Friday, November 4, 2016

1 Timothy 3:16 - Mystery of the Godhead?

1 Timothy 3:16 is one of those scriptures that are often misrepresented by trinitarians as speaking of the "mystery of the godhead" or the "mystery of the trinity". Many seem to read the expression "mystery of godliness" as though it says "mystery of the Godhead" (meaning an alleged "godhead" consisting of three persons) or "mystery of the trinity", when, in fact, there is nothing at all in 1 Timothy 3:16 about "godhead" or "trinity". We do read there of a mystery, but we find nothing there about a mystery of a trinity, nor a mystery of "the godhead" as some have spoken of in reference to 1 Timothy 3:16.
1 Timothy 3:16 - By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. -- New American Standard.
Or, KJV: without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; RHM: confessedly great is the sacred secret of godliness; WMS: the mystery of our religion is a great wonder; NEB: great beyond all question if the mystery of our religion; GDS: no one can deny the profundity of the divine truth of; NWT: godly devotion; BAR: the greatness of the truth of our religion. The Greek often translated "religion" is EU-SEBEIAS [Strong's Concordance #2150, well-reverent].
Dictionary of New Testament Theology [Colin  Brown], Volume 2, page 91, comments on the root meaning of this word: "The root seb- meant originally to step back from someone or something, to maintain a distance…developed the metamorphical idea of trepidation ranging from shame, through wonder, to something approaching fear." Thus, this awe [wonder/fear] inspires worship of the Creator which some call religion. The Greek for "mystery" is MYSTERION [Strong's Concordance #3466].
The word "mystery" is in 1 Timothy 3:16; there is nothing there that says anything about this "mystery" being that Jesus has two states of glory at once, or that Jesus is Yahweh; these ideas have to be added to and read into what is stated. Nor is there in 1 Timothy 3:16 anything about a Mystery of Godhead consisting of three persons; indeed, there is no "mystery of the Godhead" of three persons ever once mentioned in the Bible.
What is the Greek word translated "mystery" and its meaning?
hidden thing, secret, mystery
generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals
a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding
a hidden purpose or counsel
secret will 1c
of men 1c
of God: the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly
in rabbinic writings, it denotes the mystic or hidden sense
of an OT saying
of an image or form seen in a vision
of a dream
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Musterion". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon". 1999.
What is the mystery referred to? Is it not "the mystery of godliness"? What does "godliness" mean?
The Greek word "godliness" is transliterated as "Eusebeia" which means "reverence, respect, piety toward God."
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Eusebeia". "The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon".
Is Paul, then, speaking of God's own godliness (reverence, respect, piety) toward himself as a mystery? Obviously, it is speaking of someone else's reverence toward God, not of God's reverence toward Himself. What we can be certain of is that the "mystery" spoken of is not an alleged "mystery" of a trinity. The word translated "godliness" has to do with the manner of worship, not of a duality of natures of Jesus in the flesh (one sentient being who omniscient, and another sentient being who is not ominsicent?), nor of three persons in one Godhead. These latter ideas have to be twisted into the scripture.
Whose godliness toward God is spoken of as a mystery? 1 Timothy 3:16 then tells of Christ "Who (as in the oldest Greek Siniatic MS text -- not "God") was manifest [Phaneroo] in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
The Greek word *Phareroo* means:
to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way make actual and visible, realised to make known by teaching to become manifest, be made known of a person expose to view, make manifest, to show one's self, appear to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood who and what one is.
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Phaneroo". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon". 1999.
So, then is this mystery of godliness understood by anyone? It should be apparent that this "mystery" was understood by some, and yet it is a mystery to others.
Who is this mystery of godliness, of piety toward God, concerning? None other than the one spoken in the following words: the one who was revealed in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, who was proclaimed among the nations, etc. That is, the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of the living God.
Why is the mystery so great? Because, through the full and total obedience of Jesus, life and incorruption (Greek, Aphtharsia) has been brought to light for mankind. (2 Timothy 1:10) Jesus never once disobeyed his God, nor once did he do other than what pleased his God. By his obedience, unlike Adam, Jesus brought life and incorruption to light.
