But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.[/I] - 1 Tim. 3:15 Many Universal Church advocates claim that 1 Tim. 3:15 refers to the Universal Invisible church idea. However, there are many contextual and historical factors they are ignoring. 1. Paul is a Jew writing to a man who was raised by a Jewish mother and grandmother in the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:14-15). 2. The Jewish mind trained in the Old Testament Scriptures would immediately associate the phrase "the house of God" with Deuteronomy 12 and the prolific Old Testament references to the PUBLIC Jewish INSTITUTIONAL house of God with a qualified ordained ministry and place where public worship, public sacrfices and tithe and offerings were to be brought (Mal. 3:6-10). 3. They ignore that such a qualified ordained ministry is the very topic that precedes this text (1 Tim. 3:1-13). 4. They ignore that the public New Testament assembly was the assigned place for church members to bring their tithes and offerings (1 Cor. 16:1-2). 5. They ignore that the public New Testament assembly was the assigned place to offer up acceptable offerings in public worship (1 Pet. 2:5; Eph. 3:21-4:3; etc.) 6. The public Jewish institutional house of God required careful and specific reverence in how a person conducted themselves and this is precisely what Paul relates in this very text when he says, "that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God" 7. The fact that he continues to define "the house of God" as the "pillar and ground of the truth" completely invalidates the so-called "universal invisible church" as a possible consideration for this text. There never has been, there is and never will be in this life any doctrinal unity existent between all believers in all denominations in all the world. It is anything but "the pillar and ground of the truth." It is the citidal of confusion, division and hersies galore. Last of all, it is a failure to understand the overall context of both first and second Timothy as practical guidelines for Timothy as the Pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul is providing Pastoral instruction in regard to the only institution for public worship existent in the apostolic era which was the New Testament assembly. Remove this contextual factor and we have no practical instruction for men and women in the services as found in chapter two just preceding this chapter. We have no practical instruction for dealing with the elderly in the assembly as in chapter five and so forth. The universal church errors applied to such texts as 1 Cor. 12 rob the New Testament of practical instruction for dealing with division and the use of gifts in the assembly by ripping chapter 12 out of the local church context of chapters 11, 13-14 and applied to some entity other than what is introduced repeatedly in chapter eleven ("when ye come together in one place" "in the church" "gather together") and the unmistakable focus in chapters 13-14 ("in the church" - 14:19; etc.). Even so, ripping 1 Tim. 3:15 out of this context robs the New Testament church of the significance and gravity of public worship that Paul is intentionally directing the Jewish mind of Timothy to in the use of the Old Testament phrase "the house of God." The gravity in applying and heeding to the qualificatons of the ordained ministry who serve in God's public house of worship (1 Tim. 3:1-13). The seriousness of making sure that such men are qualified in "the faith" (1 Tim. 4:1) and do not lead the church away from essential truths. The seriousness of how church members conduct themselves in public worship (1 Tim.2:1-13). By attaching this Old Testament designation "the house of God" to the "church of the living God" all of the seriousness and gravity that is clearly seen in the Old Testament temple worship is conveyed directly to the New Testament assembly. As such, the public services, officers, ordinances and conduct of the members takes on a very serious and significant factor that is fitting with the words that introduce this verse "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God" "the house" in 1 Timothy 3:15 is the New Testament assembly in general and in particular is the church at Ephesus where Timothy resided as Pastor when recieving this epistle.