There seems to be a difference of views on whether Scripture (1st Tim 3) allows women to be deaconesses.  I believe MacArthur supports the interpretation that qualified women are allowed to be part of the deaconate. Alistar Begg, Charles Ryrie, and others support the interpretation that Paul is describing deacon wives, not deaconesses, and that only men can be deacons.


I would have to believe that Paul is referring to Deaconesses here, for two reasons, one the Greek word "gune" translated "wives" carries the basic meaning "women", and then the other factor is that Paul gives qualifications for the "women" which if it was "wives" then there is the obvious qualifications for elder's wives missing from the Bible.  Why would he give qualifications for deacon's wives and omit any qualification for the even more important position of elders? However, Paul does detail the godly character traits of all older women/younger women who are believers within the local Body in Titus 2. This would obviously be for elder wives, deacon wives, wives of other men not in church leadership, and single/divorced women.  These godly character traits parallel the ones Paul mentions in 1 Tim 3:11 for deacon wives or deaconesses.   But we are not talking about general traits, but a "list" of the requirements for Elders and Deacons.  To say that the 1 Tim 3:11, is the list of requirements for deacon's wives, would demand a separate list for Elder's wives (a more important office).

You can have Deaconesses in the church and not violate the command for women not to teach or have authority over a man.

Question (continued)

Still a little confused.  The Bible translation "their wives" seems to mean deacon wives. "In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything."  [1 Timothy 3:11]

Answer (continued)

The actual Greek would say, "Women in like manner grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things."
  It really says nothing about Deacon's wives, and would imply an office of women like the Deacons, designed to serve, not to teach or to have authority over a man.     

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
Box 314
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Websites: and
Online since 1986