The second quality Luke says the 1st century church saw in those they chose as deacons was wisdom. Acts 6:3 says, “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” Wisdom is a necessary characteristic of not just those that are deacons, but those that are being considered as candidates for deacons. Just as with being known to be full of the Spirit, a deacon must be known to be full of wisdom.
Every believer should grow in wisdom. We should ask for wisdom (James 1:5) and seek it (Proverbs 4:7) as it only comes from God. However, potential deacons should not grow into wisdom, they should already be known for it. So why is it necessary for a deacon to have and increase in godly wisdom? In Acts 6, the early church was already facing division as the Hellenistic Jews were upset with the Hebraic Jews because their widows were not being cared for properly. Taking care of widows was and is a big deal! But, wise deacons must be able to handle the task at hand and see the bigger picture at the same time. These deacons who were to take care of the widows had to use Spirit-filled wisdom in these matters because the entire unity of the church was at stake. As important as the daily care of widows was, the oneness and gospel mission of the church was even more important. If the whole thing splits apart, not only will widows be neglected, but every other ministry would as well. Deacons aren’t narrow-minded, only caring for their ministry or small group of people, they use godly wisdom to care for the whole of God’s church.
A deacon should be known for their wise discernment, sound judgment, and godly insight when dealing with people. To be clear, this is Spirit-inspired wisdom, not the wisdom of the world. It’s not just someone who is a good thinker or problem solver. I’ve met a lot of smart people who should never be deacons. A deacon must be able to handle and resolve problems that arise in the church in a Biblical and God-honoring way. Biblical, moral, spiritual, marital, and any other problems must be handled through the wisdom of God. A deacon must walk in wisdom in all areas of life. If they are quick to fly off the handle, make an irrational decision, and have a reputation of handling things the world’s way, they should not be deacons. I’d go a step further to say if a person is loose in their talk and walk, they should not be a deacon. A person who is not wise in their dealings with their spouse, children, neighbors, associates, and people in their daily affairs should not be deacons.
Questions to ask yourself are, “Am I someone that is quick to listen, slow to anger, and slow to speak? Do I arrive at decisions by using the Word, prayer, and wise counsel? Do I have the best interests of the whole church in mind with my decisions? How am I at making decisions with my family and business? Can I be trusted with the affairs of the church?” May God’s Spirit-filled wisdom grow in you more and more!