Qualifications of Deacons

Qualifications of Deacons


General Use of Deacon – servant, attendant

  • Servents (John 2:5,9), Christ (Rom 15:8), the Lord’s followers (John 12:26), Tychicus (Eph 6:21), Epaphras (Col 1:7), Paul (I Cor 3:5; II Cor 3:6; Col 1:23, ect)


Special Use of Deacon – men who met qualifications, officers in a congregation.

I Tim 3:8-10, 12-13



  • Phil 1:1 distinguishes the Bishop (elder) from the deacon, and the Bishops from the saints. 
  • Deacons are not “overseers”.  They serve under the elders, as does every Christian.
  • Deacons are a special group of tested, tried, proved, and capable servants.




  • The Greek word semnos means “honorable, reputable, grave, serious, dignified” (Deaver, 50).

Not double-tongued

  • The Greek word dilogos means “speaking one thing and meaning another; being deceitful in words” (Deaver, 50)

Not given to much wine

  • Not “addicted to much wine” Weymouth and the Berkeley Version
  • Cannot be influenced with the evil fruits of alcoholic drink. 

Not greedy of filthy lucre

  • Not sinfully concerned about material gain, not covetous, spiritually minded, spiritual things a priority.

Hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

  • Must hold fast to and earnestly contend for the faith.  (Jude 1:3)
  • Must know the faith and be submissive to it.
  • Must maintain a pure conscience.

First be proved

  • One who is proved is one who is found blameless
  • Known, tested, proved – then may become deacon.

Husband of one wife

  • Must be married.
  • Must have only one wife

Rule their children and their own houses well

  • Must rule all in the house.
  • Wife must be in subjection
  • Good manager of his household
  • Ruling their house well - He loves his wife and children; he cares for his family; he follows the example of Abraham, Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”



Wife Grave (dignified, serious-minded)

  • (4586) semnov, sem-nos’; from (4576) (sebomai); venerable, i.e. honorable: — grave, honest.
  • (4576) sebomai, — seb’-om-ahee; middle of an apparently primary verb; to revere, i.e. adore: — devout, religious, worship.
  • Wife must be grave - serious, somber about the business to be conducted.

Wife is not a slanderer

  • (1228) diabolov, dee-ab’-ol-os; from (1225) (diaballw); a traducer; specially Satan [compare Hebrew {7854} (satan)]: —false accuser, devil, slanderer.
  • Not slanderers - not one who is going to talk maliciously regarding others.

Wife Temperate, sober (self controlled)

  • (3524) nhfaleov, nay-fal’-eh-os; or nhfaliov, nay-fal’-ee-os; from (3525) (nhfw); sober, i.e. (figurative) circumspect: — sober.
  • (3525) nhfw, — nay’-fo; of uncertain affinity; to abstain from wine (keep sober), i.e. (figurative) be discreet: — be sober, watch.
  • Sober - having the right attitude toward herself.

Wife faithful in all things

  • Same Greek as “faithful” children in vs 4
  • Faithful in all things - She must be a steward as well, as she will aid him in his work.



Acts 6 – Deacons or not?

First identify the terms.

  • “Appointed to ‘serve’ (diakonein) tables, to assist in the daily ministration (diakonia).  Hence, it is right to call them ‘deacons.’ There could be no ‘diakonein’ or ‘diakonia’ without a ‘diakonos’. 


What Qualifications did the deacons in Acts 6 have to meet?

  • Of Good Report
  • Full of the Spirit
  • Full of Wisdom

Are the Deacons in Acts 6 the same as the deacons in I Tim 3?

  • No, the deacons in Acts 6 met different qualifications than those in I Tim 3. 
  • The task of which was set before them in Acts 6 was a temporal one. 
  • Two of the deacons appointed, Phillip and Stephen, left Jerusalem and began to evangelize elsewhere. 
  • Though both groups were servants, they were not holding the same office.


Can women be deacons?

  • No.  Paul wrote to the church of Rome,“I commend unto you Phobe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also” (Rom. 16:1-2).
  • Servant is sometimes translated deaconess (Amplified, RSV). Thus, some are so bold to assert there ought to be “deaconess” in the church today. It is one thing to say here is a women who was a servant at the church in Cenchrea, and is another thing to say that a women should fill that role in an official capacity.
    • In Romans 13:4, Paul used the same word servant relative to government official. “For he is the minister of God…” This is the same word. Certainly Paul is not saying the government should hold some type of church office.
    • Paul also used this word in chapter 15 with regard to Jesus Christ. Our Lord was also a servant, but our Lord did not hold the office of deacon.
    • It is possible for a lady to be a servant in the church and not hold that as an official deaconess. When you look at the qualifications of deacons from I Timothy 3, there is no recommendation for a lady to assume that position. Yet, we don’t want to minimize this lady as a servant of the church. Paul said she was a help to many people including Paul himself (Burkhart, Johnny. Godly WomenInformer. 8/20/2002. New Albany Church of Christ).



All the work of the church, including that of deacons, is overseen by the elders (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:7,17). The deacons have authority only as they are assigned to be "over" some specific "business" (Acts 6:3). Each deacon should be delegated responsibilities which are clearly understood by the deacon, the elders, and the congregation. Deacons may assist the elders by performing assignments in all scriptural works, particularly material, physical, benevolent, and mission areas.


The work of the deacon is important. He is not an elder, may never be qualified as an elder, and need not necessarily use his office as a stepping stone to be an elder. He can serve as a deacon, recognizing the value of that service. Deacons need to function regularly and be appreciated for their work's sake. When deacons have used the office well, they "purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith. . . " (1 Tim. 3:13). 

Good deacons are a blessing. When they were appointed and did their work in the setting of Acts 6, the complaining stopped, the needs were met, the Word increased, the disciples multiplied, and the deacons grew in faith and service (Acts 6:7-8). Just as the church today needs good elders to lead, it also needs competent, willing deacons to serve.