Continuing in the study of 1 Timothy, Chapter 3, we see that the pastor is “not to be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil (v. 6).” This has application for only the highest in church leadership. This does not refer to those who want to serve in the church. This verse, if used incorrectly, can keep those who are newer to the faith with a desire to serve away from being effective servants for Christ. In the early church, there was a need for leadership in the church that consisted of new believers. “Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty (Acts 6:3).” The minimum consideration for those who want to serve are those who have a good reputation and sincere with a desire to serve in the Spirit. While deacons and church workers need not be experienced believers, pastors should be experienced so as to avoid issues of pride and arrogance before His people. “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).” “A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor (Proverbs 29:23).” All of us are servants of God.
In verse 7, the reference is made that those in church service should have a good reputation, not just in church, but outside of church. Even those who know them who do not know the Lord are still respected because, in spite of their own views, the respected person stands up for what he believes in. A person of good reputation loves others, whether they are saved or unsaved, and is honest and ethical.
The deacon is also to be a respected person that holds to the truth (vs. 8). Deacons are not necessarily to be “experienced” believers, but are to be of good behavior and act with a clear conscience (v. 9; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Acts 23:1). “And they must be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons (v. 10).” The test will either prove or disprove them based upon an examination of their reputation and from the report of others.
“Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything (v. 11).” This refers to all women in the church involved with leadership, including a deaconess, pastor’s wife, and a deacon’s wife. All women in this position must not be a malicious gossip but rather be faithful and trustworthy. A deaconess also must be trustworthy with finances and with information. A wife in this position must be a prayer partner that keeps confidences based upon her husband’s position.
The people have a confidence that the people serving within a church are capable of leadership (Hebrews 3:6; Numbers 12:7). “Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (vs. 12-13).” The behavior of those in church leadership and service should set the tone for others within the church (vs. 14-15). “Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. This is how God’s children–and the Devil’s children–are made evident (1 John 4:9-10).” Our behavior, in turn, will reflect how we are all to conduct ourselves before God. While we are all free under Christ, we sacrifice with a willingness to serve Him. “For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people (1 Corinthians 9:19).”