Thursday, 14 December 2017
But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 1 Timothy 3:10
Paul, after stating the requirements of those who will fill the office of deacon, now tells how individuals are to then get to that point. He begins with, “But let these also first be tested.” The word “these” is speaking of men who otherwise appear to meet the qualifications laid out by him. There are different opinions on what “first be tested” means. Some think it means by filling the job in a probationary way at first. Others, by a searching inquiry of the general community. And still others look to it as being actually tested via a proper trial. The word used signifies “to try (test) to show something is acceptable” (HELPS Word Studies). It is not a test which focuses on disproving something, but rather approving. What makes the most sense is that all three of the options should be employed.
Some of the qualifications must be determined by being placed into the position to see if the person has the metal to match the requirements. Others can certainly only be determined by asking others about the known character of the individual. And how can a person’s proper doctrine be known by others unless they hold a trial of inquiry into what he plans on teaching? Due to the important nature of the duties, the more thorough of an examination that is made, the more likely the filling of the job will be by someone who is proper.
Only after these (whatever particular testing is done) are complete, does Paul say, “then let them serve as deacons.” The order is set: 1) read the requirements as laid out by Paul; 2) test the individual to fill the position, and then; 3) ordain the one who meets the requirements and passes the test. The ordination necessarily follows this logical progression to ensure the one selected has been found “blameless.” The Greek word signifies one who is not convictable when properly scrutinized, as if in a court of law. He is found without reproach, and is therefore suited to the job.
Life application: Are you aware of how the overseers and deacons are selected and evaluated in your church? If not, you should be. You have a right to know who is assigned in leadership positions, and how those selections were made. The qualifications are not secreted away, but are laid out in the Bible. Therefore, all people should have access to how the church is making these selections.
Lord God, the qualifications for appointment of elders and deacons are laid out in Your word. The process to ensure these qualifications are met is also laid out there. Because this is so, each person has a right and a responsibility to ensure that the process of selection is also done in accord with it. Help us to be responsible church-goers, willing to carefully evaluate the process of ordination so that only qualified men will serve. Surely, with this, things should go well, and You will be pleased. Amen.