1 Timothy 3:15
“I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
The church, designed by God, serves many purposes in the life of the believer. It is a place for corporate worship, where the gifts and talents of others enhance our expression of praise. The Bible alludes to the fact that our praises are like a sweet aroma, filling the courts of heaven. The church provides a place for corporate prayer. As Jesus instructed us, there is additional power behind prayer when we gather with others to offer our requests to God. The church is also a place for fellowship. God designed us as social beings. We achieve our best when surrounded by those whose lives propel us forward with godly examples. Scripture informs us, that fellowship with other believers is like a steel file sharpening a knife to make it more useful in the masters hand. When we surround ourselves with other believers, we are in a place where we can share each others burdens, encourage each other through struggles, and lift each other up when we fall. While there may be many more benefits we can derive from the church, Paul writes in this passage, about what we might call the primary purpose of the church.
“The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
The city of Ephesus was known in the ancient world, for the grand temple of the goddess Diana. This elaborate building sat on a hill overlooking the city, and in classic Grecian style, was surrounded by enormous pillars. It has been suggested by some that each of the pillars was more elaborate than the next, as they expressed the glory of the temple. Imagine what it must have been like for Timothy, to open this letter from Paul, read that the church is the pillar of the truth, while sitting under the shadow of that temple. Just as the pillars were designed to hold up the roof of that massive structure, so was the church designed to hold up the truth of the Word of God.
In a culture that is becoming increasingly secular, we are in need, more than ever, of the clear and simple teaching of the Word of God. Scripture compares itself to meat, milk and honey, which feeds the soul and strengthen the spirit. It is also equated to light, helping guide us through the difficulties of life and directing us into the will and ways of God. Scripture is synonymous to oil and water, that works to soften our hearts to the things of God. It can act as a hammer, breaking up the fallow ground that keeps us from trusting in His promises. His word is also like a sharp knife, able to cut away things that don’t belong in our lives, thus making us better equipped for service, and able to experience the abundant life He promises. The Word can remove the veil that hides the face of God and reveal who He is, and what He is like. We are told that through the promises of God, we are able to partake of His divine nature.
There have been times in history where the earth has faced a famine of the teaching of the Word. Christians starving spiritually because of a lack of clear teaching of Scripture. This is not one of those times. There are many good churches holding forth the Truth of the Word. It is critical, as a Christian, that you find yourself in regular attendance, where you can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Questions for 1 Timothy 3
- The word Bishop is used synonymously with the word elder and speaks of those who are interested in pastoral ministry. Paul gives a list of requirements. What is the only ability he lists?
- The word deacon means servant and is used to describe those who serve around the local church. Whether they volunteer their time or are on the payroll they do the work of the ministry in the church. Use this list to examine if you are living up to the standard required to serve the Lord.
- Verse 15 is the key to this whole book. Paul is instructing on what the primary role of the church is. Notice he calls it the pillar and foundation of the truth. How can the church fulfill its role of being the foundation for truth?
- The final verse of the chapter may have been an ancient hymn. Take some time to put it to memory.