The Importance of a Due Regulation of Church Order
1 Timothy 3:14, 15
These things write I to you, hoping to come to you shortly:…

The apostle expected to visit Ephesus shortly, but in case of his visit being delayed by necessary causes, he deemed it right to give Timothy these instructions in writing respecting the appointment of bishops and deacons, and other details of Church order. "These things I write to thee, hoping to come shortly; but if I should tarry, [I write them] that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to conduct thyself in God's house."


1. Darbyites suppose that it is wrong for man to make arrangements in God's Church - that it is the Holy Ghost who should regulate the order of worship and service, and that his presidency should be recognized in everything. In that case why should the apostle have been at such pains to regulate even the ministrations of prophets and speakers with tongues at Corinth? God is a God of peace, not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

2. It was not enough for Timothy to stir up his own persona! gifts and do the work of an evangelist, but he must execute the special commission he had received from the apostle, to regulate the appointment of the office-bearers of the Church, and the details of Church worship. The Church was to be guided in choice of ministers by the considerations suggested by the apostle.

3. There was special reason for these instructions in the rise of heresies at Ephesus and elsewhere. (1 Timothy 4:1-3.)

II. THE DIGNITY AND OFFICE OF THE CHURCH. It is "God's house, which indeed is the Church of the living God, the pillar and basement of the truth."

1. It is the Church of the living God.

(1) It is so, regarded either as the Christian congregation with a local reference, or as the whole Church of the redeemed, in communion with Christ and with each of its members.

(2) Its internal glory consists in the fact that it is no material temple of dead deities, like the proud temple of Diana which reared itself aloft over the roofs of Ephesus; but a spiritual community, realizing the living and personal presence of God in the midst of it.

2. It is the house of God.

(1) This term denoted primarily the temple at Jerusalem, and secondarily the covenant people (Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1), who had God for a Sanctuary or Dwelling-place (Psalm 90:1; Ezekiel 11:16). There was a mutual indwelling - they in him, and he in them.

(2) It now denotes the Church of God, represented variously as

(a) a spiritual building resting on Christ as chief Corner-stone (Ephesians 2:20);

(b) as the true temple in which God dwells (1 Corinthians 6:16);

(c) as the household or "house of God," over which is Christ as Son (Hebrews 3:6) - "whose house are we." Moses was servant in this house, Jesus a Son over it; it was, therefore, the same house in the two dispensations. A proof, in opposition to Darbyism, that the Church existed in Old Testament times, and did not first come into existence at Pentecost.

3. It is the pillar and basement of the truth.

(1) Negatively, Christ, and not the Church, is the only ground of truth. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 3:11). This passage implies that the Church rests upon the truth rather than that the truth rests on the Church. But a misapprehension arises from confounding the truth as it is in itself with the truth as apprehended by believers and acknowledged before the world. Further, the truth does not derive its authority from the Church, but from Christ.

(2) Positively, the passage sets forth

(a) the presentative manifestation of the truth; for "the Church is the pillar of the truth." The Church is to hold up the saving truths of the gospel before the eyes of men. It is a pillar inscribed all over with the truth. Without the Church "there would be no witness, no guardian of archives, no basis, nothing whereon acknowledged truth would rest." It is the Church which holds the deposit of truth, and perpetuates it from generation to generation.

(b) The passage sets forth the stability of the truth. "The Church is the basis of truth." The truth finds its true basis in the hearts of believing men, who hold forth the glories of redemption amidst all the fluctuations of the world. There is nothing in this exposition to sanction the assumptions of the Church of Rome, because she must first substantiate her claims to be a teacher of the truth before she can be regarded as "a pillar and ground of the truth." - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

WEB: These things I write to you, hoping to come to you shortly;

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