1 Timothy 3:16
New International Version
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, 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.

New Living Translation
Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.

English Standard Version
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Berean Study Bible
By common confession, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, was taken up in glory.

Berean Literal Bible
And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in the flesh, was justified in the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

King James Bible
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

New King James Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
Beyond question, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

NASB 1995
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

NASB 1977
And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

Amplified Bible
And great, we confess, is the mystery [the hidden truth] of godliness: He (Jesus Christ) who was revealed in human flesh, Was justified and vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

Christian Standard Bible
And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

American Standard Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And this Mystery of Righteousness is truly great, which was revealed in the flesh and was justified in The Spirit; He appeared to Angels and was preached among the Gentiles; He was trusted in the world and he ascended into glory.

Contemporary English Version
Here is the great mystery of our religion: Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that he pleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ was preached to the nations. People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels, hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed in the world, is taken up in glory.

English Revised Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

Good News Translation
No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion: He appeared in human form, was shown to be right by the Spirit, and was seen by angels. He was preached among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, and was taken up to heaven.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The mystery that gives us our reverence for God is acknowledged to be great: He appeared in his human nature, was approved by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was announced throughout the nations, was believed in the world, and was taken to heaven in glory.

International Standard Version
By common confession, the secret of our godly worship is great: In flesh was he revealed to sight, kept righteous by the Spirit's might, adored by angels singing. To nations was he manifest, believing souls found peace and rest, our Lord in heaven reigning!

Literal Standard Version
and confessedly, great is the secret of piety: who was revealed in flesh, declared righteous in [the] Spirit, seen by messengers, preached among nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory!

NET Bible
And we all agree, our religion contains amazing revelation: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

New Heart English Bible
Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: He was revealed in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

Weymouth New Testament
And, beyond controversy, great is the mystery of our religion-- that Christ appeared in human form, and His claims justified by the Spirit, was seen by angels and proclaimed among Gentile nations, was believed on in the world, and received up again into glory.

World English Bible
Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

Young's Literal Translation
and, confessedly, great is the secret of piety -- God was manifested in flesh, declared righteous in spirit, seen by messengers, preached among nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory!

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Mystery of Godliness
15in case I am delayed, so that you will know how each one must conduct himself in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 By common confession, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, was taken up in glory.

Cross References
Mark 16:19
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Luke 2:13
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:

Luke 24:4
While they were puzzling over this, suddenly two men in radiant apparel stood beside them.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Acts 1:9
After He had said this, they watched as He was taken up, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.

Romans 3:4
Certainly not! Let God be true and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that You may be proved right when You speak and victorious when You judge."

Romans 16:25
Now to Him who is able to strengthen you by my gospel and by the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery concealed for ages past


Treasury of Scripture

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

without.

Hebrews 7:7
And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

the mystery.

1 Timothy 3:9
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

Matthew 13:11
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Romans 16:25
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

God.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Jeremiah 23:5,6
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth…

manifest.

1 John 3:5
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

justified.

Isaiah 50:5-7
The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back…

Matthew 3:16
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

John 1:32,33
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him…

seen.

Psalm 68:17,18
The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place

Matthew 4:11
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Matthew 28:2
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.









(16) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.--"And is not simply copulative, but heightens the force of the predication, Yes, confessedly great is the mystery" (Ellicott)--for the glorious truth which the Church of God pillar-like upholds, is none other than that stupendous mystery, in other ages not made known, but then revealed--the mystery of Christ, in all His loving manifestations and glorious triumph. Yes, confessedly great--so great that the massive grandeur of the pillar is only in proportion to the truth it supports.

God was manifest in the flesh.--Here, in the most ancient authorities, the word "God" does not occur. We must, then, literally translate the Greek of the most famous and trustworthy MSS. as follows: He who was manifested in the flesh. In the later MSS., and in the great majority of the fathers who cite the passage, we certainly find Theos ("God"), as in the Received text. The substitution can be traced to no special doctrinal prejudice, but is owing, probably, to a well-meant correction of early scribes. At first sight, Theos ("God") would be a reading easier to understand, and grammatically more exact; and in the original copies, the great similitude between ?C ("God")--the contracted form in which ?EOC was written--and the relative ?C ("He who"), would be likely to suggest to an officious scribe the very trifling alteration necessary for the easier and apparently more accurate word. Recent investigations have shown, however, beyond controversy that the oldest MSS., with scarcely an exception, contain the more difficult reading, ?C ("He who"). The Greek pronoun thus rendered is simply a relative to an omitted but easily-inferred antecedent--viz., Christ. Possibly the difficulty in the construction is due to the fact of the whole verse being a fragment of an ancient Christian hymn, embodying a confession of faith, well known to, and perhaps often sung by, the faithful among the congregations of such cities as Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome--a confession embodying the grand facts of the Incarnation and the Resurrection, the preaching of the cross to, and its reception by, the Gentile world, and the present session of Christ in glory. In the original Greek the rhythmical, as well as the antithetical character, of the clauses is very striking. In the English translation they can hardly be reproduced:--

