1 Timothy 3:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 3:10, NIV: They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

1 Timothy 3:10, ESV: And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.

1 Timothy 3:10, KJV: And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

1 Timothy 3:10, NASB: These men must also first be tested; then have them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.

1 Timothy 3:10, NLT: Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.

1 Timothy 3:10, CSB: They must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons.

What does 1 Timothy 3:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Unique to deacons, Paul wrote, "And let them also be tested first." Interestingly, Paul's description of qualifications for elders did not mention a test. Yet, his qualifications for deacons require it. Quite likely, those considered for the position of "elder" were already serving as something like a "deacon." Beyond this, the most likely reason for this difference is simply that of reputation. Those being considered for the position(s) of elder are almost assuredly very familiar to the church. They have already experienced some form of "testing," in other words. Deacons, however, might not be as visible or well-known as those being considered for the highest positions of church leadership.

This "testing" likely refers to a temporary time period during which potential deacons were given some leadership before being officially selected. This is affirmed by the second part of the verse, tying service to proof based on this testing. In modern terms, deacons are meant to be subject to "tryouts." Those who served well during the testing period can be formally approved as a deacon.

The idea of proving oneself as "blameless" is rich with history. Noah was blameless (Genesis 6:9), as was Abraham (Genesis 17:1). The Israelites were to be blameless (Deuteronomy 18:13), David was called blameless (1 Samuel 29:9), as was Job (Job 1:1). Paul mentions the general concept of being blameless several other times in his letters.