Organizing Your Church: The Deacon Problem

This will be a short series of posts on deacons. Most Churches of Christ appoint men to two offices: elders and deacons. In fact, it’s often been stated that a church is not “scripturally organized” if it doesn’t have both elders and deacons.

Five stories will help demonstrate the challenges we face regarding the appointment of deacons.

First story. I attended an ElderLink conference in Atlanta some years ago. In a classroom packed with 40 or so elders, the speaker addressed the selection of deacons. When it came time for questions, one elder asked, “I just want to know how to get the deacons to do their jobs!” Loud “amens” resounded throughout the room. The speaker allowed that he had no idea how to solve this problem.

Second story. Just a few years ago, my church was interviewing for a children’s minister. A candidate called me one morning, deeply concerned. He’d checked our website and couldn’t find any deacons mentioned. For church our size, he thought this was a serious omission. I had to assure him at length that we indeed have deacons. But he just couldn’t get over the fact that we didn’t list the deacons on our website.

Third story. I was attending a meeting of elders and deacons where the question of the relocation of the nursery came up. The women who ran the nursery had moved it from its former location to a larger space, taking up a classroom. No one knew why the women had made the move, and so the deacons voted to move the nursery back. No one bothered to call the women to ask why they had done this.

Fourth story. We were in the process of studying our ministry structure and wanted to eliminate “at large” deacons, that is, deacons with no work assignment. We met with a deacon who had no job, and he said, “I can’t tell you how glad I am that you are re-organizing the deacons this way. I’ve been needing to resign for years, but I couldn’t. You know, if I’d resigned, people would think I’d committed adultery!”

Fifth story. This one from the comments.

You want an example of immature adults? How about a leadership putting a deacon “over” a trained ym and having the ym answer to him. The deacon has had NO ym training or experience and had very young children, and was barely 6 yrs older than the ym. Talk about putting a brother through the fire. An interesting experience it was though…I left very soon afterwards.

And so, here are some the problems the deacon system — as the Churches do it today — creates:

* Deacons are generally appointed for life. But their job may not last very long. It may have been turned over to a minister or another deacon. It may no longer be needed. The deacon may have other commitments that keep him from being active volunteer.

* Whether a church is “scripturally organized” is defined by having deacons. However, there is no theology for what these deacons are to do? We have qualifications for deacons, but no job description.

* Deacons in the Churches of Christ are almost always men. And yet half or more of the ministries in any church are run by women. And deacons sometimes meet and vote as a body, considering matters that they do not understand because no women are present.

* Because appointments are for life or until removed for no longer being “scripturally qualified” — divorce, adultery, that sort of thing — deacons aren’t willing to resign when they can no longer fulfill their roles.

* For some reason, we often require that all programs be headed by a deacon, and that a deacon be male, married, and the father of children. And yet many of our most gifted leaders don’t meet these requirements. How do we reconcile the Bible’s plain teachings on gifts and talents with our practice? And why put a man with little or no talent for a particular work “over” the work, when the person answering to him knows very well how to do his job?

To understand the problem, let’s take a step back and see what the scriptures actually say on the subject. And we are immediately faced with a problem. You see, “deacon” translates the Greek diakonos, which means “servant.” In fact, diakonos is applied to Jesus, Christians in general, household servants — anyone that we might call a servant in English. But it does seem to be used as a title in just a few passages.

(Phil 1:1)  Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

(1 Tim 3:8-13)  Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

One other passage is sometimes translated “deacon,” although not in the NIV.

(Rom 16:1)  I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant [diakonos] of the church in Cenchrea.

I’ve covered the question of whether a woman can be a deacon (the Greek word for “deaconess” wasn’t coined until centuries after Christ) in these earlier posts —

Deacons, Part 1

Deacons, Part 2

Deacons, Arguments for and against Female Deacons

Deacons, Conclusions

What do deacons do?

Now, that’s not much to go on, is it? I mean, we have a list of who is qualified for the task, but not a word regarding what the task is! So far as our traditional teaching is concerned, we are “scripturally organized” if we pass out the title to a handful of men, but we can have the men do anything at all — or nothing.

Rather than admit that we have no doctrine for what a deacon is to do (we don’t), we’ve filled in the blanks with tradition. And our tradition runs like this —

* In a small church, deacons do whatever work men do other than teach or preach. Deacons open and close the building, maintain the yard, keep the books — whatever needs to be done. However, you don’t have to be a deacon to do these jobs, but since we gave some guys the title, we figure they’re the ones we ought to call on to do whatever needs to be done.

