The Qualifications of Deaconesses
1 Timothy 3:11
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. The allusion is evidently not to the wives of deacons, but to deaconesses. Why should the duties of deacons' wives be set forth when there is no allusion to the duties of ministers' wives? The omission of all mention of domestic duties in this case is significant.

I. THE ORDER OF DEACONESSES. There was evidently such an order in the primitive Church. Phoebe of Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), Euodias and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2), and probably the association with which Dorcas was connected at Joppa (Acts 9:36-41), seem to have belonged to the order. The order did not cease to exist till the fifth century in the Latin Church, and till the twelfth in the Greek Church. It had its origin, probably, in the extreme jealousy which guarded the relations of the sexes in early times, for women were comparatively secluded from the society of men. Deaconesses were, therefore, appointed to maintain the religious intercourse of Christian women with a Church whose ministrations were in the hands of men.


1. "Grave." Not given to levity or gay manners, but sober in speech, gesture, and dress.

2. "Not slanderers." Not too ready to take up an accusation against the poor, or too ready to use the tongue in the way of false insinuation.

3. "Sober." Not to be given to pleasures of the table, but showing a seemly abstemiousness.

4. "Faithful in all things." Faithful in all ecclesiastical duties.

(1) Faithful to the poor, whose secrets are to be jealously kept;

(2) faithful to the Church, which entrusts its funds to their wise and discriminating distribution; and

(3) faithful to God in all religious obligations whatsoever. - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

WEB: Their wives in the same way must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

The Pastor's Wife
Top of Page
Top of Page