Study Notes

1Timothy 3:14-16

3:14-15 Conduct

Paul tells Timothy that he is writing these things so that people will know how to conduct themselves in church. What things? The things we have been looking at during the last few studies:

That teachers should not teach strange doctrines.

That Christians should obey and pray for the ruling authorities.

That women should be modest, and not be spiritual authorities over men.

That men should be godly in their character and behavior.

This is how we are to conduct ourselves in the household of God, the church.

The Household Of God

Why is the church called the household of God? "OY-kos THEH-os," "the house of God," is used in the New Testament several times.

First, it is used by Jesus to describe the tabernacle, where God met with His people (Matt. 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4).

Then the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus made a new house of God, no longer the tabernacle or the temple, but in Himself.

Hebr. 10:19-22 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since {we have} a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled {clean} from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

The house of God is no longer a single place in Israel, because God makes His dwelling place in each heart that receives Him. That's why Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you?

God's house is each of us that have been born again! We are the household of God. And when we gather together in His name, the building becomes the house of God as well.

That is why the term "household of God" is used to describe both the building and the believers. Paul here in 1Timothy 3 using it to describe the church's place of gathering, and Peter using it to describe the individuals that are gathered (1Pet 4:17).

The household of God is the church.

The Church

What is the church for? Why does it exist? The church is supposed to be the pillar and support of the truth.

How can we define "truth?" We could say that it is anything that is true, but that is a circular definition. My favorite definition of truth is "when the word and the deed are one." When actions and words are in perfect harmony. This is why Jesus could say, "I am the truth."

Now, according to the Scriptures, the truth is to be spoken, to be known, to be believed, to be received, and to be obeyed. We as the church have been called to be the pillar and support of the truth.

But is the church effectively speaking the truth and making it known? Is the church causing the truth to be believed, received, and obeyed? Only minimally.

Why have we not been more successful?

I believe it is because many in the church don't really know what the truth is. You may ask, "Well, doesn't believing in Christ mean that you know the truth?" No, it doesn't.

John 8:31-32 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Those who believe in Christ will only know the truth and be set free by it if they abide in His Word. It is only when you abide in His Word that you become a disciple, only when you abide in His Word that you know the truth and it sets you free.

The word "abide" there means, "to remain in, to dwell in, to continue in, to endure in." Can your relationship with the Word of God can be described as abiding? If not, we will continue to be only minimally successful in our efforts to be a pillar and support of the truth.

But if we begin to abide in the Word of God, if we show ourselves faithful, this world could be turned upside down, just as it happened in the book of Acts.

If we abide in God's Word, our words and deeds will become one, and the truth will be powerfully proclaimed.

3:16 Common Confession

Those from a Catholic background may be reading something more into the word "confession." The word translated "common confession" simply means "people saying the same thing."

The various translations render it,

1Tim. 3:16(NIV) Beyond all question...

1Tim. 3:16(KJV) And without controversy...

1Tim. 3:16(NRSV) Without any doubt...

So Paul is saying, "it is clear to all of us believers that this revealed mystery of godliness to be found in Christ is mega-huge, awesome, incredible."

And then he quotes what most scholars believe was an early hymn of the church:

"He who was revealed in the flesh,

Was vindicated in the Spirit,

Beheld by angels,

Proclaimed among the nations,

Believed on in the world,

Taken up in glory"

Revealed In The Flesh

This hymn was written of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Firstly, He was revealed in the flesh. The book of Philippians says,

Phil. 2:6-7 ...He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men.

Why did God Himself become a man?

John 1:10-14 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus Christ is the creator of the world. But the world didn't know Him. They were separated from Him because of their sin. Since they were unable to reach Him, He came to them. Thus, John writes,

1John 4:2 ...Jesus Christ has come in the flesh...

Now, the devil doesn't want us to believe this. He wants us to be like those who did not receive Him. So the Bible warns us,

2John 7 ...Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

But God Himself did come to earth, revealed in the flesh.

Vindicated In The Spirit

The second line of the hymn says that He was vindicated in the Spirit. The word rendered "vindicated" means "shown, declared, pronounced, or exhibited to be righteous."

How did the Holy Spirit show the righteousness of Jesus Christ? All throughout His ministry. We read in Matthew,

Matt. 3:13-17 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan {coming} to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit {it} at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him. And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, {and} coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."

Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness, and the Spirit demonstrated that righteousness by descending upon Him.

Peter tells us of the Spirit's demonstration of Jesus' righteousness when he preached,

Acts 10:38 " {You know of} Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and {how} He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.

The spirit was vindicating Jesus, proving His righteousness.

Beheld By Angels

The third line of the verse is that He was beheld by angels. This happened all throughout His life on earth. When He was born, angels brought the news to shepherds in their fields (Luke 2).

After being tempted in the wilderness, angels ministered to Him (Matt. 4:11; Mark 1:13; )

Angels are beholding you, too. They watch, hoping that you will turn from sin and receive Christ. Jesus said,

Luke 15:10 "...I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Angels behold us all.

Proclaimed Among The Nations

The name of Christ has also been proclaimed in the nations. For the last 2,000 years, one miraculous man's name has been spread throughout the entire world: Jesus Christ. Why has it spread? Why have so many come to believe on that name? Because He is true, and the power of life that comes through Him is undeniable.

Believed On In The World

The next line says that He is believed on in the world. Believing in Jesus Christ is the most important choice you will ever make. The Bible says,

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Those who believe in Christ will live for eternity. Those who do not will die in their sins. The book of Romans says,

Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;


Have you been living in disappointment? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation.

Taken Up In Glory

Lastly, the hymn says that He was taken up in glory.

Jesus lived on this earth for about 33 1/2 years, until those who hated Him put him to death by nailing Him to a cross. He died and was buried for three days. But He rose from the dead.

Acts 2:22-24 "...listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know - this {Man} , delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put {Him} to death. And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power."

After He rose from the dead, He appeared over the course of 40 days to over 500 people. Finally,

Acts 1:9-11 ...He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

Jesus Christ was taken up in glory. But that's not the end of the story. As the angels said, "He will come back in the same way." A day is coming soon that Jesus Christ will return to this earth. In that day, the world will be judged for rejecting Him.

You have heard the history. It is the truth. God came to earth to reach out to you, because you couldn't reach Him. He died to take away the death penalty for your sins. He's asking you to believe in Him, so that He can give you eternal life.

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