* In a larger church, the deacons are middle management. Each program must be headed by a deacon, and the deacons answer directly to the elders. Thus, the woman with 30 years of childcare experience and a masters in early childhood education who runs the nursery answers to a 67-year old man who hasn’t kept the nursery in his life and is 50 years behind on how to care for small children in church. When she wants to insist on modern approaches to sanitation and child safety, he refuses to be persuaded because that’s not how they did when his kids were small. And she can’t go around him to the elders.

Of course, this man was originally ordained a deacon because he faithfully cut the grass, which he was quite capable of and willing to do. When the church moved to a bigger location, they hired a lawn service and put the grass cutting deacon over the nursery.

This is (what’s the word?) nuts! I mean, if God had told us to do such a silly thing, well, we’d do it. But we made this up out of the clear blue sky, and it makes no sense at all.

Oh, while I’m on the subject, we have two other traditions.

* Because we only ordain men as deacons, we overlook and ignore programs headed by a woman. In many churches, the baptismal garments are washed and pressed, communion is prepared, the covered dish dinners are organized, and many other essential programs are overseen and run entirely by the women — with no help from a deacon, thank you very much.

But because we think all “programs” have to be headed by a deacon (who knows why), these ministries don’t make it onto the organizational chart. They often operate with no or very little budget. They just run because the women make sure they run. And, by and large, the women are smart enough to stay under the radar, so no one sticks a deacon over them to get in the way.

* And utterly without scriptural precedent, we have deacons meetings, often with the elders, at which things are voted on. Maybe they vote on the budget, or whether to repave the parking lot, or which courses to study in the Bible classes. It’s just whatever comes up, you know.

Now, the problem with deacons meetings is not the lack of authority. I really don’t care (but most of the churches that have these meetings say they do). Rather, the problem is that you have the wrong people present and the wrong people voting.

When a decision needs to be made whether to pave the parking lot, you may have guys voting who have no current ministry, no financial skills, no knowledge of the budget, and no knowledge of how to bid out paving work.

Worse yet, you likely don’t have the youth minister present, and this decision will affect his budget. And you don’t have the women who plan covered dish dinners, and so no one notices that the parking lot will be covered with hot asphalt the day of the next dinner — and no one thinks to tell her. And you don’t have the church secretary who’s rented classrooms for an Eagle Scout ceremony on the day the parking lot will closed to be prepped for paving.

No rational organization would leave so many key players out of the decision making — and subject the church to embarassment — but we do this routinely. Why? Because (1) the deacons are supposed to meet and vote on stuff (why?), (2) women can’t be deacons (so they can unlock the building and cut the grass. Why?), and (3) programs that are supposed to be headed by a deacon (why?), and so programs that aren’t headed by a deacon don’t exist.


It’s all total craziness, but such is the power of tradition.

Here’s what happens if you don’t comply with the traditional way of doing things —

* Young married men with children wonder what they did wrong.

* Some men who’d be motivated by a title, don’t get a title.

* Don’t elders have to be deacons first? (Many years ago in my church, a man obviously gifted by God to be an elder had never been a deacon. The elders wouldn’t ordain him as elder until he served one week as a deacon!)

* Many consider the church not “scripturally organized” — meaning its members go straight to hell when they die.

* We don’t know how else to organize the church. If not deacons, then what?

Then what?

I’m going to get to “then what” in the next post — but I have to explain a few things first.

Have you read 1 Timothy 5:9-10 lately? No? It’s important for this discussion, but no one else ever brings it up.

(1 Tim 5:9-10)  No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

Notice that “faithful to her husband” translates “the wife of one husband,” in exact parallel to the 1 Tim 3:12 “husband of one wife.” Both chapters have a list of qualifications phrased very similarly, but we treat 1 Tim 3’s qualification list for deacons as essential to being scripturally organized (although we have no idea what job there is that one must be a deacon to do it), and we completely ignore the 1 Tim 5 list, largely because we aren’t sure what “the list of widows” is.

Why is one a “mark of the church” and the other entirely irrelevant to modern church life? Strange that our reading should be so oddly selective, isn’t it?

