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1Ti 3:8          What does the meaning of the word “deacon” communicate about the role of a deacon?  See Mat 20:26, 23:11 for instances of the same Greek word.  What early action of the apostles gave rise to the office of a deacon?  See Acts 6:1-6.  As the role of an elder / pastor was to oversee the spiritual well-being and needs of the people, what was the role of a deacon?  What is the significance that the qualifications of a deacon listed here and in Acts 6:3 are moral and spiritual and not worldly?  See Mat 6:33.  How does the role of a deacon as described in Scripture differ from the role of a deacon in most churches today?  See also 1Ti 5:9.  Is it significant that Paul gives directions concerning deacons to Timothy whom he had left in the large and more established church of Ephesus, but does not mention them to Titus whom he left in Crete where churches had just been established and the population was much smaller?  What qualifications does Paul mention for a deacon in this verse?  Why would each be important to his role?  Why would being “not fond of sordid gain” be especially important for both an overseer and a deacon?  See also Tit 1:7, 10-11, 1 Pet 5:1-2, 2 Pet 2:1-3, Jude 1:11; cf. 2 Tim 4:3-4.  Which of the twelve apostles was fond of sordid gain, and what was his role among them?  See Jn 12:4-6, 13:29.

1Ti 3:9-10   How does the Biblical idea of a mystery differ from that held by the “mystery” religions such as the Gnostics?  Is the Biblical concept of a mystery some esoteric wisdom reserved only for the initiates of a given sect?  See Mat 10:27.  Is it something so deep and obscure that it cannot be fathomed?  See Deut 30:12.  Or is it rather something so unexpected and contrary to our fallen nature that its truth remains hidden until one’s heart is turned to God?  See Jn 8:43, Mat 13:11-15, Acts 28:26-27.  What is the mystery of the faith to which deacons must hold that Paul mentions in 1Ti 3:9?  See Rom 16:25-27, 1 Cor 1:18-24, 2:1-8, Col 2:1-3.  With what important aspect of the revelation of the mystery of the Gospel message was Paul especially entrusted?  See Eph 3:2-9, Col 1:25-27.  What does Paul mean that deacons must hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience?  How would a church discern such?  See 1Ti 3:10, 5:22,24.  Consider Paul’s statement: “let them serve…if they are beyond reproach”; if one has high qualifications and is “beyond reproach” does the world expect him to serve?  What does this teach us about the difference between godly leaders and worldly leaders?  See Mat 20:25-28.  What is the importance of the high qualifications for the leaders in God’s church?  See Luke 6:40.

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