First, let me say that I am a completely orthodox Catholic, just so this post doesn’t appear to be a sneaky attempt to challenge Church authority. I do believe that the teaching Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. However, in the event that this question is ever posed to me, I had a grammatical question about 1 Tim. 3:15, which is often used as a “proof-text” for backing this assertion (and yes, I understand we don’t base our teachings on “proof-texts”, but on the three-part revelation, but still, this issue could come up).
“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1 Tim 3:15)
I’m looking for a grammatical (probably Greek grammar) or contextual explanation for how the appositive works in this sentence. Given the placement of “the pillar and foundation of the truth”, which comes right after “God” and a comma, the sentence could be read that God is the pillar and foundation of the truth. For example, here’s a sentence with similar structure: If I don’t get home, you should know how to fix the lasagna, which is supper for Jimmy, our guest for this evening.
In that instance, because of the nature of appositives, “our guest for this evening” refers back to nearest noun, Jimmy, not to supper. My assumption is that the original Greek is much clearer and that the confusion is only in the translation. After all, couldn’t a protestant easily assert that Paul is saying God is the pillar and foundation of the truth without sounding silly. I just don’t know enough Greek to determine that. PLEASE don’t jump on me for this if I’m overlooking something silly. Just don’t want to be blindsided by this question should I ever be sharing my faith with someone who wants to play grammar games. Thanks.