Now, we’ll get to what the Bible really says, but for now, I think I’ve shown that the way we normally do things is (1) not required by scripture and (2) not the best way to run a church and (3) totally nuts. The only justification for continuing this strange behavior is to protect our reputation among our sister congregations that will damn us for not complying with their unscriptural traditions — which is not much of a reason, in my book.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink.My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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37 Responses to Organizing Your Church: The Deacon Problem

  1. mattdabbs says:

    Here are 10 things I have found useful in getting the deacons to accomplish their responsibilities:

    1 – Realize this is volunteer help and people are busy. So for that reason and for accountability try to have 2 deacons for each area of service/ministry

    2 – Have each deacon have a corresponding elder/minister as a contact point for the elders. This is for accountability and for communication.

    3 – Make sure all deacons have a specific job description that is as measurable as possible. It doesn't help if you ask someone to do something and there is no way to tell if it actually got done.

    4 – Have regular followup with deacons to encourage them and help them plan out their vision for their ministry. If not most just go into "default mode" and nothing gets done.

    5 – Make sure not to undermine your deacons by doing things in their area without their knowledge. If something is being done to the building, make sure the "building and grounds" deacon knows about it and isn't caught by surprise on Sunday, etc.

    6 – Have regular meetings with all deacons with a set agenda for them to talk about what is coming up in their area. Have time for prayer and make sure this is very structured. This is aided by points 2 & 4 above to make sure they are all on track in advance of the meeting. Otherwise the ones who do the least will end up feeling bad and talking the most.

    7 – Make sure you are actively recruiting new members into specific areas of service and that the appropriate deacons are getting the names and contact info for people who want to help in their area.

    8 – As ministries grow, make sure you help your deacons transition from the one who does everything in the ministry to someone who coordinates and facilitates their volunteer help from within the congregation. This gets more people involved and results in less deacon burnout.

    9 – Make sure you realize changes and needs in the congregation to proactively address those with deacons/ministries in advance so we don't drop the ball with anyone. One example. With the failing economy we added more deacons to benevolence to specifically address helping people budget and find jobs in addition to the financial assistance piece we already had.

    10 – Make sure your deacons get positive feedback when things are going well. Ministers and elders often get in emergency mode and take for granted those people and areas that are actually accomplishing their purposes. If you want someone to keep doing a good job, make sure you show your appreciation.

  2. margaret says:

    Jay, What do you think about Elders that elect Deacons. Recently where I go to Church, We elected new Deacons. The Elders interviewed all of them and if they did not agree with the elders on every belief they disqualified them. The ones they did this to left . This also happens when we elect a new Elder. I have never been to a Church that did this and I don’t think there is anything in the Bible that condones this practice. I know why they do it, but I still do not think it is right.

  3. Nick Gill says:

    The elders with whom I worship depend heavily upon "relentless communication." We make jokes about it, but its true, and as long as the communication is not overbearing micromanagement, it seems to do a good job.

    But I do get frustrated sometimes, because I can't be a "deacon" as long as my wife and I have no children. Staying under the radar is a nice benefit, and I know that "God makes men what they are," (Braveheart) so I don't need a title to be a servant. So I don't know if it is fallen selfishness that makes me want to be a DEACON, or a servant heart that wants to serve most effectively.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They are being told they can have only one wife to be a deacon, it doesn't mean they have to be married to be a deacon. (sp)

  5. Dan says:

    There are several churches that focus more on form than function. This can be to maintain tradition for tradition’s sake, maintain their seperate identity in the “christian world’ or an attempt to be the most innovative/ progressive church in town. All of these are equally wrong. As churches, we are to be the body of Christ. We are to seek to unite rather than divide and serve rather than argue. We are admonished to avoid disputes and to be united. Until all of us realize that none of us has everything right and start focusing on loving and serving as Christ, we will continue to be a hinderance to the work we have been given. We need to remember it is not about me, what I want or what I think I deserve. It is all about Him.

  6. Randall says:

    Interesting that some place such emphasis on being “scripturally organized.” I am well aware of the arguments that the preacher is actually the evangelist so his position is scriptural, but it is an argument of convenience. No where does scripture discuss senior or pulpit ministers, nor youth ministers, nor involvement ministers etc. These are simply conveniences we have grown accustomed to.

    As to female deacons, we have had them for decades or maybe more than a century. It just isn't OK to call them deacons, and in some churches we can't call them ministers either. However, we may call them servants or even the Lord's handmaiden. Sometimes we simply call them Sally or Susie, but what we call them does not change who they are.

