It is certainly true of musically-oriented people, if not many others, to have a song that is essentially always playing in your head. I know I do. Some sort of music is in the background, be it a song or commercial I heard, or simply something I was thinking about. Maybe I saw people in a park having a party and then Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park” will start playing in my head. Often the worship songs from a Sunday morning will rattle around for days. Say the right words, and a chorus from a song might come out of my mouth like a poet.
That is what happens in our passage today. Paul summarizes some of the thoughts he has penned thus far in his letter, and his main idea triggers (verse 16) a sort of chorus of a hymn that was likely known within the Christian community.
14 – Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
Paul had recently written about character in ministry, and where does godliness – Godly character – come from? It springs from the person of Christ … and out comes the chorus of a song that summarized the person and ministry of Jesus.
Paul hoped to be able to come to Ephesus and see Timothy soon. In that event, all of these things he is writing about could be reinforced personally … all these instructions about how the diverse people in a congregation should handle and conduct themselves in this living organism called the church – God’s household.
How people carried themselves and served and ministered together had great significance, especially before a watching world. The church is more than just a clubhouse; this is the most important institution on the planet. Paul describes it as a pillar and foundation. Looking at the Greek, it would be better to say the pillar and buttress.
A pillar is what holds up a structure, so the church gives support to the truth. A buttress is a structure that provides defensive security, a role that is also a part of the work of the church in bearing witness to the truth.
So what song is going through your head right now on your internal jukebox? Listen for it. It may be instructive.