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1 Timothy 3:8 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Deacons in like manner [must be] grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Deacons likewise [must be] men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre,
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Ministers, in like manner, grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not seeking gain by base means,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Ministers, in the same way,—dignified, not double-tongued, not, to much wine, given, not greedy of base gain,
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Ministrants—in like manner grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not given to filthy lucre,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Deacons in like manner: chaste, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Likewise must the Deacons bee graue, not double tongued, not giuen to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre,
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— And also the ministers must be pure, not speaking doubly, not inclined to much wine, nor shall they love unclean gains.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And so also the deacons should be pure, and not speak double, nor incline to much wine, nor love base gains;

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Likewise 5615
{5615} Prime
From G5613 and an adverb from G0846; as thus, that is, in the same way.
[must] the deacons 1249
{1249} Prime
Probably from διάκω [[diako]] (obsolete, to run on errands; compare G1377); an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess).
[be] grave, 4586
{4586} Prime
From G4576; venerable, that is, honorable.
not 3361
{3361} Prime
A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether.
doubletongued, 1351
{1351} Prime
From G1364 and G3056; equivocal, that is, telling a different story.
not 3361
{3361} Prime
A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether.
given 4337
{4337} Prime
From G4314 and G2192; (figuratively) to hold the mind (G3563 implied) towards, that is, pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to.
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
to much 4183
{4183} Prime
Including the forms from the alternate 'pollos'; (singular) much (in any respect) or (plural) many; neuter (singular) as adverb largely; neuter (plural) as adverb or noun often, mostly, largely.
wine, 3631
{3631} Prime
A primary word (or perhaps of Hebrew origin [H3196]); 'wine' (literally or figuratively).
not 3361
{3361} Prime
A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether.
greedy of filthy lucre; 146
{0146} Prime
From G0150 and κέρδος [[kerdos]] (gain); sordid.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Timothy 3:8

_ _ The deacons were chosen by the voice of the people. Cyprian [Epistle, 2.5] says that good bishops never departed from the old custom of consulting the people. The deacons answer to the chazzan of the synagogue: the attendant ministers, or subordinate coadjutors of the presbyter (as Timothy himself was to Paul, 1 Timothy 4:6; Philemon 1:13; and John Mark, Acts 13:5). Their duty was to read the Scriptures in the Church, to instruct the catechumens in Christian truths, to assist the presbyters at the sacraments, to receive oblations, and to preach and instruct. As the “chazzan” covered and uncovered the ark in the synagogue, containing the law, so the deacon in the ancient Church put the covering on the communion table. (See Chrysostom [19], Homily on Acts; Theophylact on Luke 19:1-48; and Balsaman on Canon 22, Council of Laodicea). The appointing of “the seven” in Acts 6:1-7 is perhaps not meant to describe the first appointment of the deacons of the Church. At least the chazzan previously suggested the similar order of deacons.

_ _ double-tongued — literally, “of double speech”; saying one thing to this person, and another to that person [Theodoret]. The extensive personal intercourse that deacons would have with the members of the Church might prove a temptation to such a fault. Others explain it, “Saying one thing, thinking another” (Proverbs 20:19; Galatians 2:13). I prefer the former.

_ _ not greedy of filthy lucre — All gain is filthy (literally, “base”) which is set before a man as a by-end in his work for God [Alford] (1 Peter 5:2). The deacon’s office of collecting and distributing alms would render this a necessary qualification.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Timothy 3:8-13

