Elders & Deacons

Two passages of Scripture provide prerequisites for serving as a "Elder" or a "Deacon." There are also prerequisites. Of course these lists also map to the tribes.


The First Timothy passage also includes prerequisites for serving as a "Deacon." All three lists map to the tribes and have a remarkable correspondence between them. The following tables take each list stand-alone. To study the similarities it's easiest to look at the Master Grid. Notes follow below.

Elders in Titus

Tribe Office Prerequisite
6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. (Titus 1:6 NIV)
Judah Elder Blameless
Reuben Elder 1 wife
Gad Elder Faithful children
Asher Elder Don't swear
Naphtali Elder Not intemperate
7Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless -- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. (Titus 1:7 NIV)
Manasseh Elder Blameless steward of God and not self-willed
Simeon Elder Not quick tempered
Levi Elder Not excessive wine
Issachar Elder Not ready to strike
Zebulun Elder Not lover of filthy profit
8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. (Titus 1:8 NIV)
Joseph Elder Lover of hospitality and good things
Benjamin Elder Sober, just, pious and temperate of worldly desires
9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9 NIV)
Dan Elder Holding fast the doctrine of faith

Elders in First Timothy

Tribe Office Prerequisite
2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (1 Timothy 3:2 NIV)
Judah Elder Blameless
Reuben Elder 1 wife
Gad Elder Alert mentally
Asher Elder Sober
Naphtali Elder Good behavior
Manasseh Elder Hospitality
Simeon Elder Apt at teaching
3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. (1 Timothy 3:3 NIV)
Levi Elder Not given to wine
Issachar Elder Not hasty to strike, Not quarrelsome, but meek
Zebulun Elder Not greedy for filthy profit
4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) (1 Timothy 3:4-5 NIV)
Joseph Elder Rules own house well
6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. (1 Timothy 3:6 NIV)
Benjamin Elder Not recent convert
7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. (1 Timothy 3:7 NIV)
Dan Elder Good report from outsiders

Deacons in First Timothy

Tribe Office Prerequisite
8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 1 Timothy 3:8-10 (1 Timothy 3:8 NIV)
Judah Deacon Pure
Reuben Deacon Not double-tongued
Gad Deacon Not given to much wine
Asher Deacon Not greedy for filthy profit
9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. (1 Timothy 3:9 NIV)
Naphtali Deacon Uphold faith
10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. (1 Timothy 3:10 NIV)
Manasseh Deacon Examine first to see if blameless
11In 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 (1 Timothy 3:11 NIV)
Simeon Deacon Chaste
Levi Deacon Alert mentally
Issachar Deacon Faithful
Zebulun Deacon Not slanderers
12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 1 Timothy 3:12-13 (1 Timothy 3:12 NIV)
Joseph Deacon Not polygamous, Rules own house well
13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 3:13 NIV)
Benjamin Deacon Earn good recognition
Dan Deacon Grow more familiar with faith of Jesus

Notes on mapping

These lists give the areas to check someone to see if they area "blameless." If they are they may serve, if not, they need to grow some more, unless unqualified for some reason.

Blameless and pure land on Judah all three times. Manasseh also gets the word "blameless" in the middle of the list. I've always wondered while reading these passages why Paul would reuse the word "blameless" mid way down the list. Seems redundant and a bit out of place. Turns out it's the key for understanding the structure and alignment. Remember Manasseh is a miniature of all the tribes. So the overall reason for the list, to find someone blameless, lands on Manasseh to reiterate that this is the test everyone/tribe is under. This is really elegant, hope I'm making sense to you.


Note the way Manasseh/Joseph pick up hospitality, ruling own house/children well several times. Interesting theme.

Simeon gets issues around anger. Clearly a theme in Genesis and part of what Jacob spoke over him.

Levi keeps getting wine issues. Not sure why this would match Levi, but it's hard to argue the way this lands repetitively.

Reuben tends to get the have 1 wife exhortation. Given the sins of his youth told in Genesis this is understandable. As in Genesis where Reuben loses the birth right, here if you aren't single or married to 1 wife you lose the ability to serve in this office.

Benjamin is warned that recent converts are not to serve in this leadership capacity. Benjamin was of course the youngest of the brothers and is the last to become Christian in world history.