The Pillar and Foundation of the Truth
Paul writes to Timothy:
“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.” -1 Timothy 3:15
A pillar supports the roof of the building which is at the top and the foundation supports the building at the bottom. The church is described by Paul as being the support of the truth from the top to the bottom. People should be able to come to church and hear the truth supported.
What is “truth” referring to? If we go back to verse 2:4 we see that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Paul then follows this verse by describing the revelation of who Jesus Christ is. He is the mediator who is both God and man (2:5). God wants all men to know Jesus Christ as their savior and then to grow in their knowledge of the revelation of the truth of this mystery. This is how Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you. . .”
God’s purposes and plans have been revealed to man, but they are not attainable nor understandable through simple, effortless natural logic. The truth of God is attained through diligent study and teaching. Proverbs 2:3,4 says that “if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” The image the Bible presents is to seek after the truth as for hidden treasure. “Hidden” means not out in the open. Pirates are not known to “hide” their treasure on a park bench!
After stating that the church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth,” Paul then identifies the “truth” again:
“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.” (2:16)
The “mystery of godliness” means “the revealed secret to God like character.” Galatians 5 calls it the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, the secret to changing you and any area of your life to be more God-like is to understand the truth.
These verses are immediately followed by 1 Tim. 4:1. Paul warns, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 2 Tim. 4:3 says, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine (or, “healthy teaching”). Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
If our society is going to be saved the church must begin to teach the truth and resist the temptation to teach the obvious, natural methods needed to “suit our desires” to simply improve our earthly lives. “Preach the Word.” (4:2)