Sunday, 17 December 2017
For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 3:13
Paul now explains the benefits of having served as a deacon. He has spoken of their qualifications in order to hold such an office, and now he goes directly to the end result of having obtained that appointment. He does this with the words, “who have served well.” They are then the basis for the benefits. What is to be anticipated is based upon the previous verses concerning their qualifications. If they met the necessary qualifications as outlined, and then had served in accord with those expectations, a positive benefit will result. Therefore, those who were ordained who were not qualified, or those who failed to serve in accord with those expectations, are not to be included in the benefits he will note.
Understanding this, he says that the deacons who have served well will “obtain for themselves a good standing.” The Greek word for “standing” here, bathmos, is found only this once in the entire Bible. It is actually a step in a staircase, and so figuratively it indicates a degree or a rank. The tense of the verb “have served” changes to the present “obtain.” It is that they “have served well” being necessary for the step, or standing, which they then obtain. Some find in this a note that being a deacon is a qualifying step to that of an overseer or a preacher. Others see this as indicating a great reward in their eternal station at the bema seat of Christ. However, it could be simply that such a person is to be recognized thereafter as a person of dependability and integrity within the church – “Paulonious was a deacon who served well, and so we know that he can be trusted in all he does.”
Paul then adds in, “and great boldness in the faith in Christ Jesus.” The Greek word translated as “boldness” is one which speaks of confidence in speech. Being combined with the thought of the faith which is in Christ Jesus, it then is referring to someone who has gained confidence to speak of the faith. He is thus one of firm convictions, who will stand on the faith. He will proclaim it without wavering, and he would therefore be recognized as a sound and dependable believer in Christ. Whether this means he will ever become a preacher or not is probably not the issue on Paul’s mind. Rather, he is continuing to refer to someone who can be trusted with imparting proper counsel – “Paulonious is someone you can go to when you need advice about the faith. He served well as a deacon, and he is a valuable resource when you need counsel.”
Life application: The more time one spends faithfully ministering, the more grounded he will normally be in his own convictions, and in his ability to communicate those convictions to others in their times of need. For deacons, they were already subject to scrutiny concerning their character. By serving in that office well, their character will continue to be developed. Such people will always be considered as valuable resources for others to seek out.
Lord God, we thank You for the ability to serve You in whatever way You have selected for us. You have molded each of us according to Your wisdom, so that some can serve through giving, some through prayer, some through encouraging others, or in many other ways. Help us to use our gift of service properly, and help us to mature in our lives so that others will find us dependable to come to in their own times of need. Help us to use our time wisely. Amen.