Chapter
1 2 3 4 5 6
Verse
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

1 Timothy 3:16

ESV Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
NIV 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.
NASB Beyond question, 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.
CSB And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
NLT Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.
KJV And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

What does 1 Timothy 3:16 mean?

This final verse of this section and chapter introduces a doxology, or a short hymn of praise. The idea of mystery has been mentioned already in verse 9. In this context, "godliness" can also be translated as "devotion" or "revelation" since the focus of the doxology is on God, rather than the godliness of people.

These poetic words may have already existed as a short song when Paul recorded them. Or, they may have been created by him specifically for this letter. In either case, the structure points toward a creed or hymn usage of these words. Many see this verse as the central statement in the letter. The six parts all begin with a definite article and depict a specific part of Christ's life, though there is some debate regarding exactly how it is to be divided. One helpful arrangement is as follows:
Christ's incarnation "He was manifested in the flesh,
Christ's resurrection "vindicated by the Spirit,
Christ's appearances "seen by angels,
Christ's gospel "proclaimed among the nations,
Christ's followers "believed on in the world,
Christ's ascension "taken up in glory."
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