1 Timothy 3:15

15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

1 Timothy 3:15 Meaning and Commentary

1 Timothy 3:15

But if I tarry long
Or should long delay coming, defer it longer than may be expected; let it be observed that these things are written,

that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the
house of God;
that is, the church of God, as it is afterwards explained; called a house, in allusion either to an edifice, it being a spiritual house built of lively stories, or true believers, upon the foundation Jesus Christ, and who also is the door into it; the pillars of it are the ministers of the Gospel; and the windows are the ordinances, and which also are the entertainment in it: or else to a family, as this is sometimes called the household of God, and of faith; the family named of Christ, of which he is the master; and in which are fathers, young men and children; in which ministers are stewards; and which is regulated by good and wholesome laws: and it is called the house of God, because as an edifice, it is of his building and repairing, and in which he dwells; and as a family, is what he provides for. Now the above things were written to Timothy, that he might know bow to order and manage things in this house and family; what became him to do himself, in the character he was; and what persons to direct in the choice of to be officers in it. And of this house it is said,

which is the church of the living God;
in opposition to, and distinction from the houses and temples of idols, which are inanimate and senseless creatures; whereas the true God is the living God, has life in himself, essentially, originally, and independently, and is the author and giver of life to others. It is added,

the pillar and ground of the truth;
which holds forth the truth to be seen and read of all, as pillars that bear inscriptions; and which supports and maintains truth, as every true church of Christ does so long as it remains so; though truth is the pillar and ground of the church; for if once truth is gone, a church is no more so: rather therefore Timothy himself is here designed; and the sense is, that what was written to him was with this view, that he might the better know how to conduct himself in the church of God, as a pillar and ground of truth, to hold it forth and to secure it: ministers of the Gospel are called pillars, ( Galatians 2:9 ) and that with greater propriety than the church itself, which is before called an house: though it may be best of all to understand it of Christ as incarnate, the great mystery of godliness; who as he is the ground and foundation of the church, and all believers, so he is the foundation of all true doctrine; and particularly the doctrine of his person, as truly God and truly man, is the pillar and ground which supports all other truths, and without which they fall to the ground: and so this clause may be read in connection with the following words, thus; "the pillar and ground of the truth, and without controversy, is the great mystery of godliness, &c". And this way of speaking is used by the Jews, both of persons and things; so Zebulun is said F3 to be (hrwth dwme) , "the pillar of the law"; and it is said F4 of

``the great sanhedrim in Jerusalem, they are the root of the oral law; and they are (harwhh ydwme) , "the pillars of doctrine"; and from them go forth the statutes and judgments unto Israel;''

and the same is said of things as of persons. Maimonides says F5,

``the foundation of foundations and the pillar of wisdom, is to know that there is a first Being, that gives being to all beings;''

and R. Sangari, another of their writers, says, F6

``there are two things which are (hrwth ydwme) , "the pillars of the law"; the one is, that the law is from God; the other is, that it is received with a faithful (or sincere) heart, from the congregation:''

to which may be added, that it is said F7 that

``the mystery of faith is "(amwyqw arqe) , "the root and ground" of the world";''

all which may serve to illustrate this passage.


F3 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 152. 1.
F4 Maimon. Hilchot Memarim, c. 1. sect. 1.
F5 Hilchot Yesode Hattora, c. 1. sect. 1.
F6 Cosri, par. 3. sect. 23. fol. 159. 2.
F7 Zohar in Gen. fol. 124. 1.

1 Timothy 3:15 In-Context

13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that,
15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.
16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.