"Who was manifested in the flesh,

justified in the Spirit,

seen of angels,

was preached among the Gentiles,

believed on in the world,

taken up into glory."

Fragments of similar hymns to Christ are found in 2Timothy 2:11, and perhaps also in Ephesians 5:14. . . .

Verse 16. - He who for God, A.V. and T.R.; manifested for manifest, A.V.; among the nations for unto the Gentiles, A.V.; in for into, A.V. Without controversy (ὁμολογουμένως); only here in the New Testament, but used in the same sense in the LXX. and in classical Greek, "confessedly," by common confession. Great is the mystery of godliness. This is said to enhance the glory of the Church just spoken of, to whom this mystery has been entrusted, and so still further to impress upon Timothy the vital necessity of a wise and holy walk in the Church. The mystery of godliness is all that truth which "in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." Godliness (τῆς εὐδεβείας); i.e." the Christian faith;" what in 1 Timothy 6:3 is called "The words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness (τῇ κατ αὐσεβείαν διδασκαλὶᾳ)," and in 2 Timothy 1:1, "The truth which is according to godliness." In ver. 9 it is "the mystery of the faith, where ἠ πίστις is equivalent to ἡ αὐσεβεία. Bishop Ellicott, however, does not admit this objective sense of ἡ πίστις ορ ἡ αὐσεβεία but explains the genitive as "a pure possessive genitive," the mystery appertaining to, or the property of, subjective faith and godliness; but this is a use not borne out b- any passage in which the word "mystery" occurs. It is always mysteries (or mystery) of the kingdom of God, of Christ, of God, of the gospel, and the like. In the following passages the objective sense of ἠ πίστις is either necessary or by far the most natural: Acts 3:7; Acts 13:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 16:5; Galatians 1:23; Ephesians 4:5; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:10, 21; 2 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:13; James 2:1; Jude 1:3. Having thus exalted the "mystery of godliness," St. Paul goes on to expound it. He who (ὅς). This is generally adopted now as the true reading, instead of Θεός (ΟΣ, instead of ΘΣ). Bishop Ellicott satisfied himself, by most careful personal examination, that the original reading of the Cod. Alex. was ΟΣ, and that it had been altered by a later hand to ΘΣ. The Cod. Sinait certainly has ὅς, and to this all the older versions agree. The Vulgate has quod, agreeing with sacramentum and representing the Greek Accepting this, then, as the true reading, we proceed to explain it. Ὅς, who, is a relative, and must, therefore, have an antecedent. But there is no expressed antecedent of the masculine gender for it to agree with. The antecedent, therefore, must be understood, and gathered from the preceding words, τὸ μυστήριον τῆς εὐσεβείας. It can only be Christ. The mystery of the whole Old Testament, that which was wrapped in types and hidden under veils, was Christ (Colossians 1:27). Moses spake of him, the Psalms speak of him, the prophets speak of him; but all of them spake darkly. But in the gospel "the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:3)is revealed. Christ is the Mystery of Christianity. It is, therefore, no difficult step to pass from "the mystery" to "Christ," and to supply the word "Christ" as the antecedent to "who." Was manifested (ἐφανερώθη); a word frequently applied to Christ (John 1:31; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 3:5, 8, etc.). The idea is the same in John 1:14. Justified in the spirit. This is rather an obscure expression. But it seems to describe our Lord's spotless righteousness, perhaps with special reference to the declaration of it at his baptism, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." We have the same contrast between the flesh and the Spirit of Christ in 1 Peter 3:18. And between the flesh and the spirit of a Christian man in Romans 8:10, "The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness." To this clause apparently the remark of Chrysostom applies, "God became man, and man became God." "The spirit" seems to mean the moral nature - the inner man. Seen of angels. Perhaps the multitude of the heavenly host who welcomed the birth of Christ were permitted to see the new-born Babe, as he seems to have done who described him to the shepherds as "wrapped in swaddling clothes" (Luke 2:12-14). Angels ministered unto him after the temptation (Mark 1:13), and in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43, where the word ὤφθη is used), and at his resurrection (Matthew 28:2). The special interest of angels in the "great mystery" is referred to in 1 Peter 1:12; Hebrews 1:6. Preached among the nations (ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν). It would have been better to keep the rendering "Gentiles" here, to mark the identity of thought with Ephesians 3:6, 8, where, in the apostle's view, the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, that they might be fellow-heirs with the Jews of the promises of God, is one main feature of the mystery (comp. 1 Timothy 2:7). Believed on in the world. The next step in this ascending scale is the acceptance of Christ in the world as the Savior thereof. The language here is not stronger than that of Colossians 1:5, 6, "The word of the truth of the gospel, which is come unto you; even as it is also in all the world, and beareth fruit." And in Colossians 1:23, "The gospel which was preached in all creation under heaven" (comp. Romans 1:8). The statement in Mark 16:15-20 might almost have been in St. Paul's mind. Note the use there of the words κηρύξατε ἐκηρύξαν, τὸν κόσμον ὀ πιστεύσας πιστεύσασι ἀνελήφρη. Received up in glory. The change of "into" (A.V.) into "in" is of very doubtful propriety. In New Testament Greek ἐν, frequently follows verbs of motion, and means the same as εἰς, like the Hebrew בְּ. Our Lord is net said to have ascended in glory (as he appeared at the Transfiguration), but, as St. Mark has it, "He was received up into heaven, and [there] sat down at the right hand of God," fulfilling John 17:5. This grand burst of dogmatic teaching is somewhat like that in 1 Timothy 2:5-7. There is no adequate evidence of its being, as many commentators have thought, a portion of a hymn or creed used in the Church. It rather implies the same tension in the apostle's mind which is apparent in other parts of the Epistle (comp. 1 Timothy 6:11 and following verses).



