“Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”
Sometimes we intend to do things we never get to do, for one reason or another. Paul wanted to visit Timothy so he could instruct him in person and to see how the church was progressing, but he was in chains and was unable to do so. He does give Timothy good advice, though, and he reminds him that those employed by God ~ a God that is life and gives life to His creatures ~ must behave themselves well, so they don’t bring reproach on the place where God dwells. They must be diligent and impartial to their own desires after truth, and not be turned away from the pains it takes to discover it. They must also be careful to keep and preserve it, as Proverbs 23:23 says. They must proclaim it safely and uncorrupted.
The verse then says that the church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Now, Scripture’s power doesn’t depend on the church, but the church keeps hold of it and proclaims it, like a sign hammered onto a post. Evangelists and ministers are to maintain and publish the truths of Christ in the church. However, if the church stops being the pillar of truth, we are to forsake it, because our regard for truth should be more than our regard for the church itself.
Christianity is a mystery and cannot be comperehended by reason because it is above reason. Note: it’s not CONTRARY to reason. It’s not philosophical or speculation, but godly. It is open and revealed to us, but still just as much a mystery. Because it’s such a great mystery, we should adore it, believe it, and dig into it.
Jesus Christ himself is the mystery of godliness, and verse 16 tells us all the reasons why. He is fully God in real, human flesh, manifested in flesh after flesh had already been corrupted. He was justified in the Spirit: though he was put to death like a sinner, the Spirit raised him so he was justified from all the sin loaded on him. He was worshipped and attended to by angels, as Hebrews 1:6 tells us. He is preached to the Gentiles when before, salvation was only for Jews. Many of those Gentiles accepted the gospel that the Jews respected, and so he is believed on in the world. And finally, he ascended into heaven. This happened before the world believed in him, but it’s placed last because it’s his crown of exultation and because he went to where he is now ~ to the right hand of God.