"[Deacons] must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons"
(1 Timothy 3:9-10, NIV)
"The deep truths of the faith" also translated as "the mystery of the faith" (NKJV). There is no doubt, I believe, that this refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the gospel of salvation and grace – and all the doctrine it involves. A "mystery" in the New Testament is not something "mysterious" in today's sense of the word. Not like a mystery novel. A Bible "mystery" is something that was not previously revealed by God but has now been revealed in His own due time through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
Paul, in Ephesians 6:19, wrote about the Gospel as revealed-mystery: "Pray also for me… so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…" I don't want to be too technical here, but the fact that the defining article ("the") is before the word "faith" shows that Paul is referring to the great body of Christian doctrine. It is the same faith "once for all entrusted to the saints" of which Jude speaks (Jude 3). Thus, deacons/helpers are to consider that their faith has been committed to them as a sacred trust; and they must "keep hold" of it "with a clear conscience." In the Book of Acts you can see that both Stephen and Philip who were first deacons (Acts 6:2-4) are also great students of the Scripture, who "hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience" (Stephen, read Acts 6:8-7:60; Philip, read Acts 8:4-8:40).
Then, the helpers "must first be tested." Like the leader/overseer, the helpers were not to be put into office immediately following their conversions. How many immature churches have suffered by assigning new converts in a place of leadership simply because the individuals may have been well-known, good in public speaking, had the money or for something other than spiritual maturity? Thus, they "must first be tested." How? This doesn't mean some sort of formal examination or trial or sent them first to seminary but simply that they have been Christians for some time and that they have had long enough to demonstrate before other Christians – at church and home, inside church and outside – that they meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8 and 3:12. "If there is nothing against them, let them serve."
Dear helper, do you know the Faith – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the whole counsel of God? Do you take hold of it as dear to your heart? Believing, walking and doing the Faith with clear conscious? Can you pass the test of verse 8 and 12? If your answer is "Yes" to all of these questions, by the power of the Holy Spirit – serve!
"To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God,
is the sweetest freedom in the world" (Thomas F. Wilson)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.