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Compiled by JS LOWTHER
(Deacon, Servant, Minister)
1 Timothy 1:15-17
This is a faithful saying,
and worthy of all acceptation, that:
Christ Jesus – came into the world
to save sinners;
Of whom – I am chief.
For this cause – I obtained mercy,
That- In me first
Might shew forth – all longsuffering,
For a pattern – to them
Which should hereafter – believe on him
To life everlasting.
As He is: King:
The only wise God,
Honored and glorified
forever and ever
1Ti_3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1Ti 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13 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.
1Ti 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
In order to move on to the second portion of this chapter 3 of 1Timothy, we are going to be in need of the definition of a ‘Deacon’, as this is the office here spoken of.
A Deacon is very much an inglorious position, Adam Clark in his commentary says this: “The term deacon, διακονος, simply signifies a regular or stated servant: from δια, through or emphatic, and κονεω, to minister or serve. See it explained in the note on Mat_20:26. As nearly the same qualifications were required in the deacons as in the bishops, the reader may consult what is said on the preceding verses.”
This compound word is not found in the canon of the LXX until the book of Esther, and when seen these are all servants of the king that minister to him, these men are ordered to do things like prepare for the beauty contest which chose Ester as Queen Est_2:2 ; , or search out records in Est_6:3 , or keep the door for the king in Est_6:5. This shows that in fact a deacon is a servant or minister as was understood by the reader of the Greek LXX.
Interestingly enough, we have no corresponding word to this compound understanding of δια and κονεω / dia-koneo, other than the plan use of the 2 words themselves.
And it is only found once in the inter-testamental writings of the Apocrypha as is found in the LXX in 4Ma_9:17.
All of these uses show a servant or minister as was spoken of by our Lord in Mat_20:26 , I will add however that the usage of this word in 4th Maccabaeus show the staunch and striking difference between ‘the princes of the Gentiles’ as they exercise dominion, as they that are great, exercising the authority of Mat_20:25 as states therein, and the type of Servant the disciples are to be.
I will read a portion of the context of 4Mac, as the story is of The tyrant Antiochus, as stated in 4Ma 5:1 with his armed troops which he commanded, his spear bearers to seize every one of the Hebrews, and to compel them to taste swine’s flesh, and things offered to idols.
And so in the progression of events some Hebrews are broken to do so but the story here preserved is of the fortitude of those who did not submit to the unlawful demands of the tyrant. And so a Young man is in the scope of this statement:
4Ma 9:14 And with every member disjointed, he exclaimed in expostulation,
4Ma 9:15 O most accursed tyrant, and enemy of heavenly justice, and cruel-hearted, I am no murderer, nor sacrilegious man, whom thou thus ill-usest; but a defender of the Divine law.
4Ma 9:16 And when the spearmen said, Consent to eat, that you may be releasted from your tortures,—
4Ma 9:17 he answered, Not so powerful, O accursed ministers / deacon, is your wheel, as to stifle my reasoning…
In this story we read the Youth speaking to a spearman that is pleading for the Youth to eat the pork so that he can kill him and let his torture stop, and to this the youth says “O accursed ministers” or “O accursed deacon!” – The faithful youth says this, in calling attention to the fact that this spearman will serve his Tyrant lord by serving swine’s flesh to this faithful Hebrew boy, you see that he is a minister of the Tyrant.
And of course, this spearman’s plea for the youth to ‘save himself the torture’ shows he is not his own man, but rather he is in service of the tyrant Antiochus accursedly , as that man him self will not disobey the tyrant by doing his own will, in liberating the youth from the torture, but rather as a servant , minister or Deacon he is bound to serve Antiochus will lest he suffer a similar fate as the Hebrew youth.
And so we see the stark difference between the deacons of tyranny as the Greeks and Romans had and that of what the Lord says is the definitional office of ‘whoever will be great’ among a disciple, deacon in
Mat_20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes ( rulersG758 ) of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister / deacon G1249 ;
Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant / slave G1401 :
Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto served / deaconed, but to minister / to serve / to deacon, and to give his life a ransom for many.
And so very much we see the office of a Servant or Minister a deacon in contrasted difference from the Minister of the non-covenanted nations or Gentiles who know not the Gospel.
Here is where we find one of the most definitive statements about the difference between the Christian view of Government vs. the World’s view of Government, this is where we see a conceptual return to the spirit of the Law of God in Government, especially and most exclusively in terms of Church Government as well as in that combined office when the Christian is elevated to a level of civil authority and especially when the members of the Church Establish a civil Government upon God’s Law.
What we find is that the servitude or ministration of a man that is in a position of authority, is that of Christ like service, selfless service and sacrificial service. That is that as one who obeys an absolute Tyrant or Lord so is the deacon in service to minister to the people of God, the Overseer his is under and the people he is related to as well as those he is an example to on the out side. In other words, because to the Christian there is only God Alone who is the King, Lord and potentate, and thus the only Tyrant he bows his heart, mind and soul to, by which he bows by attending diligently to the Word of God in its understanding and most importantly in it’s application in his service to others, the Deacon is never found in fact serving or ministering to men regardless of rank or debasement, that is men of a high degree or of a low estate, the rich or the poor, but rather in every instance the Deacon is ministering as a simple attendant to the application of the word of God in his life, family life, church life, social interactions, and his place in government. This man is a servant, a minister of God, that though he many desire to do aught contrary to the commandment of the King of Kings, the LORD YHWH, who is the only Tyrant to which a Christian must bow, that Deacon servant will always rather serve the commandment of God as it is revealed in his Word which is the Law of God that binds his conscience above all else, this Deacon is a Blessed Minister, blessed with an attendance upon the Divine Law, found to be as devoted to the LORD GOD as he would be to a human Tyrant that holds in his hand the power of life and death.
