The Pillar and Ground of the Truth
“… the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15 (KJV)
The word “pillar” should remind every Bible student of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that God gave Israel to light the way and guide them in their 40-year journey through the wilderness to the promised land (Nehemiah 9:12). After the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, they needed a guide. They had been slaves for 400 years, and didn’t have a clue as to where they were going! It’s not like Pharaoh let his slaves take exploratory vacations. So, God had to lead them every step of the way with the pillar.
After Moses had written the Book of the Law, however, the pillar disappeared. Of course! Now they had a Book to guide them every step of the way. No matter where they went in life, they had a reliable Guide to teach them how to walk and please God.
And now that Book called the Bible has been completed and resides in the local “church”! No wonder God calls “the church the pillar and ground of the truth”! God’s people should follow that Book as closely as the Jews followed their pillar. And, how closely was that?
“…when the cloud tarried (was stationary)… then the children of Israel…journeyed not… when the cloud… was taken up… then they journeyed (they traveled with it)…” (Numbers 9:18-22)
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” (Exodus 13:2)
When the pillar moved, they moved. When it rested, they rested. In other words, they didn’t make a move without the benefit of its guidance. Does that sound like a good way to follow the Book today? Beloved, God has graciously given us a Guide that can help us navigate the most treacherous paths of life. The One who steers the stars (Job 38:32) has deigned to guide the lives of His people. May we never forsake His direction in our lives!
This great Guide has further equipped us with a place to meet to hear His Book taught. If there is no church near you where God’s rightly divided Word of truth is taught in all its clarity, continue to share the gospel with the lost and Pauline truth with the saved. The people with whom you share God’s guidance just might want to start meeting at your house to discuss it. And God has a word for such meetings—He calls it church (Rom. 16:5; I Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philemon 1:2).
These references to churches that met in homes are especially significant when we remember how small the homes were in those days. There’s a reason the Lord had to send the apostles out to find a home large enough for twelve men to eat the Passover (Mark 14:12-16). Such rooms are not that uncommon today, but they were then!
Thus, Paul’s allusions to churches that met in those humble homes tells us that the smallest of gatherings is a church in God’s eyes, one that He will be pleased to call His house, the pillar and ground of the truth in your community.