1 Timothy 3:10
And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And let these also first be proved.—No formal investigation, either in public before the congregation, or in private before Timothy and his fellow presbyters, is here referred to. What is most probably the meaning of the word is—the deacon should for a time perform many of the various duties on probation, to test his fitness before he was formally set apart for the holy office. So much of the work belonging to these officials of the early Church necessarily partook of a partially secular character, that such a trial of their fitness could well be made.

Then let them use the office of a deacon.—Better rendered, let them serve as deacons, if, after the trial, inquiry, and period of probation, they be found blameless.

1 Timothy 3:10. Let these also — (The word also implies that the same rule was to be observed with relation to bishops) first be proved — “By the examination,” says Whitby, “of the soundness of their faith, and the purity of their former lives: and then let them be admitted to use the office of a deacon, being thus found blameless.” And he shows, by a quotation from the Life of the Emperor Severus, written by Lampridius, and from the epistles of Cyprian, that such an examination was used at the ordination of both bishops and deacons in the churches of the early Christians, and that it was a practice derived from the apostles. Some, however, think that the apostle required, in this direction, that no one should be made either a bishop or a deacon, till he had given proof both of his steadfastness in the faith, and of his genuine piety and good conduct during a reasonable space of time after his conversion: or, that the persons admitted to these offices should be under trial for a while, how they conducted themselves therein, and then afterward, if they gave satisfaction, they should be confirmed in them.3:8-13 The deacons were at first appointed to distribute the charity of the church, and to manage its concerns, yet pastors and evangelists were among them. The deacons had a great trust reposed in them. They must be grave, serious, prudent men. It is not fit that public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any, till they are found fit for the business with which they are to be trusted. All who are related to ministers, must take great care to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ.And let these also first be proved - That is, tried or tested in regard to the things which were the proper qualifications for the office. This does not mean that they were to be employed as "preachers," but that they were to undergo a proper trial in regard to their fitness for the office which they were to fill. They were not to be put into it without any opportunity of knowing what they were. It should be ascertained that they were grave, serious, temperate, trustworthy men; men who were sound in the faith, and who would not dishonor the office. It is not said here that there should be a "formal" trial, as if they were candidates for this office; but the meaning is, that they should have had an opportunity of making their character known, and should have gained such respect for their piety, and their other qualifications, that there would be reason to believe that they would perform the functions of the office well. Thus, in Acts 6:3, when deacons were first appointed, the church was directed to "look out seven men of honest report," who might be appointed to the office.

Then let them use the office of a deacon - Let them be appointed to this office, and fulfil its duties.

Being found blameless - If nothing can be alleged against their character see the notes on 1 Timothy 3:2.

10. "And moreover," &c. [Alford].

be proved—not by a period of probation, but by a searching inquiry, conducted by Timothy, the ordaining president (1Ti 5:22), whether they be "blameless"; then when found so, "let them act as deacons."

blameless—Greek, "unexceptionable"; as the result of public investigation unaccused [Tittmann].

The higher officers ought to be proved, ( as well as these of a lower order), as by examination or conference, so (which possibly is here more intended) by an observation of their lives and conversation, for some time before they were admitted into this employment. Then,

being found blameless, they were to be admitted into this employment. And let these also first be proved,.... Not that they should be tried in any part of the deacon's office, to see how capable they are of performing it; but their internal and external characters are to be looked into and examined, and if they appear, to be right, then they are to be approved of, chosen and called unto, and invested with the office:

then let them use the office of a deacon; let them be employed and minister in the several parts and branches of that office:

being found blameless; not without sin, but free from any gross and enormous one; not before God, but in the sight of men; See Gill on 1 Timothy 3:2.

And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 3:10. Καὶ οὗτοι δὲ δοκιμαζέσθωσαν πρῶτον] The particles καὶδέ mean and also, καί being purely copulative; δέ, however, opposing and emphasizing[127] something new. Since this new thing, which is necessarily emphatic, always stands between καί and ΔΈ, ΟὟΤΟΙ, as van Oosterzee has rightly seen, must be opposed to those before named, i.e. to the presbyters; it is to be explained: “and these too, i.e. not only the presbyters, but also the deacons, are first to be proved.” It is wrong, therefore, to make δοκιμαζέσθωσαν emphatic, and to explain ΟὟΤΟΙ without reference to those before named (“and these are further to be proved”), as was done in the former editions of this commentary.[128] Had he wished to say that, the apostle could not but have written ΚΑῚ ΔΟΚΙΜΑΖΈΣΘΩΣΑΝ ΔῈ ΟὟΤΟΙ; comp. John 8:16. It is true that nothing has been said hitherto about an examination in regard to the office of presbyter; but, of course, such an examination must have preceded the election. The examination for the office of deacon would certainly refer to the life and stedfastness in the faith. He does not say who was to undertake the examination, but it is natural to suppose that it was to be undertaken by those who elected. At the first institution of the diaconate the election was made by the church, the installation to the office by the apostles. It is not known how it was managed later in the apostolic age. Heydenreich makes the examination too formal when he says: “They are to be examined first by Timothy, with the aid of the presbytery; the votes of the members of the church are to be taken concerning his worthiness,” etc. On the other hand, the force of δοκιμαζέσθωσαν must not be weakened by such explanations as: “Paul wishes only those to be made ΔΙΆΚΟΝΟΙ regarding whom a definite opinion had already been formed in the church” (so in the second edition of this commentary); or: “it is the moral testing which naturally took place when they lived for some time under the eyes of the church and its leader;” or: “it is in substance the same thing as ΜῊ ΝΕΌΦΥΤΟΝ, used regarding the choice of presbyters” (Hofmann).