  7. Anonymous says:

    1 Timothy 3:12 “Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.’

    Does the coc not realize that many men in those days had multiple wives. They are being told they can have only wife to be a deacon, it doesn’t mean they have to be married to be a deacon. They are being told to rule their children well, it doesn’t mean you have to have children to be a deacon.

  8. margaret says:

    Dan, My Dad was an Elder for many years and I still remember what he went through with trouble makers. But he never ignored a legitimate complaint. He always said things were to be done decently and in order. So far be it for me to be a divider and trouble maker. And I do know why I am in Church. But each of us has opinions that we might not express to anyone in the name of peace. What you said sounded really good, and I agree with most of what you said. I do think there are ways of doing things in Church but I would never want to cause trouble in Christ's Church.. But I don't think it is alright to say something is wrong and then accuse people of being dividers for wanting things done right. Most of us go to Church because we love the Lord and want to do his will. We know we are to tell people about the love of Jesus, How he died on the cross so that we might have forgiveness for our sins, We are to feed the hungry{and there are so many hungry people, especially children in the world today}, We are to comfort the sick and try to make the world a better place to be. We also know that it is his Church, not ours. As long as I can read my Bible, I will continue to have opinions and questions. That is the best way I know to learn what God says about my opinions and questions. I also would like to say that I am thankful for my earthly Father, who taught me to love God and to obey his commandments. He was a quiet Man of God And I miss him terribly.

    Rich says:

    I’ve been a deacon at two congregations (in two states). Both times I was doing the job before getting the title. The first time, I intentionally turned down the title until my kids were school age. I wanted their behavior proven outside of the home first. I have seen too many deacons who were selected when their children were just toddlers and find out several years later their leadership in the home was extremely lacking.

    Regardless of how detailed or not we want to apply the qualifications for deacons and elders, leadership in the home is the best indicator of having the proper leadership skills for the church. Although important, if we only rely on business-type leadership as qualifications, we will fall short.

    I think people get too bent out of shape over the title. I accept the title if it helps me have a more positive influence. Otherwise, I don’t need it.

    (I must admit the title did feel good when I got it. I felt like it was a public recognition of my contributions. Perhaps that’s just my weak human thinking.)

  9. Rich says:


    Excellent list.

    Let me add not to feel afraid to recognize helpers who aren’t deacons. For example, when I was education director, the lady in charge of our children’s classes was listed in the deacon job descriptions as an assistant.

  10. Jay Guin says:


    Those are excellent points. I would add only a few wrinkles —

    11. Recognize that some of your most important ministries are headed by people who are not deacons — perhaps the youth ministry (headed by a minister) or the preschool program (headed by a woman). Treat them the same as the deacons. They are all servants. Give the women and childless equal respect — as required by 1 Cor 12.

    12. Don't ever put a deacon over someone for the sake of having all programs headed by a deacon. Let the person gifted to the task do the task regardless of sex, marital status, and number of children.

    13. Make a point of putting women, members of minority groups, and singles in positions of responsibility suitable to their talents. We old, male, white, married parents often fail to see the gifts given the young, female, non-white, single, or childless. Honor the Spirit's work in your members by assigning work based on his gifts, not your cultural preconceptions.

    14. Deacons can serve under or beside someone who is not a deacon. A youth minister may have two or three deacons active in his ministry. They work with him, not over him. He chairs the ministry, even if he's single or childless. Deacons who insist on being in charge aren't really servants and aren't worthy of the title. Of course, a young, callow youth minister may well need to be mentored by an older, more experienced man. Just be sure the minister is given the leeway he needs to do his job.

    In short, the Spirit chooses who should received his gifts. We follow the Spirit's lead.

  11. Jay Guin says:


    The tradition of having deacons is so well established that a church can't easily go a different direction — but the way we organize is pure tradition and far removed for First Century practice. The truly biblical model is found in 1 Cor 12, and if we really believe the Spirit gives gifts, we organize based on giftedness, not the number of children, marital status, or gender. It's truly absurd to require a man to be married and to have well-behaved children to be over lawn care, and then when the church gets bigger, hire a lawn service run by a pagan to do the same job.

    I'd just as soon eliminate the position altogether and operate on a purely gifts/talents approach.