What has God revealed through his scriptures concerning this mystery of godliness? This glorious One, as a human, never fell short of the glory of God by sin. (Romans 3:23) Unlike Adam and the sinful flesh produced from Adam, he fully had the crown of glory as a human, and kept the crown untainted by sin. (Hebrews 2:9) He gave up the glory of humanity, in order to provide a sacrifice for Adam and the dying race in Adam, that he might taste death for every man. Although now of a different plane of glory than he had while on earth (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40; Hebrews 2:9), he is the same one who, while on earth, was the Man Christ Jesus, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3) Jesus spoke of the glory he had before the world was made, which glory he did not have while on earth. (John 17:5) Paul tells us how Jesus left the heavenly glory, how He humbled Himself to take a bondman's form -- to take the same form of bondage as humanity had come into bondage due to sin. (Philippians 2:7,8) Jesus was not a "God-man". He was completely and totally that which the Bible claims that he was, a human being, nothing more, nothing less, "a little lower than the angels," except that the Bible reveals that his body of flesh was prepared by his God, so that his flesh was not tainted with Adamic sinful flesh. Thus he had been given a body which could be offered in sacrifice for the sinful, dying world. (Luke 22:19; John 6:51; Hebrews 10:5,10) Additionally, unlike Adam, Jesus had been with his God and Father long before the world of mankind was made (John 17:5), so that he was amply taught (John 8:28), prepared, sanctified, before the only true God sent him into the world of mankind. (John 10:36; 17:1,3) Having fully kept the law of God up until the age of 30, he was approved by his God and Father as acceptable as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. (Matthew 3:15-17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; John 1:29; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) Having no sin, and having proven himself fully obedient, Jesus was given unlimited access to the holy spirit of his God. -- John 3:34; Matthew 12:28.
How was Jesus justified in the spirit? Jesus had no need to be justified from sin, for he was without sin. Jesus was, however, proved right, proved to be without sin, in the spirit when he was tried, even until his death. He proved to be whom he claimed, to be, the Messiah, the one without spot, without sin. His spirit of obedience never failed. Nevertheless, Paul could have been referring to Jesus' being raised "in the spirit". The matter was set straight, in other words -- not yet to the unbelieving world, but before the angels -- he was "seen of angels" -- and he was justified before believers on the earth.
Jesus was "preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world". The world of mankind in general has never believed on Jesus. To them all of this is still a mystery, for it has not become apparent -- it has not been revealed to their understanding -- exactly who Jesus was and is. Additionally, because of compromise -- a falling away from the true faith, God has sent his people [by allowing Satan to do his work] a strong delusion, which has furthered muddled an understanding of who Jesus is, so that even many who profess Christ have not truly understood. -- 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11.
Jesus is Not Yahweh (Jehovah)
Understanding Kingdom Mysteries
Could the mystery be understood? By whom? Jesus was believed on "in the world". The mystery was and is understood by many true believers that Jesus was indeed the one who was without sin, the man who died to correspond to Adam (Romans 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6); the one who was sent by the only true God to provide the ransom sacrifice, the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice for sin. (John 17:1,3; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) These believers are "in the world" but not "of the world". -- John 17:11,16.
Jesus was received into glory; not the human glory that he had sacrificed , but the glory of a celestial, heavenly, spiritual body. -- 1 Corinthians 15:40,44.
Jesus Died a Human Being - Raised a Spirit Being
This is our confession of godliness, which is great, for we cannot have any basis for godliness on our part without the one sent by the only true God.
Click Here for Writings by others.
The claim is made by one that there are 262 out of 264 manuscripts in Greek that testify to the word "God" being the correct reading of 1 Timothy 3:16.
1 Timothy 3:16
kai homologoumenws mega estin to tees eusebeias
2532 3672 3173 1510_2 3588 3588 2150
musteerion hos ephanerwthee en sarki edikaiwthee
3466 3739 5319 1722 4561 1344
en pneumati wphthee aggelois ekeeruchthee en
1722 4151 3708 0032 2784 1722
ethnesin episteuthee en kosmw aneleemphthee en
1484 4100 1722 2889 0353 1722
Westcott & Hort Interlinear
1 Timothy 3:16 reads, in part:
While I highly doubt that Paul wrote "God" in this verse, even if he had, one still has to read into the verse what trinitarians claim, that it is speaking of a duality of being of Jesus, or that Jesus is Yahweh, or that it is speaking of a mystery of the trinitarian godhead.
Many refer to the above as a "hymn".
The World English, based on the Textus Receptus, reads: Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, And received up in glory.
