Sunday, October 18, 2009

1 Tim 3

3:16. There's a fancy Greek word for the figure of speech in which you expect the writer to have one conclusion, and the writer surprises you with another conclusion which you didn't even think was in the discussion. Such is this verse: godliness!

These things are about godliness?! People may say, well, we're not sure of the punctuation, after all, the colon has been added by the translators.

I hope you can imagine how Paul would be taking pot-shots here by the spirit of pragmatism: how in the world, in today's "but what does this mean for me? how does it affect my life? what difference does it make in the concrete day-to-day decisions I'm faced with" mindset, that the mystery of GODLINESS is connected with "Christ manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory."

Most people give a little summary statement like "there's no life outside of Christ." And hope for the best, that the reader will be content to see some remote connection.

I don't think the verse allows that! Probably the first step to taking this verse in, is to assent to it: God, this is truly the mystery of godliness, including any godliness I'll ever have or presently aspire to: Christ's life, His vindication by the Spirit, (even!) His being seen by angels (how's THAT possibly connected?) and the rest.

The second step is to not stuff the verse away! Godliness, the stuff that non-students care about: its mystery connection is somehow to the teachings that usually just students care about.

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