1 Timothy 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1 Timothy 3
Codex Ephraemi 1 Tim 3,15-16.JPG
Fragments showing First Epistle to Timothy 3:15–16 on Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (Scrivener Facsimile), from ca. AD 450.
BookFirst Epistle to Timothy
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part15

1 Timothy 3 is the third chapter of the First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The author has been traditionally identified as Paul the Apostle since as early as AD 180,[1][2] although most modern scholars consider the letter pseudepigraphical,[3] perhaps written as late as the first half of the second century AD.[4]


Fragments 7Q4, 7Q5 and 7Q8 among the Dead Sea Scrolls. It has been alleged that 7Q4 may contain some lettering of 1 Timothy 3:16–4:3

The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter has been divided into 16 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

There has been some claims that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain fragments of Timothy (such as: 7Q4 contains verse 3:16) and other Christian Greek scriptures, but this is rejected by the majority of scholars.[5][6][7][8]

The office of bishop (3:1–7)[edit]

This section indicates that at this time the Christian church already 'reached a settled situation, where it needs capable and dignified men to run it' in the position of "overseer" or "bishop".[9]

Verse 1[edit]

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.[10]

The Church's Great Confession (3:14–16)[edit]

Verse 15[edit]

if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.[13]

In his Commentary on John, while talking about the cleansing of the Temple, Origen mentions the Temple as "the house of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth", referring to the Church which provides firmness.[14] Clark H. Pinnock uses this verse to say that the view that God raising up Church leaders to protect and interpret the Bible is "good and scriptural". He argues that in the Apostolic Age itself there were heretics misinterpreting the truth, and the Church as "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" had to take action against them.[15]

Citing Lesslie Newbigin, who says that the Church confessing the mystery of the faith is "the pillar and bulwark of the truth", Brian Stanley says, "The church herself, as the body of Christ, ... is the only missiologically effective 'hermeneutic of the gospel', bearing witness with 'proper confidence' (a favourite phrase of Newbigin's) to the revelation she has received."[16]

Linking with ecclesial authority, the Eastern Orthodox Church uses this verse to state that the Church (Ekklēsia) proclaims and protects divine truths, both written (Scripture) and unwritten (Tradition), "which coexist in complete harmony with each other".[17] Peter Kreeft gives his summary: "The Bible appeals to the authority of Tradition and Tradition appeals to the authority of the Bible. The Bible calls the Church "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15), and the Church calls the Bible infallible divine revelation."[18]

Though there are disagreements on the exercise of teaching authority, the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) participants cites this verse and share their agreement in Your Word Is Truth:

Because Christ's church is the pillar and bulwark of truth, in disputes over conflicting interpretations of the Word of God the church must be capable of discerning true teaching and setting it forth with clarity. This is necessary both in order to identify and reject heretical deviations from the truth of the gospel and also to provide sound instruction for passing on the faith intact to the rising generation.[19]

Verse 16[edit]

1 Timothy 3:16 in Codex Sinaiticus (א) from 330-360 AD.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.[20]
  • "Mystery of godliness": which is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, involving his birth of a virgin, the union of the two natures, divine and human, in his person.[21]
  • "God was manifest in the flesh": that is the second Person, the Word, or Son of God (cf. 1 John 3:8) who existed as a divine Person, and as a distinct one from the Father and Spirit.[21] This clause is a very apt and full interpretation of the word "Moriah", the name of the mount in which Jehovah would manifest himself, and be seen (Genesis 22:2; Genesis 22:14).[21]
  • "Received up into glory": Jesus was raised from the dead, had a glory on his risen body and ascended in a glorious manner to heaven, is set down at his right hand, and crowned with glory and honor, that he had with him before the world was.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See the arguments on composition of the epistle.
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ David E. Aune, ed., The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 9: "While seven of the letters attributed to Paul are almost universally accepted as authentic (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), four are just as widely judged to be pseudepigraphical, i.e. written by unknown authors under Paul's name: Ephesians and the Pastorals (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus)."
  4. ^ Stephen L. Harris, The New Testament: A Student's Introduction, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), 366.
  5. ^ Millard, A. R. (2000). Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus. NYU Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-8147-5637-9. C.P. Thiede drew on papyrology, statistics and forensic microscopy to try to prove O'Callaghan's case, yet without convincing the majority of other leading specialists.
  6. ^ McCready, Wayne O. (1997). "The Historical Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls". In Arnal, William E.; Desjardins, Michael. Whose Historical Jesus?. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-88920-295-8.. "On the whole, O'Callaghan's thesis has met with scholarly skepticism since the fragments are extremely small, almost illegible, and his strongest case does not agree with known versions of Mark."
  7. ^ "... Qumran ms. 7Q5 ... is captioned as if it contains a fragment of Mark: it was of course O’Callaghan who made that controversial — and now virtually universally rejected — identification of this Dead Sea text as a piece of the New Testament ..." Elliot (2004), JK, Book Notes, Novum Testamentum, Volume 45, Number 2, 2003, pp. 203.
  8. ^ Gundry 1999, p. 698. So acclaimed a text critic as the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J., Archbishop of Milan and part of the five member team which edited the definitive modern edition of the Greek New Testament for the United Bible Societies agreed with O'Callaghan's identification and assertions.
  9. ^ Drury 2007, p. 1224.
  10. ^ 1 Timothy 3:1 NKJV
  11. ^ Drury 2007, p. 1222.
  12. ^ Note [a] on 1 Timothy 3:1 in NKJV
  13. ^ 1 Timothy 3:15 NRSV
  14. ^ Ledegang, F. (2001). Mysterium Ecclesiae: Images of the Church and Its Members in Origen. Leuven University Press. p. 324. ISBN 90-429-0945-5.
  15. ^ Pinnock, Clark H. (2002). The Scripture Principle. Regent College Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 1-57383-000-3.
  16. ^ Stanley, Brian (2013). The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Billy Graham and John Stott. InterVarsity Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-8308-2585-1.
  17. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael David, eds. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9.
  18. ^ Kreeft, Peter (2017). Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other?. Ignatius Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-68149-745-7.
  19. ^ George, Timothy; Guarino, Thomas G., eds. (2015). Evangelicals and Catholics Together at Twenty: Vital Statements on Contested Topics. Brazos Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-1-4934-0237-3.
  20. ^ 1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
  21. ^ a b c d John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, – 1 Timothy 3:16


External links[edit]