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1 Timothy 3:9 – The secret of the faith

11-12-2023 - Posted by Hans

…having the secret of the faith in a clear conscience

We encounter the concept of ‘secret’ (or ‘mystery’ or ‘concealment’) very often, especially in Paul’s letters. The Greek word for this is ‘mysterion’, but its meaning is certainly not mysterious or foggy. The word refers to something that is kept hidden and is or was only known to intimates (> in the house, and hence: secret).

Many secrets were made known to Paul that were previously unknown and have to do with the current interruption of salvation history, in which Israel is temporarily ‘sidelined’. In that pau-se (>Pau-lus!) God gathers for Himself an ecclesia from the nations that is destined to share in the position of Jesus Christ. He is the Head and we are the Body. That is unimaginably grand! He summarizes the teaching that Paul gives about this in all its facets under the heading “the secret of the faith”. As he calls it a few verses later (3:16) “the secret of devoutness”. It is “the sound teaching” that was entrusted to him and would be taught in “the ecclesia of the living God” (3:15). The ministers may be expected to focus on this “secret of faith” with a clear conscience.