But if I tarry long - That is: Not withstanding I hope to come to thee shortly, and therefore do not feel the necessity of writing at large; yet, lest I should be delayed, I write what I judge necessary to direct thy conduct in the Church of God.
The house of God - This is spoken in allusion to the ancient tabernacle; which was God' s house, and in which the symbol of the Divine Majesty dwelt. So the Christian Church is God' s house, and every believer is a habitation of God through the Spirit.
The Church of the living God - The assembly in which God lives and works; each member of which is a living stone, all of whom, properly united among themselves, grow up unto a holy temple in the Lord.
The pillar and ground of the truth - Never was there a greater variety of opinions on any portion of the sacred Scripture than has been on this and the following verse. Commentators and critics have given senses and meanings till there is no meaning to be seen. It would be almost impossible, after reading all that has been said on this passage, for any man to make up his own mind. To what, or to whom, does the pillar and ground of the truth refer?
1.Some say to Timothy, who is called the pillar, etc., because left there to support and defend the truth of God against false doctrines and false teachers; and is so called for the same reason that Peter, James, and John, are said to be pillars, i.e. supporters of the truth of God. Galatians 2:9.
2.Others suppose that the pillar and ground of the truth is spoken of God; and that ̔ , who is, should be supplied as referring immediately to , God, just before. By this mode of interpretation the passage will read thus: That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, Who Is ( ̔ ) the pillar and ground of the truth. How God may be fitly termed the pillar and ground of truth, requires no explanation.
3.Others think that the words should be understood of the Church of the living God; and in this case the feminine relative ̔ , which is, must be repeated immediately after , the Church. The house of God is the Church of the living God; Which (Church) Is the pillar and ground of the truth. That is: The full revelation of God' s truth is in the Christian Church. The great doctrines of that Church are the truth without error, metaphor, or figure. Formerly the truth was but partially revealed, much of it being shadowed with types, ceremonies, and comparatively dark prophecies; but now all is plain, and the full revelation given; and the foundation on which this truth rests are the grand facts detailed in the Gospel, especially those which concern the incarnation, miracles, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, and the mission of the Holy Spirit.
4.Lastly, others refer the whole to , the mystery of godliness; and translate the clause thus: The mystery of godliness is the pillar and ground of the truth; and, without controversy, a great thing. This gives a very good sense, but it is not much favored by the arrangement of the words in the original.
Other Adam Clarke entries containing 1 Timothy 3:15:
2 Thessalonians 2:17
1 Timothy 3:16
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