"I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth"
(1 Timothy 3:14-15, NLT)
I can feel Paul's anticipation to meet Timothy and the church of Ephesus soon when I read, "I hope to be with you soon." Based on this, I personally think that Paul was freed from prison when writing this letter as oppose to a man waiting and expecting death as he does in 2 Timothy. Although he expected to see Timothy soon, he felt it necessary to give these important instructions (start from 1 Timothy 1:18, "here are my instructions…" to 1 Timothy 3:13) concerning church leadership. These instructions are also called "sound doctrine" (see 1 Timothy 1:10). John MacArthur points out, "The basic task of the church is to teach sound doctrine." So Paul wrote this letter so that Timothy would know how to "conduct" (or "behave") himself and the church, which is "the pillar and foundation of the truth."
"The truth" is undoubtedly what Paul wrote in chapter 1 verse 1 to 17 and it ultimately refers to the truth of the message of salvation through Jesus Christ who is "the truth" (see John 14:6). Now, this is interesting, Paul is not saying that the church is the pillar or foundation of salvation. Christ is the foundation of salvation, "No one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have – Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). This is clear, right? But what about the church? The church is [only] the guardian and keeper of the truth. Never forget that! The leaders must conduct themselves in the spirit of truth. "The household of God" must be founded on the truth. "The church of the living God" is the keeper of the truth. The church, however, is not the truth in itself. Pilate Pontius once asked Jesus, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). Jesus didn't answer him because He already told him (see John 18:37) – and because He is there, the truth-manifested. "I am the way, the truth, and the life," He told His disciples, "No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Preacher G. Campbell Morgan said this about the purpose of the church: "The Church of God apart from the Person of Christ is a useless structure. However ornate it may be in its organization, however perfect in all its arrangements, however rich and increased with goods, if the Church is not revealing the Person, lifting Him to the height where all men can see Him, then the Church becomes an impertinence and a sham, a blasphemy and a fraud, and the sooner the world is rid of it, the better." One more quote. This one is by Major Ian Thomas, he emphasized that "Jesus Christ Himself is the final exegesis of all truth. He is all that we need to know about God, and He is all that we need to know about man."
If Jesus Christ is the foundation of our salvation – and the hope of the world,
and the church is the guidance and keeper of the Truth that is – Jesus Christ,
then, what you and me – the church – do about the Truth?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.