Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here we come in our study in 1 Timothy to the purpose of the book. Paul states it outright in chapter three:

1 Timothy 3:14-15 14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
There are a few elements that I want to highlight this morning. The first is that Paul is writing to young Pastor Timothy in the church at Ephesus (1:3) in telling him how to practically do church ministry in the local assembly. He states his purpose in verse 15.
The purpose of the letter is so that "you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God..." (v14). The household of God is further explicated by Paul. Namely, it is the church of the living God. Not only this, Paul elaborates once more by saying that the local church is the "pillar and support of the truth."
Let's take these two words and seek to understand them in their historical context:
First, the Pillar. The Greek word here is stulos which has the idea of a large column or a massive pillar. It is used in many secular writings and everyone in that time would have known what a stulos was for in many cities, there were large pagan temples to various deities, emperors, or gods and most often they were surrounded with massive pillars. Here is an example of a picture giving the perspective of myself next to a large pillar at the Temple of Zeus in ancient Corinth.

So these large pillars were what the original audience would have had in mind when Paul talked of the church being the stulos which is grounded on the truth.
Second, the Support. The idea here is really that of a buttress. The Greek word is a edraioma. It means "something that is made stable," or "something settles firmly in the ground." It could be a prop, support, or a foundation. It is related to the adjective edraios which is used in 1 Cor 15:58; Col 1:23; and 1 Cor 7:37 in referring to one who is "steadfast," "immovable," or "firm." The church is this support and foundation upon the truth.
Notice, finally, that we serve a God who is True (John 17:3; Rom 3:4; 1 John 5:20; Rev 16:7; 22:6) and the Gospel which is truth (Gal 2:5; Col 1:5). Be encouraged that our hope does not rest on some shakable ideology that changes as the seasons change. No. Rather the household of God is the church of God. And it is that local assembly of believers that is the pillar and the support for the truth.

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