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:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:14–16

There are some great insights in here. For one, you get the whole point of this letter to Timothy. This letter is a description of how “one ought to behave in the household of God.” That’s why Paul is listing out these very practical and effective details about who should be in charge.

There is a lot of abstract in the teachings of Jesus. Paul is helping, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the church to see how to live it out as crowds of people for hundreds of years. The church is no small collection of fans. The church is the Body of the Living God. The church is God’s presence on earth within His people.

If the church messes it all up, the message from God gets messed up. Note that Paul isn’t saying anything about nations, specific churches in specific cities, or specific groups led by specific people. God’s presence and truth is on display from the whole church. God is letting every one of us participate in being the pillar and buttress of the truth. That means we aren’t the main thing, but the Truth is the main thing. We are supposed to help hold it up.

And what is that truth? Paul gets a little distracted here and starts to marvel and meditate on that truth.

Jesus was God in the flesh. He was approachable and relatable (Hebrews 2). He was vindicated by the Spirit. At one point, Jesus said, “if you don’t believe Me, at least believe because of the works I do,” because the Holy Spirit was working miracles through Jesus.

All of this happened so that God would bring salvation to the world and be with mankind like in the Garden of Eden once again. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3) and He’s using the church, the people who believe in Him, to show off that message.

After going through a bunch of rules and criteria as we have in this last chapter, it’s good to center ourselves on the truth that we are following. Paul doesn’t want Timothy to choose overseers with these criteria just because that’s who he likes. Paul wants Jesus to be glorified and the Good News shown off to the world. By choosing these kinds of men to lead the church that Timothy is building, the Gospel will continue to spread and God’s people will increase.

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