  12. Jay Guin says:


    Actually, in the First Century, polygamy was unheard of among the Greeks and very rare among the Jews. The more likely translation of the phrase is "one-woman man," that is, sexually faithful. And the Greeks particularly had a serious issue with adultery, which was deeply engrained in their culture. If deacons were tasked with taking food to widows, sexual faithfulness was a genuine consideration!

  13. Jay Guin says:

    We have a monthly meeting which we call a “deacons’ meeting” but which is really broader than that. We also have elders, ministry staff, and key non-deacon leaders of key ministry responsibilities. Everyone who attends can submit items to the agenda.

    Exactly right, in my opinion — except that, in larger churches, you find yourself having separate periodic meetings for small group leaders and other meetings for those running adult ed, etc. It gets too hard to cover everything with everyone when you reach a certain size. Indeed, one key to growing as a church is to revamp your leadership structure as you grow. A system that works beautfully in a church of 200 may be a disaster in a church of 500.

  14. Alan says:

    We have about fifteen deacons. (Congregation a little over 200 members, around 350 attendance). Each deacon is over one or more areas of responsibility. From time to time we offer opportunities to rotate assignments. It works well, and they are doing an outstanding job. These are highly motivated Christians who not only do what is expected but find new ways to serve without being asked. Our deacons are the backbone of the congregation.

    We’ve had a couple of deacons resign over the past few years, without any stigma or suspicion as far as I can tell. In both cases there were significant family burdens that became too much for the person to continue doing an excellent job on their deacon responsibilities. It was apparent to everyone why they chose to step down.

    We have a monthly meeting which we call a “deacons’ meeting” but which is really broader than that. We also have elders, ministry staff, and key non-deacon leaders of key ministry responsibilities. Everyone who attends can submit items to the agenda. We don’t vote on anything, but we have a roundtable discussion where everyone can make their views known. Everyone knows the elders make the final decision, but we almost always do what the deacons recommend, after group discussion.

    We also have periodic meetings with the elders and their wives, together with the ministers and their wives. At these meeings we do things like plan the calendar of events and identify areas needing to be addressed in Bible class, sermons etc. These meetings are run basically the same way. Anyone can bring up agenda items, and everyone knows the elders make the final decision, but we almost always do what the group recommends.

  15. Jay Guin says:


    I’m all for the elders ordaining the deacons. Someone has to make the call, and the elders often know things about a member no one else knows. On the other hand, I also favor a process that invites congregational input. If they aren’t supported by the congregation, they can’t be effective. And members may well know something about a person nominated to be deacon that needs to come before the elders.

    On the other hand, I see no point in demanding agreement on all doctrinal points. Why does a deacon need to agree with the elders on the age of the earth in order to oversee the care of the lawn? That’s creedalism and not acceptable in a Restoration Movement church.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Jay, Ephesus was the Roman capital of Asia. Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles throughout Asia.

    Acts 19:10 "And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.'

  17. Royce Ogle says:

    Having observed deacons in many churches over the past 40 years I conclude that deacons usually do very little. Far too often they are the unfit appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecesary.

    For whatever reason, our members take care of what needs to be done without much fanfare. A few years ago we had dozens of deacons and mostly they were deacons in name only.

    The person who does the heavy lifting in every church I know about is the man who preaches to the Sunday congregation. Elders are there to either help him or in many cases hurt him.

    About appointing deacons, why not put the emphasis on “full of the Holy Ghost” rather than on marriage matters? Unless that first ancient requirement is true why bother?


  18. Anonymous says:

    Jay, It was a known practice of the Jews to have more than one wife though it doesn’t mean all Jews had more than one wife.

  19. Jay Guin says:


    The opposite phrase (“wife of one husband”) is found in 1 Tim 5:9, and polyandry was unheard of in the Roman world. If “wife of one husband” doesn’t mean “not a polyandrist” then “husband of one wife” doesn’t mean “not a polygamist.”

    That’s the argument that convinced me that “husband of one wife” means “sexually faithful.” And I think it makes a lot of sense for Paul to have emphasized that point when speaking of men charged with the care of widows (who might have been younger than the deacons).

  20. Anonymous says:

    Jay, Jewish people had multiple wives up until the 11th Century.

  21. Anonymous says:

    There are words and phrases used in the Bible that don't always have the same meanings.

    Some widows who have married again not relly having such needs could try to wrongfully use of the good will the church gives. It doesn't mean sexually unfaithful.