_ _ We have here the character of deacons: these had the care of the temporal concerns of the church, that is, the maintenance of the ministers and provision for the poor: they served tables, while the ministers or bishops gave themselves only to the ministry of the word and prayer, Acts 6:2, Acts 6:4. Of the institution of this office, with that which gave occasion to it, you have an account in Acts 6:1-7. Now it was requisite that deacons should have a good character, because they were assistants to the ministers, appeared and acted publicly, and had a great trust reposed in them. They must be grave. Gravity becomes all Christians, but especially those who are in the office in the church. Not doubled-tongued; that will say one thing to one and another thing to another, according as their interests leads them: a double tongue comes from a double heart; flatterers and slanderers are double-tongued. Not given to much wine; for this is a great disparagement to any man, especially to a Christian, and one in office, unfits men for business, opens the door to many temptations. Not greedy of filthy lucre; this would especially be bad in the deacons, who were entrusted with the church's money, and, if they were covetous and greedy of filthy lucre, would be tempted to embezzle it, and convert that to their own use which was intended for the public service. Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, 1 Timothy 3:9. Note, The mystery of faith is best held in a pure conscience. The practical love of truth is the most powerful preservative from error and delusion. If we keep a pure conscience (take heed of every thing that debauches conscience, and draws us away from God), this will preserve in our souls the mystery of faith. Let these also first be proved, 1 Timothy 3:10. It is not fit that the public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any, till they have been first proved, and found fit for the business they are to be entrusted with; the soundness of their judgments, their zeal for Christ, and the blamelessness of their conversation, must be proved. Their wives likewise must have a good character (1 Timothy 3:11); they must be of a grave behaviour, not slanderers, tale-bearers, carrying stories to make mischief and sow discord; they must be sober and faithful in all things, not given to any excess, but trusty in all that is committed to them. All who are related to ministers must double their care to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ, lest, if they in any thing walk disorderly, the ministry be blamed. As he said before of the bishops or ministers, so here of the deacons, they must be the husband of one wife, such as had not put away their wives, upon dislike, and married others; they must rule their children and their own houses well; the families of deacons should be examples to other families. And the reason why the deacons must be thus qualified is (1 Timothy 3:13) because, though the office of a deacon be of an inferior degree, yet it is a step towards the higher degree; and those who had served tables well the church might see cause afterwards to discharge from that service, and prefer to serve in preaching the word and in prayer. Or it may be meant of the good reputation that a man would gain by his fidelity in this office: they will purchase to themselves great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. Observe, 1. In the primitive church there were but two orders of ministers or officers, bishops and deacons, Philippians 1:1. After-ages have invented the rest. The office of the bishop, presbyter, pastor, or minister, was confined to prayer and to the ministry of the word; and the office of the deacon was confined to, or at least principally conversant about, serving tables. Clemens Romanus, in his epistle to the Christian (cap. 42, 44), speaks very fully and plainly to this effect, that the apostles, foreknowing, by our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would arise in the Christian church a controversy about the name episcopacy, appointed the forementioned orders, bishops and deacons. 2. The scripture-deacon's main employment was to serve tables, and not to preach or baptize. It is true, indeed, that Philip did preach and baptize in Samaria (Acts 8), but you read that he was an evangelist (Acts 21:8), and he might preach and baptize, and perform any other part of the ministerial office, under that character; but still the design of the deacon's office was to mind the temporal concerns of the church, such as the salaries of the ministers and providing for the poor. 3. Several qualifications were very necessary, even for these inferior officers: The deacons must be grave, etc. 4. Some trial should be made of persons' qualifications before they are admitted into office in the church, or have any trust committed to them: Let these also first be proved. 5. Integrity and uprightness in an inferior office are the way to be preferred to a higher station in the church: They purchase to themselves a good degree. 6. This will also give a man great boldness in the faith, whereas a want of integrity and uprightness will make a man timorous, and ready to tremble at his own shadow. The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion, Proverbs 28:1.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Timothy 3:8

Likewise the deacons must he serious — Men of a grave, decent, venerable behaviour. But where are presbyters? Were this order essentially distinct from that of bishops, could the apostle have passed it over in silence? Not desirous of filthy gain — With what abhorrence does he everywhere speak of this! All that is gained (above food and raiment) by ministering in holy things is filthy gain indeed; far more filthy than what is honestly gained by raking kennels, or emptying common sewers.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Timothy 3:8

(3) Likewise [must] the (e) deacons [be] grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

(3) Likewise the deacons must first be proved, that there may be a good trial of their honesty, truth, sobriety, mind void of covetousness, that they are well instructed in the doctrine of faith, and to be short, of their good conscience and integrity.

(e) These are those that had to look after the poor.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the deacons:

Acts 6:3-6 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. ... Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid [their] hands on them.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:


1 Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;


Psalms 5:9 For [there is] no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part [is] very wickedness; their throat [is] an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
Psalms 12:2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: [with] flattering lips [and] with a double heart do they speak.
Psalms 50:19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
Psalms 52:2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Romans 3:13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

not given:

1 Timothy 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
Leviticus 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: [it shall be] a statute for ever throughout your generations:
Ezekiel 44:21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
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Lv 10:9. Ps 5:9; 12:2; 50:19; 52:2. Ezk 44:21. Ac 6:3. Ro 3:13. Php 1:1. 1Ti 3:3, 4. Jm 3:10.

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