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1 Timothy 3:16– Which was manifested

05-01-2024 - Posted by Hans

And avowedly great is the secret of devoutness, “which was manifested in flesh, justified in spirit, seen by messengers, heralded among the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory”.

There has been much discussion over the centuries about the opening lines of the quote that Paul gives here. Older translations read here: “God revealed in the flesh…”, but the best Greek manuscripts contradict this and read a demonstrative pronoun (>that) instead of “God”. Besides, God did not reveal Himself in the flesh, but hid Himself in it.

Yet the translation word ‘which’ (Gr. hos, masculine) also seems not without problems because it cannot grammatically refer to anything in the previous sentence. ‘Devoutness’ (Gr. eusebia) is feminine in Greek, and ‘secret’ (Gr. mysterion) is neutral. But this objection falls away if Paul deliberately omits the beginning of the quotation.

The text with the six stanzas refers to “the Christ” as the unity of Head and Body. Beginning with a reference to the Head, Jesus Christ, and ending with the glorious future of the ekklesia. This unity was made known to Paul as a secret and as the “pillar and base of the truth” “the ecclesia of the living God” would confess it.