God was indeed made manifest, was revealed, in his Son in the flesh, but not to the entire world, but only "to whoever the Son wants to reveal him". (Matthew 11:27) 1 Timothy 3:16, as it reads in the Textus Receptus, does not say that Jesus was "God in the flesh", as some often misquote what is said in the KJV and some other translations of 1 Timothy 3:16. What it says is "God was revealed in the flesh." Jesus, having descending from his God and Father from heaven, knew his God. (John 3:13) Not only this, Jesus maintained piety toward His God and Father in perfect fidelity to the glory of his God and Father. Jesus did not at all fall short of the glory of God, as did Adam. -- Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 1:18; 14:6-9; 17:3,6,8,21,23,26.
God was justified -- proven righteous -- in Christ's spirit of obedience, proving that God's just laws and commands for man are not unjust, by which Jesus condemned sin in the flesh, and yet, through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, God is the justifier of the sinner. -- Romans 3:25,26; 8:3.
How God's Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh
God was seen in Jesus by the angels. -- Matthew 4:11; 26:53; Mark 1:13; Luke 8:1; John 1:51.
God was preached amongst Israel and the Gentiles through the preaching of and about His Son. -- Luke 4:43; 9:2; Mark 1:14; Luke 4:18,19,43; 8:1; 9:2; Acts 8:12; 10:42; 20:25; 28:31; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthian 1:21; Galatians 2:2.
God was being believed in among the Gentiles (as well as in Israel) through their faith in His Son, and his sacrifice for sin. -- Mark 1:15; John 1:12; 3:16,17; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20; Titus 3:4-6; 1 John 1:3; 2:23; 4:9,10,19
God, as seen in his Son, was received in glory, by which the God and Father of Jesus was glorified in His Son. -- John 12:28; 17:1; Acts 2:24-36; Romans 6:4; 15:6; Ephesians 1:17,20; Philippians 4:19,20; 1 Peter 1:3.
None of this means that Jesus is the only true God, Yahweh, who sent Jesus. -- Isaiah 61:1; John 17:1,3.
Additionally, the mystery being spoken of is not God's piety to himself, but mostly about His Son's piety toward his God in Jesus' perfect obedience and reflection of God's glory. As God is in Jesus, the believer is in Jesus, and Jesus and God are in the believer (John 10:38; 14:10,20; Romans 8:1,2; 12:5; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 1:21; 5:17,19; 12:19; Galatians 2:4; 3:28), and Jesus prayed "that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me." (John 17:21, see also John 17:23) All of this pertains to the secret of piety that Paul was speaking about.
Thus whether Paul actually used the word THEOS or HOS or HO does not really matter.
The 264 manuscripts being referred to above are evidently the "cursive" copies of Paul's letters that contain 1 Timothy 3:16. Just citing these manuscripts, or any other comparisons of numbers of manuscripts, has very little meaning except that one would wish to becloud the issue. If a thousand manuscripts have been copied from only one manuscript that contains an error, and only one manuscript is available that does not contain the error, the fact a thousand manuscripts have been copied with an error does not take away the fact that these thousand manuscripts do contain the error.
It is claimed that the "os" ("he, he who, who") reading in the Classical Greek of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus sets up an impossibility in both Greek and English grammar, being a sentence with a subject and no predicate. What is being done is an attempt to discredit the manuscripts that have HOS by the argument that the masculine HOS does not match the neuter musteerion.
Actually, however, one should not be attempting to match HOS with musterion, for the entire description, or "hymn", following is the musterion, not the word HOS in itself. It is a "hymn" of Christ's faithfulness to his God. In verse 13, Paul stated: "For those who have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which in Christ Jesus." He had earlier referred to the "the mystery [musteerion] of faith." (1 Timothy 3:9) He continues to explain why he has written these things, that "you may know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the assembly (eclessia -- called out ones) of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." He is speaking about godliness in the church as a mystery to the world, but which godliness can be seen in Jesus, etc. The correspondence of musterion is not to the word HOS, but the all the rest of the lines in verse 16 that follow, with it understood that HOS refers to Christ Jesus who displayed this godliness.
Some expressions used on several sites related to 1 Timothy 3:16 (we do not agree with what is presented on these sites):
(1) 1st Timothy 3:16 declare the same truth… [that the Godhead is a mystery]
(2) In reference to the word "manifestation": The Apostle Paul himself used this term referring to the Godhead in 1 Timothy 3:15, 1 Corinthians 12:7, and 1 John 3:5-8. -- Evidently 1 Timothy 3:15 is meant to be 1 Timothy 3:16.

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