Deacon Qualifications from Acts

A Good Reputation (Acts 6:3)

Potential deacons must have a good reputation among the congregation and in the community at large. Imagine that you are considering a man in your church to be appointed as a deacon. Before you approach him, you conduct randomized, spontaneous interviews, inside and outside the church, asking people for their candid opinion of this man. If he has a “good reputation,” then you would receive a litany of positive testimonials. If not, then you would receive bad or mixed reviews.

A good reputation is necessary because deacons handle the financial and material matters of the church. They receive funds, manage funds, and distribute them. They must be counted on to handle these affairs with confidentiality, impartiality, and integrity. In the Jerusalem church, for instance, the Hellenist believers (Greek-speaking Jews) worried about favoritism towards the Hebrew-speaking widows. Therefore, it was imperative that they perceive the deacons appointed to resolve this dilemma to be impartial and trustworthy.

Full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3, 5)

Luke mentions twice that a potential deacon must be full of the Holy Spirit, emphasizing the spiritual nature of deacon ministry and striking a contrast with a mere secular approach. The descriptor full describes this man as being permeated by the influence of the Holy Spirit, fully yielded to his control. While it may seem difficult to tell whether a man is yielded to the invisible Spirit, Scripture provides five indicators which may be observed. First, he shares his faith with courage (Acts 2:243:104:8315:317289:1713:9455214:1719:29).

Second, he memorizes and meditates on the Word of God (Col 3:16). Paul equates this characteristic with being filled with the Spirit in a parallel passage (Eph 5:18). This is significant, because a congregation must have confidence that a potential deacon will make decisions guided by the Word of God. Consequently, a man who is filled with the Spirit and the Word will manifest three additional characteristics. He praises God from his heart and willingly participates in congregational singing (Eph 5:19Col 3:16). Furthermore, he exhibits a thankful spirit (Eph 5:20Col 3:17). 5), as well as a humble approach to relationships that elevates the needs of others over his own (Eph 5:21).

Full of Wisdom (Acts 6:3)

Luke teaches that a prospective deacon must be full of wisdom, emphasizing an ability to make skillful, prudent choices. Deacons make regular choices that require thoughtfulness, maturity, and a commitment to biblical principle, especially when their decisions and tasks intersect with human feelings, finances, and other sensitive factors. This wisdom must be more than common business savvy (Jam 3:14-16). It must be biblical in content and spiritual in nature (Jam 3:1317-18). Such wisdom can only be learned through personal study of the Word of God and humble, prayerful reliance upon God (2 Chron 1:10Prov 2:1-5Jam 1:5).

Full of Faith (Acts 6:5)

Luke teaches that a prospective deacon must be full of faith, or characterized by faith. To describe a man as “permeated with faith” implies firm confidence in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, unrelenting reliance on God, and faithful obedience to Scripture. In the most evident sense, such a man would be willing to share his faith and identify with Christ, even when confronted with martyrdom like Stephen (Acts 7:54-60).

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