I’m catching up on some old business:
“In the RSV the language (in English) is the ‘household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.’ Which makes it clear that we're not talking about a local parish. The ‘household of God’ and ‘the church of the living God’ is universal (Catholic) concepts. And again, no mention is made of Scripture, but a body of people.”
i) How is it clear that a local church can’t be a household of God?
ii) Since the Greek construction is anarthrous, why insert a definite article before the noun?
iii) Moreover, even a Catholic commentator like Msgr. Quinn admits that house-churches were the norm at this time and place. So that would favor a local church referent.
iv) The 1C church of Rome was, itself, a local parish.
“It makes no sense that 1 Tim 3:15 refers in context to ‘only’ the Church as Ephesus.”
Since 1 Tim was addressed to a man pastoring the church of Ephesus, it makes perfect sense to refer the phrase to the church of Ephesus, whereas it makes no sense to refer the phrase to the church of Rome. What textual evidence is there that 1 Tim 3:15 denotes the church of Rome? None whatsoever. That goes against the setting.
“If so, then what authority does Paul have to write about anything?“
“He was not under the elders at Ephesus.”
Naturally, since an apostle outranks an elder.
“There is nothing in the context that limits the definition of ‘church.’ But there is everything to imply (especially coming from a missionary ‘apostle’ like Paul) that ‘church’ here refers to the ‘wider’ universal church.”
i) To the contrary, missionaries like Paul planted local churches.
ii) Every church is not a pillar of truth. The church of Corinth was often a pillar of error. And we could cite other examples (e.g. Galatians).
“And that indeed is how the Roman Catholic Church understands it. There is the wider "church" for which the Roman Church speaks form time to time about what is true, as revealed to by the Holy Spirit to the Church as a whole.”
A circular argument. Suppose a Mormon “understood” 1 Tim 3:15 as denoting the LDS church?
“But we Catholic apologists refer to this verse to point out that the Bible NO WHERE states that the Bible is the foundation of truth.”
i) Actually, it’s better than a foundation of truth. It is the truth.
ii) To say the Bible doesn’t make a certain self-referential claim misses the point–like people who can’t see their glasses because they can’t see without their glasses.
“Indeed, the Bible points to ‘the church’ in this verse ... and the logical understanding of the infallible Word is the ‘universal’ Church.”
I don’t see you quoting an infallible magisterial interpretation of 1 Tim 3:15. Rather, I see you attempting to foist your private opinion on the rest of us.
“By the way, there was no New Testament when Paul wrote this, nor in the hundreds of years after it was distributed as a letter.”
The very fact that you’re trying to prooftext your position betrays your own (albeit inconsistent) reliance on the written word of God.