  22. Anonymous says:

    And to say it means sexually faithful means you would have to be able to know whether they have been sexually faithful. How is it you would screen widows as such? But you can know if a widow is married again.

  23. Anonymous says:

    1 Timothy 5:4 "Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable to God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day."

    If a widow has children or grandchildren who will help them let the children do so as it helps them grow. But a widow has no children who will help and has not married another husband is a true widow who has no one to help her and needs the church to help.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Paul was speaking about widows who are left alone when saying she has been the wife of one husband.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Matt, Why do you need to know who I am. Can we not look to the Bible and to the Jewish Roots. I am posting to show more than one persons view. It's sometimes easier for people see things when looking at them one at a time.

  26. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t mean sexually faithful. (sp)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Some widows who have married again not really having needs such as food could try to wrongfully use of the good will the church gives.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Matt, why do you have to know who I am to talk about the Bible. Is the Bible not good enough for us both to look at?

  29. mattdabbs says:

    I just said it is fine to carry on this way 🙂 It does matter to some degree. If I handed you a book to read would it matter to you who wrote it? I can see it isn't getting any where and if you don't want to share it, it isn't any of my business anyway.

  30. mattdabbs says:


    Is anyone having a conversation with you? Amazing one person can have such a lengthy dialog with themselves. It doesn’t lend much credibility when you post without a name. We have no background, no understanding of your education, perspective, etc. Then all these comments. It really isn’t that helpful.

    Why don’t you take a breather, write down all your thoughts and share them in one post rather than nickel and dime us all to death? You probably have some decent ideas to share but it just isn’t coming across well when you comment by the dozen.

  31. Jay Guin says:


    I agree that Paul was speaking of widows who’d not remarried. He is actually quite clear on that point, going so far as to urge younger widows to remarry rather than be a burden on the church. 1 Tim 5:11-14. But what does “wife of one husband” mean? Does it mean not remarried after the death of her husband? Seems unlikely when Paul is urging remarriage after becoming a widow. Does it mean not divorced and remarried? That’s surely an obscure way to say that, and contradicts 1 Cor 7:27-28.

    The NIV translates,

    (1 Tim 5:9-10) No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

    “Faithful to her husband” translates “one-man woman” or “wife of one husband.” The other items on the list deal with general Christian conduct. “Faithful to her husband” fits the context just fine — certainly better than “not divorced, remarried, and then widowed.”

    Might a woman successfully hide her sexual immorality? Sure. She might also hide a previous marriage and divorce.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The NIV was made by men in 1966.

    Paul made it clear that a widows who has no help from their children (Timothy 5:4-5) need help and Paul said that widows the wife of one man need help (Timothy 5:9), he didn’t say a faithful wife of one man. Paul speaks about widows who are left alone.

    Again so how is it you would screen widows for being faithful?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Paul made it clear that widows who have no help from their children need help. (sp)

  34. mattdabbs says:

    Sure…I just don’t expect as much from a conversation when I don’t know who I am talking with.

  35. Joe Baggett says:

    If the requirement was that a deacon or elder must never have been divorced it would say that explicitly but it doesn’t it says the husband of but one wife. To me this means at the present because of the tense of the phrase. So as long as an elder or deacon has one wife at a time and is faithful to her to me that meets the requirement Paul is setting forth.

  36. Peter Tefft says:

    Deacons of the congregation that are members should be introduced or recognized as such so that people can pray for them and begin to ask for their help when needed. This includes Deacons presently serving and those who are not. If an ordained Deacon attends and becomes a member of that congregation, they should be introduced. Ordained Deacons are perpetual, never ending so its a life time ministry for them. Its not a vain thing at all. Its respect for the Deacon that has been called by God to serve and is holy ordained by God. Just simple respect. I am a Deacon having served two other churches in the same denomination. Ordained by God but the current church I am attending doesn’t seem to be interested or even care that I hold this holy office from God. I have been asked to be a Deacon and I have wanted to say, I am a Deacon but because it might sound vain, I refrain. Its just a bit frustrating. Because of this lack of recognition I will not serve as a Deacon in this congregation. I will seek to do God’s work in outside organizations that are Christian. I will support the church financially, go to services and Sunday school but not serve there. The recognition doesn’t have to be a big deal. Find ways to introduce the Deacon to the congregation out of respect for their calling and God’s ordaining the person for a life time of service.

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