Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
But if I tarry long—before coming to thee.
that—that is, I write (I Timothy 3:14) "that thou mayest know," etc.
behave thyself—in directing the Church at Ephesus (I Timothy 4:11).
the house of God—the Church (Hebrews 3:2, Hebrews 3:5-6; Hebrews 10:21; I Peter 4:17; I Corinthians 3:16, "the temple of God"; Ephesians 2:22).
which is—that is, inasmuch as it is.
the church—"the congregation." The fact that the sphere of thy functions is "the congregation of the living God" (who is the ever living Master of the house, II Timothy 2:19-21), is the strongest motive to faithfulness in this behavior as president of a department of the house." The living God forms a striking contrast to the lifeless idol, Diana of Ephesus (I Thessalonians 1:9). He is the fountain of "truth," and the foundation of our "trust" (I Timothy 4:10). Labor directed to a particular Church is service to the one great house of God, of which each particular Church is a part, and each Christian a lively stone (I Peter 2:5).
the pillar and ground of the truth—evidently predicated of the Church, not of "the mystery of godliness" (an interpretation not started till the sixteenth century; so BENGEL); for after two weighty predicates, "pillar and ground," and these substantives, the third, a much weaker one, and that an adjective, "confessedly," or "without controversy great," would not come. "Pillar" is so used metaphorically of the three apostles on whom principally the Jewish Christian Church depended (Galatians 2:9; compare Revelation 3:12). The Church is "the pillar of the truth," as the continued existence (historically) of the truth rests on it; for it supports and preserves the word of truth. He who is of the truth belongs by the very fact to the Church. Christ is the alone ground of the truth in the highest sense (I Corinthians 3:11). The apostles are foundations in a secondary sense (Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14). The Church rests on the truth as it is in Christ; not the truth on the Church. But the truth as it is in itself is to be distinguished from the truth as it is acknowledged in the world. In the former sense it needs no pillar, but supports itself; in the latter sense, it needs the Church as its pillar, that is, its supporter and preserver [BAUMGARTEN]. The importance of Timothy's commission is set forth by reminding him of the excellence of "the house" in which he serves; and this in opposition to the coming heresies which Paul presciently forewarns him of immediately after (I Timothy 4:1). The Church is to be the stay of the truth and its conserver for the world, and God's instrument for securing its continuance on earth, in opposition to those heresies (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:20). The apostle does not recognize a Church which has not the truth, or has it only in part. Rome falsely claims the promise for herself. But it is not historical descent that constitutes a Church, but this only, to those heresies (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:20). The apostle does not recognize a Church which has not the intermediate; the "ground," or "basement" (similar to "foundation," II Timothy 2:19), the final support of the building [ALFORD]. It is no objection that, having called the Church before "the house of God," he now calls it the "pillar"; for the literal word "Church" immediately precedes the new metaphors: so the Church, or congregation of believers, which before was regarded as the habitation of God, is now, from a different point of view, regarded as the pillar upholding the truth.
Other Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown entries containing 1 Timothy 3:15:
1 Corinthians 16:10
1 Timothy 3:4
1 Timothy 3:14
1 Timothy 3:16
2 Timothy 2:19
2 Timothy 2:20
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