The Berean Expositor
Volume 8 - Page 9 of 141
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"The Pillar and Ground of Truth" (I Tim. 3: 15).
Is it the Church or the Mystery of Godliness?
pp. 28, 29
With the A.V. and the R.V. as our guide we should have no hesitation in saying that
the church was the pillar and ground of truth. It is not within the limits of The Berean
Expositor to turn aside to note how, from the great apostate church to the most scriptural
of assemblies, this conception has exercised a great influence over the conduct and
attitude of thousands of believers. The church in I Tim. 3: 15 is not looked upon under
its title, "the church which is His body", but as "the house of God". As a "house of God"
it needed servants, and the chapter has been dealing with bishops and deacons. The
bishop must rule his own "house" well, otherwise he will not be able to take care of the
"church of God" (verses 4, 5); the deacons also were to rule their own houses well. It is
evident that the church in I Tim. 3: is a church in its corporate capacity.
Now it requires no long argument to prove that if the church is the pillar and ground of
truth, the fall and failure of the church must also mean the fall and failure of the stay and
support of truth also. It is sadly true that both the corporate church, and the truth itself
have suffered at the hands of friend and foe alike, but we raise the question in this short
paper regarding the accuracy of the translation of the passage which teaches that the
church is the pillar and ground of truth.  We set before the reader the following
translation as giving the true meaning of the passage.
"These things I write to thee, hoping to come to thee very soon but, if I should delay
(I write) so that thou mayest know to conduct thyself in (the) house of God, which is (the)
church of the living God."
Here the apostle reaches the conclusion of the subject commenced in the first verse of
chapter 3: He now turns from the question of right behaviour in the church, to the deep
subject of "mystery of godliness". This subject opens with verse 16 in the following
"A pillar and ground of the truth, and confessedly great is the mystery of godliness."
This rendering makes the mystery of godliness, and not the church corporate, the pillar
and ground of the truth.
We commend this rendering to the prayerful consideration of all our readers.