1 Timothy 3
1 Timothy 3 – The Church described. How would you describe the church? A local gathering of believers assembled for praise, prayer and preaching once a week? In this verse, the Apostle Paul, in the midst of giving instructions about how believers are to conduct themselves in the local church, describes the nature of the church. Paul uses a number of striking images; no one picture is adequate.
According to Paul, the church is ‘God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth’ (1 Timothy 3:15). Notice that the church is a ‘household’; it is people, not a house, or place. But a ‘household’ is more than people; it is a family, and it is ‘God’s household’ or family with the ‘living God‘ present in their midst. God’s presence impacts the family dynamics. Like God, God’s family loves, accepts, forgives, gives, helps, and extends mercy and grace even when it is difficult and the recipients are unworthy or grateful. This is how families function; how much more so God’s family! But the church is also ‘the pillar and foundation of the truth’. Paul here draws on the imagery of a temple, well known to his readers, but here it is ‘truth’, and not ‘bricks and mortar’ or stones, that comprise its supporting pillars and foundation. So the church is built on the truth, stands firm on the truth and upholds it! In this sense, like a stone temple, in the church truth becomes visible to the eye.
In this verse, Paul paints a picture of the church as the family of God defined by truth. This has implications for us as we gather together with God’s people during the week. In a nutshell, God, people and truth are important. We are to recognize that we are a family belonging to God, with obligations to love Him and each other. We are to be conscious of God’s presence at all times, not only on Sunday, and this should motivate us to depend on His power and seek His glory in all things. God’s truth should be central to all we do. We should listen attentively to God’s Word when it is preached and taught and should seek to obey it. We must find time to study the Scriptures to grow in our knowledge and understanding of them so that God’s truth will govern our lives, relationships and weekly meetings.