And so this attendance to this obedience and rule will be seen beside the application of this service to the Overseer, those in authority as the Head Judge, that is that as the Law instructs obedience to this Head Judge so will this Deacon attend in ministry to him, he will have a high calling in serving this man’s office, and helping him in his service towards the people. In this way we see a minister, servant a deacon not only in a place of authority in the church in this sense, but we see him as a servant of those above and below him because he truly and in fact is in service and ministering to the tables of the LORD YHWH ruler of heaven and earth.
Thus it has been said,
” whosoever will be great among you, let him be your Deacon”
; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your slave: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to be deacon, and to give his life a ransom for many.
The King of Glory, died for you – His elect according to the purpose of Divine justice, according to the Word of God the Father and Spirit of holiness and this is the ultimate pattern for the Deacon’s office as the character of a chief man of the character of a great man, he must first show and maintain his status as a devoted servant and minister.
So with this biblically relevant definition of what a Deacon is, as a servant and thus one who serves the Lord by serving others, and as a minister as one who ministers to others by which he is seen as one capable of being a Chief man and a Great man, let us start to work through this Next enumeration of the out lined points of a Deacon.
( II ) Deacons
In the Greek this verse 8 says ‘Deacons likewise’ and so the first point to be noticed is the word, like wise, as this is a link between all that had prior been said concerning the Bishop or Overseer, the Episcope. This next list builds upon the Overseers list- that which was prior requiered of one who desired the good work of being in the office of over seer, and in the same ways these qualification apply to the Deacon as a ministering servant, but the possitive distinctions should be called to notice.
2. be grave,
(ABP serious, ESV dignified, the Greek is Semnous G4586 as this word is rooted in seb-oma-i it brings with it the idea of honesty before God, piety and of godliness. Very simply we are seeing the primary and first electing quality of a Deacon, a servant a Minister is the quality of gravity, or being grave. Remember, this literally means ‘being grounded’, this is why we have a law in physics called the Law of Gravity, that is what goes up must come down, and in like manner this is applicable to this Semnous attribute of a Deacon, though his thoughts may elevate God ward, in his person he must come down flesh ward, remembering who he is and what he is made of and yet maintain godliness in service to God as his focus, which must apply to his office. Thus 1. he is Grave, and having the quality of Gravity before God and man.
3. not double-tongued,
(virtually every translation agrees to this attribute as that of double words or speech as the Greek is simply di-logos G1351. This is a simple call to consistency of speech as is derived from ones logic, logos, rational, and the workings of his soul ; not one of a double-logical impute, that is having 2 logics in your speech but that of saying one thing consistently, logically or rationally, a definable standard of thought that comes forth from your mouth, and that which appeals to gravity.
We have many verses of scripture elsewhere that warn of this attribute of a person, The Lord said in Mat_12:35-37 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words (logos / logic) thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
and likewise the Brother of our Lord, James said:
Jas_1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
In speaking of a man of a doubles psyche or soul, from which the logic preceeds.
And thus, in an appeal to gravity, and that analogy, let me add this additional application, a man’s logic should be singular when he is elevated or when he is of low estate, having one mind rooted and grounded in the logos of God, the Word of God in order to Serve the objects of his office.
4. not given to much wine,
The word speaks to not being descriptively ‘oino pollo’ ‘wined much’ , I think we call this a ‘wine-o’ now, one who is identified with ‘much wine’.
Simply this point shows a man who also has failed from the from the prior 3 points of 1.being like the Overseer, 2 being grave and of being not of double speech and illogical, as does the next point as well, and those which follow:
5. not greedy of filthy lucre;
filthy lucre a-i-schro- shameful or filthy & kerdēs of gain, in business or money
It is interesting that the Law has no mention of either of these words in the law, and thus this requirement speaks to its plain reading as this is a descriptive statement of what this servant is not to be ‘shameful in gain’, thus in all gain he acquires it should be said of him that he has done so opposite to shame or dishonor, thus he does his business and or makes his gain honorably, righteously and with godly pride showing forth his prior attributes.
6. Holding the mysteryG3466 of the faith in a pure conscience.
Here is where we enter in upon the charge that was first spoken in the very first chapter of this epistle in 1:3-5 “… charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
Neither give heed to fables (Myths or mystery, shut matters) and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. “
Yet here we see the requirement of a man who can “Hold the mystery, the shut matters ( the mysterion G3466) of the faith in a pure conscience” , this is a clean conscience, and of the same composition of that which the teachers of other doctrine, the ones giving heed to myths that breed more questions rather than giving heed to the economy / house hold law of God that is in faith.
And therefore this clean conscience answers to that which these have lost, and that which is the purpose of this very commandment
1Ti 1:5 … charity out of a clean or pure heart, and of a good conscience, which combined makes faith not faked and thus a clean conscience.
The Deacon, cannot minister questions as these men that
1Ti 1:6-7 have turned aside unto worthless talking in their Desiring to be teachers of the law; yet understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
See, these men desired to be teaches, where as the man desiring the office of a Bishop desires a good work according to the law, and likewise does the Deacon who will minister and serve the Overseer and the church in his office.
The Deacon, like Overseer, and like Timothy who Paul was writing must
1Ti 1:19 Hold on to the faith, and hold on to this good conscience (which is clean); and not put it away this concern of the faith as leading to shipwreck.
No, in all of this the shut matters, the myth, and mysteries of the faith of God, must be able to be held onto like this, as to be the Servant, Minister, the Deacon needed to help pilot this battle ship upon the raging seas of war to which a soldier of Christ is called in service and ministration by his King:
The only wise God,
Honored and glorified
forever and ever
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