1 Timothy 3:14-16 ESV
1 Timothy 3:14-16
The Mystery of Godliness 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: s He 1 was manifested in the flesh, vindicated 2 by the Spirit, 3 t seen by angels, u proclaimed among the nations, v believed on in the world, w taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:14-16 NA28
1 Timothy 3:14-16
14 Ταῦτά σοι γράφω ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐν τάχει• 15 ἐὰν δὲ βραδύνω, ἵνα εἰδῇς πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία θεοῦ ζῶντος, στῦλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας. 16 καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον• ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ.
1 Timothy 3:14-16
Ταῦτά σοι γράφω
[EDIT] I am writing these things to you
ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐν τάχει•
[EDIT] (although I hope to come to you soon,
ἐὰν δὲ βραδύνω,
[EDIT] but in case I delay)
ἵνα εἰδῇς πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι,
[EDIT] in order that you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God,
ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία θεοῦ ζῶντος,
which is the church of the living God,
στῦλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας.
a pillar and buttress of the truth.
καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον•
[EDIT] And great, we confess, is the mystery which produces this godliness:
ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί,
s He 1 was manifested in the flesh,
ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι,
vindicated 2 by the Spirit, 3
t seen by angels,
ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν,
u proclaimed among the nations,
ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ,
v believed on in the world,
ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ.
w taken up in glory.
Why is Paul concerned that Timothy know what kind of men to appoint as elders and deacons? Why is Paul taking the time to write out how men and women ought to lead holy lives while in the world for the sake of the gospel? He is writing these things (3:14-15a) in order that Timothy would know what holy living looks like, behavior that is fit for the household of God (3:15b). This church of the living God is a pillar and buttress of the truth (3:15d); that means that the church is the organism that holds up the world-wide witness to the gospel of Christ. This pillar must not crumble; the witness of Christ to the world is on the line! The genitive noun in 3:16 seems to be the key to understanding why Paul reproduces material from what seems to be a hymn. The ESV renders τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον as “the mystery of godliness,” leaving the genitive τῆς εὐσεβείας ambiguously translated. BDAG renders the phrase as either “the key to our piety” or “the secret of our devotion.” The NIV translates it as “the mystery from which true godliness springs.” BDAG and the NIV seem to agree that this genitive is a genitive of product, meaning that this mystery (the creedal hymn that follows) is what creates this godliness. If we take this interpretation, it then connects back to 2:2, bookending Paul’s discussions of both men and women, elders and deacon, living godly lives. Paul has set the expectations quite high, especially considering the background of many of the saints (Paul in 1:13, for example)! How are we, as people who are still struggling against the flesh, to have hope and pursue the godliness of 2:1-3:13? It is because of this great mystery, hidden for ages but revealed to the church in Christ: God’s son, incarnate, proven righteous, adored, proclaimed, the source of salvation through faith, ascended in glory. This Christ will come again, and reigns now and forever more. He is the source of our hope, our joy, our godliness.