Parallel Commentaries ...


Greek
By common confession,
ὁμολογουμένως (homologoumenōs)
Adverb
Strong's 3672: Admittedly, without controversy. Adverb of present passive participle of homologeo; confessedly.

the
τὸ (to)
Article - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

mystery
μυστήριον (mystērion)
Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's 3466: From a derivative of muo; a secret or 'mystery'.

of godliness
εὐσεβείας (eusebeias)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's 2150: Piety (towards God), godliness, devotion, godliness. From eusebes; piety; specially, the gospel scheme.

is
ἐστὶν (estin)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

great:
μέγα (mega)
Adjective - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's 3173: Large, great, in the widest sense.

[He]
Ὃς (Hos)
Personal / Relative Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's 3739: Who, which, what, that.

appeared
ἐφανερώθη (ephanerōthē)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 5319: To make clear (visible, manifest), make known. From phaneros; to render apparent.

in
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

[the] flesh,
σαρκί (sarki)
Noun - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's 4561: Flesh, body, human nature, materiality; kindred.

was vindicated
ἐδικαιώθη (edikaiōthē)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 1344: From dikaios; to render just or innocent.

by
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

[the] Spirit,
πνεύματι (pneumati)
Noun - Dative Neuter Singular
Strong's 4151: Wind, breath, spirit.

was seen
ὤφθη (ōphthē)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 3708: Properly, to stare at, i.e. to discern clearly; by extension, to attend to; by Hebraism, to experience; passively, to appear.

by angels,
ἀγγέλοις (angelois)
Noun - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's 32: From aggello; a messenger; especially an 'angel'; by implication, a pastor.

was proclaimed
ἐκηρύχθη (ekērychthē)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 2784: To proclaim, herald, preach. Of uncertain affinity; to herald, especially divine truth.

among
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

[the] nations,
ἔθνεσιν (ethnesin)
Noun - Dative Neuter Plural
Strong's 1484: Probably from etho; a race, i.e. A tribe; specially, a foreign one.

was believed in
ἐπιστεύθη (episteuthē)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 4100: From pistis; to have faith, i.e. Credit; by implication, to entrust.

throughout
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

[the] world,
κόσμῳ (kosmō)
Noun - Dative Masculine Singular
Strong's 2889: Probably from the base of komizo; orderly arrangement, i.e. Decoration; by implication, the world (morally).

was taken up
ἀνελήμφθη (anelēmphthē)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 353: To take up, raise; I pick up, take on board; I carry off, lead away. From ana and lambano; to take up.

in
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

glory.
δόξῃ (doxē)
Noun - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's 1391: From the base of dokeo; glory, in a wide application.


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