It is quite wrong, with Luther (“and these are first to be tried”) and others, to understand the words as if they meant that candidates were first to be tried in the affairs of the diaconate.

ΕἾΤΑ ΔΙΑΚΟΝΕΊΤΩΣΑΝ, ἈΝΈΓΚΛΗΤΟΙ ὌΝΤΕς] The participle expresses the condition under which they are to be admitted to the office of deacon. ΔΙΑΚΟΝΕῖΝ, as applied definitely to the office of deacon, occurs only here, at 1 Timothy 3:14, and in 1 Peter 4:11.

[127] Comp. Meyer on John 6:51; Hartung, Lehre von den Partik. d. gr. Spr. I. pp. 181 ff.; Buttmann, p. 312.

[128] Wiesinger, too, seems to take it in this way: “These, however, also are first to be proved, then they may serve.”1 Timothy 3:10. δοκιμαζέσθωσαν: Chrys. notes that this corresponds to the provision μὴ νεόφυτον in the case of the episcopus. This testing of fitness for the office of deacon may have been effected either by (a) a period of probationary training,—if the injunction in 1 Timothy 5:22, “Lay hands hastily on no man,” has reference to ordination, it is another way of saying δοκιμαζέσθωσαν πρῶτον,—or by (b) the candidates producing what we should call testimonials of character. Such testimonials would attest that a man was ἀνέγκλητος, i.e., that no specific charge of wrong-doing had been laid against him (unblamed is Hort’s rendering). Until a man has proved his suitability for a post by administering it, this is the most that can be demanded. Each step subjects a man’s character to a fresh strain. If he comes out of the trial unscathed, he is entitled to be called ἀνεπίλημπτος. It is significant that in Titus 1:6-7, where the ordination of presbyters, or episcopi, with no antecedent diaconate is contemplated, this elementary and superficial test, that they should be ἀνέγκλητοι, is mentioned. See note on 1 Timothy 3:2. In a normal condition of the Church, episcopi are chosen from those whose fitness is matter of common knowledge.

διακονείτωσαν: For instances of this absolute technical sense of the word see reff.10. And let these also] These, as well as the presbyters, for whom 1 Timothy 3:7 defines a very searching test. Bp Ellicott s note, rightly explaining that the first conjunction is ‘Also,’ ‘Moreover,’ and the second ‘and’ in this phrase, shews that the stress must be on ‘these,’ the force of the first conjunction being necessarily limited to it. Yet Alford quotes the note while saying ‘there is no connexion by means of the conjunctions with the former requirements concerning presbyters.’ The test or proof here too is the judgment of the general community. Cf. 2 Timothy 3:12 for the same conjunctions.1 Timothy 3:10. Καὶ οὗτοι δὲ, and these also) The bishop was bound to have more and greater virtues (qualifications) conspicuous, and he was of greater dignity; wherefore in his case no further scrutiny (‘proving’) is required; but the deacons were bound to give proof of what they were, in performing the duties of the deaconship, before that they be fully admitted into the office.Verse 10. Serve as deacons for use the office of a deacon, A.V.; if they be for being found, A.V. And let these also, etc. There is an ambiguity in the English here. It is not" these also" - these in addition to others, i.e. the bishops before named - but "these be also first proved." Their general character, as described in vers. 8, 9, must not be taken upon loose hearsay, but must be put to the test by examination, by special testimony, by inquiry, and then, if they are ἀνέγκλητοι, not accused, not open to just blame, blameless, let them be admitted to serve as deacons (see ver. 13, note). The Church of England scrupulously acts up to these directions by requiring written testimonials, by personal inquiries made by the bishop, by the Si quis, by the appeal to the congregation in the Ordination Service, "Brethren, if there be any of you who knoweth any impediment, or notable crime, in any of these persons presented to be ordained deacons, for the which he ought not to be admitted to that office, let him come forth in the name of God, and show what the crime or impediment is;" as well as by the careful examination of the candidates. Blameless (comp. Titus 1:6, 7); ἀνέγκλητος, rendered in the Vulgate nullum crimen habentes (which seems to explain the "notable crime" of the Ordination Service), and in Colossians 1:22 "unreprovable" both in the A.V. and the R.V. The whole passage, from ver. 2 to ver. 13, shows the supreme importance of a holy and blameless conversation in the clergy. These also (καὶ οὗτοι δὲ)

As well as the Bishops. No mention is made of a proving of the Bishops, but this may be fairly assumed. Comp. not a novice, 1 Timothy 3:6.

Be proved (δοκιμαζέσθωσαν)

Common in Paul; only here in Pastorals. See on 1 Peter 1:7. Not implying a formal examination, but a reference to the general judgment of the Christian community as to whether they fulfil the conditions detailed in 1 Timothy 3:8. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 2:2.

Let them use the office of a deacon (διακονείτωσαν)

Much better, let them serve as deacons. In this sense only in the Pastorals. Comp. 1 Timothy 3:13. The verb is very common in N.T.

Being blameless (ἀνέγκλητοι ὄντες)

Rather, unaccused: if no charge be preferred against them. In Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22. Comp. Titus 1:6, Titus 1:7. It is a judicial term. The participle ὄντες signifies provided they are.

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