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."|