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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 3 - Verse 13

Verse 13. For they that have used the office of a deacon well. Marg., ministered. The Greek word is the same as deacon, meaning ministering, or serving in this office. The sense would be well expressed by the phrase, deaconizing well. The word implies nothing as to the exact nature of the office.

Purchase to themselves. Procure for themselves. See this word explained See Barnes "Ac 20:28".

 

A good degree. The word here used baymov occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, a step, as of a stair; and the fair meaning is that of going up higher, or taking an additional step of dignity, honour, or standing. So far as the word is concerned, it may mean either an advance in officer in dignity, in respectability, or in influence. It cannot certainly be inferred that the apostle referred to a higher grade of office; for all that the word essentially conveys is, that, by exercising this office well, a deacon would secure additional respectability and influence in the church. Still, it is possible that those who had performed the duties of this office well were appointed to be preachers. They may have shown so much piety, prudence, good sense, and ability to preside over the church, that it was judged proper that they should be advanced to the office of bishops or pastors of the churches. Such a course would not be unnatural. This is, however, far from teaching that the office of a deacon is a subordinate office, with a view to an ascent to a higher grade.

And great boldness in the faith. The word here rendered boldness properly refers to boldness in speaking. See it explained in the See Barnes "Ac 4:13"; See Barnes "2 Co 3:12; See Barnes "Php 1:20".

But the word is commonly used to denote boldness of any kind—openness, frankness, confidence, assurance. Joh 7:13,26; Mr 8:32; 2 Co 7:4.

As it is here connected with faith—"boldness in the faith"—it means, evidently, not so much public speaking, as a manly and independent exercise of faith in Christ. The sense is, that by the faithful performance of the duties of the office of a deacon, and by the kind of experience which a man would have in that office, he would establish a character of firmness in the faith, which would show that he was a decided Christian. This passage, therefore, cannot be fairly used to prove that the deacon was a preacher, or that he belonged to a grade of ministerial office from which he was regularly to rise to that of a presbyter.

{1} "used" "ministered" {b} "well" Mt 25:21 {+} "purchase" "acquire" {++} "degree" "an honourable rank" {c} "faith" 2 Ti 2:1

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