Calvin on “The Mystery of the Faith” in 1 Timothy 3:9

[Paul] gives to the sum of Christian doctrine the honorable appellation of a “mystery,” as indeed God, through the gospel, reveals to men on earth a wisdom which angels in heaven behold with admiration, and, therefore, we need not wonder if it exceed human capacity.

Let us therefore remember that it ought to be embraced with the deepest reverence; and because we could never, by our own strength, ascend to such a height, let us humbly entreat God to impart it to us by the Spirit of revelation. On the other hand, when we see wicked men either ridicule those doctrines or have no relish for then, let us acknowledge that it is owing to the grace of God that those things which have been hidden from others are in our hearts, and before our eyes, as Moses says, (Deuteronomy 30:11[-14]).

Thus he wishes that deacons should be well instructed in “the mystery of [the] faith” because, although they do not hold the office of teaching, yet it would be exceedingly absurd to hold a public office in the Church, while they were ill-informed in the Christian faith, more especially since they must frequently be laid under the necessity of administering advice and consolation, if they do not choose to neglect their duties. It is added, “in a pure conscience,” which extends to the whole life, but chiefly that they may know how to obey God.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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