetousness for money and possessions generous with their own possessions and those entrusted to them by the church.
Vs. 9. Deacons must be men who know and love the gospel of Christ. Men should not be chosen as deacons simply because they are shrewd business men, prosperous or worldly wise; but they should be selected from among men who diligently love, hold to and defend the gospel of Christ with a sincere heart and conscience.
Vs. 10. One would not ordain a novice to preach or pastor a church, neither should a man be given the important office of deacon who has not been around long enough to assure the church of his faith, dedication and perseverance. When a man is given this office by the church, let him apply himself to it with diligence and dedication.
Vs. 11. The wife of a deacon should be a woman of respect, serious-minded, not a gossiper, but a believer who, like her husband, loves the gospel and is dedicated to the glory of Christ. Because of the close relationship between husband and wife, a rebellious, gossiping, intemperate wife would hinder the effectiveness of a deacon or a preacher. A deacon's home life is as important as the pastor's home life.
Vs. 12. The deacon does not have to be a married man, but if he is married, he is to have only one wife, and his wife and children are to be in subjection to his leadership and control. He cannot manage the affairs of the church if he is unable to his home.
Vs. 13. Those who serve well as deacons are worthy of great honour, respect and appreciation from all. Blessed is the man who takes the office seriously and serves well as a deacon. He can stand before God, his pastor and the church with this boldness and confidence that he has given his best.
Vs.14, 15. 'I hope to come to see you personally before long; but if I am detained, I write these things that you may know how to conduct yourself and carry on the worship and activities of the church, which is the prop and support of the truth.'
Vs.16. This verse is a summary of the great truth upon which the church is built, of which the church is the prop and support and to which pastors and deacons are dedicated. From the greatness and importance of this truth, pastors and deacons should judge their office, so that they may devote themselves to it with deeper reverence and greater care. God was manifest in the flesh (John 1:14), justified and vindicated in the Holy Spirit, seen of the angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world and received up into glory. This is the rock upon which Christ builds his church (Matt. 16:16-18).