1 Timothy 3:8-13

8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money;
9 they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons.
11 Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things.
12 Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well;
13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 3:8-13 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 TIMOTHY 3

In this chapter the apostle treats of the qualifications of officers of churches, bishops and deacons, and of their wives; and points at the principal reason of writing this epistle to Timothy: and first, he commends the office of a bishop, as a good and desirable one; and asserts it to be such in the strongest manner, 1Ti 3:1 and then follow the qualifications for it, some of which are of the economical or domestic kind, and regard him as an husband and parent, and the head of the family; others of a moral nature, and relate to sobriety, hospitality, temperance, patience, and liberality; and others of the ecclesiastical sort, as aptness to teach, and that he should not be a novice in religion; and in general, that he should be a man of a blameless life, and of good report in the world, 1Ti 3:2-7, next an account is given of the qualifications of deacons; some which concern their moral character; others their soundness in the faith; and others their domestic affairs, and their conduct in their families; about which they should be first examined, before they were put into their office; the characters of their wives are also given; and for their encouragement in the faithful performance of their office, it is observed, that they hereby obtain a good degree of honour and boldness in the faith of Christ, 1Ti 3:8-13. And the end of the apostle's writing this epistle, and particularly of giving Timothy this account of the qualifications of the officers of the church of God, is, that he might know whom to appoint over it, and how to conduct himself in it; which he commends from its being the house of God, the church of the living God, and the pillar and ground of truth, 1Ti 3:14,15. Of which truth he gives a summary, in several particulars of it, which open the great mystery of godliness, 1Ti 3:16.

1 Timothy 3:8-13 In-Context

6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.
8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money;
9 they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons.
11 Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things.
12 Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well;
13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that,
15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or [Their wives], or [Women deacons]
  • [b]. Gk [be husbands of one wife]
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.