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Daily Devotional • May 14

Melissa McKinney
The Household
A Reading from 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, 15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.16 Without any doubt, the mystery of godliness is great:

He was revealed in flesh,
   vindicated in spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among gentiles,
   believed in throughout the world,
       taken up in glory.

4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. 3 They forbid marriage and abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

Sometimes Paul seems to meander around his point, but not in 1 Timothy 3:14-15. Why is he writing? “So that you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God.” Note that here “the church of the living God” is described as a family with social mores. Every household has its culture, social norms, and expectations. Such rules of behavior were very overtly articulated in Paul’s day. Role-based behavioral obligations were often outlined in household codes. Paul even uses them in his writing (often to subvert them). 

But before he gets to behavioral expectation, Paul describes the identity from which a believer’s actions should flow. Behavior stems from belonging in this “household of God, which is the church of the living God.” Followers of Christ must behave in a certain way because we belong to God’s household, to God’s kingdom, and this household exemplifies truth. Our lives, like pillars and buttresses, are meant to display and uphold truth. The next few lines flesh out truths on which we stake and model our lives: the story of the Way, the Truth, and the Life himself. Verse 16 outlines an early hymn or creed from the first believers. This proclaims the truth of Jesus’ incarnation in human flesh, his vindication by the Spirit, his proclamation among the nations, and, quite notably, the hymn culminates with the truth of his ascension. Jesus’ raising to the right side of his Father’s throne is not just a fun fact, but a significant point of doctrine. As we approach the Feast of the Ascension and on through the rest of this week, would you explore with me the theme of ascension and its practical implications for life in the household of God?

Prayerfully consider the household of God and its pillars and buttresses.

Melissa Amber McKinney is a Pittsburgh native, a writer, and an M.Div. student at Trinity School for Ministry. She works as an afterschool nanny and the music leader at Mosaic Anglican Church in Imperial, Pennsylvania. 

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Today we pray for:

The Church of the Province of West Africa
St. David’s (Radnor) Church, Wayne, Pennsylvania
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