What does "all" mean in 1 Timothy 2:4?

1 Timothy 2:4

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Is this all men in general or all classes of men such as rich/poor, young/old, black/white, male/female, etc?

If God willed that all men in general be saved, why were the Gentiles not made know of the law and why did He confine the light of life within the narrow limits of Judea initially?

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It means just what it seems to mean, that God wills (wishes, desires) that all men (the Greek word is anthropos - general term meaning persons, with no distinction to sex or age or any other class) would be saved - that is, saved in the absolute sense of escaping eternal punishment and damnation for their sins by rejecting the salvation offered through faith in Jesus Christ.

    This agrees perfectly with I John 2:2 -

    "And He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world."

    If Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, that means from God's perspective every single human being COULD be saved, if only they would meet the condition of repentance (turning away from sin) and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ - Son of God, come down from heaven, crucified for sinners, raised from the dead, seated at the right hand of God, ready to forgive all who call upon Him, confessing faith in His Name.

  • The Law was made for Israel, because that is what they asked God for: a set of rules that they would know when they were not pleasing God.

    Besides, the Law is not what Paul is referring to here. Read from the beginning of the chapter to get into context. Paul asks that prayers and supplications be made for all men. For kings and rulers, so that they might live a peaceful life in godliness and honesty, which is good and acceptable to God. Then Paul goes on to say that God will (this is what He wants) "have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowedge of the truth", which is not the Law, but (next verse) that "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

    As for your last question, all other nations at that time were without God, and were polytheistic.

    See how it is self-explained when read and taken in context?

  • Fuzzy
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    As it says, today after Christ's coming, all are equal before God. They are equal in choice; they can choose to be obedient, righteous, and show faith, or they can be disobedient and demonstrate their non-faith, hate for God, through their disobedience to righteousness.

    Paul explained to us what the purpose of the law covenant was, the purpose with the history of the Jewish nation. It is a tutor leading to Christ by demonstrating that something more was needed. It gives us today God's dealings with both righteous believers, and the disobedient people of his, including the wicked nations around Israel that gives us a future look at what God shall do to all who do not become part of his new nation, spiritual Israel, that is made up of both Gentiles and Jews, people from all nations.

    The people who did not know God in the past will get their chance to do so through their resurrection if they aren't wicked.

  • 1 decade ago

    C and Lawrence have it pretty good. The only thing I would add is that the reason there was a debate about the Gentiles is because before Christ we were like a pack of rabid dogs. We were very uncivilized to say the very least.

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  • 1 decade ago

    All means all. It is the will of God for all of us to be saved, but most will not (Matthew 7:13,14). The OT law did not save people. Narrow is the gate, but we have to choose to enter that way. It's not God's will for us to not to. We have free will and most people are under control of the prince of the power of the air, the spirit of the devil.

    You may refer to Matthew 5:17,18 but in the Gospel according to

    Luke where this is recorded, the verse right before that is this:

    "The law and the prophets were until John." (Luke 16:16). So in

    the detailed Gospel (Luke), He already explained that the law is

    done away with.

    The OT law was temporary: What purpose then does the law serve? It

    was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to

    whom the promise was made... - Galatians 3:19.

    having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of

    commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself

    one new man from the two, thus making peace - Ephesians 2:15.

    having wiped out the handwriting of the requirements that was

    against us, which was contrary to us. And he has taken it out of

    the way, having nailed it to the cross - Colossians 2:14.

    Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through

    the body of Christ, that you may be married to another -- to Him

    who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God

    - Romans 7:4.

    ...and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have

    turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law,

    understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm

    - 1 Tim. 1:5-7.

    Galatians 5:4,7 - You have become estranged from Christ, you who

    attempt to be justified by law (the O.T. law); you have fallen from

    grace... You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

    ~ Note: The KJV has Christ is become of no effect unto you. The

    Greek words are apo and katargeo. Apo also means of any kind of

    separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship

    of the two is destroyed. Katargeo also means destroy, loose, to cause

    a person or thing to have no further efficiency, to cause to cease,

    put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish. The word for fallen from

    also mean to fall from a thing, to lose it, to perish, and to fall

    powerless, be without effect regarding of the divine promise of

    salvation. Obviously those who have fallen from grace were running

    well (the race of faith, 2 Tim. 4:7) and obeying the truth at some

    earlier time, but then they fell from grace.

  • 1 decade ago

    In the early days after the Crucifixion, there was debate as to whether the Gentiles were meant for Jesus' teachings and God's word. Remember, Jesus was Jewish; some of the Apostles were of the opinion that Jesus' teachings were for Jews only.

    It is St Paul who exhorted those who spread the word to spread the word to all.

  • 1 decade ago

    It means all men everywhere in all generations.

    King James Bible

    John 3:16.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    You don't need to worry about people of the past. Salvation is opened to you personally.

  • Bianca
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    God sent his Son as an atonement for sins, so yes he wills all men to be saved. The law was fulfilled when Christ came. The law pointed the way to Christ.

  • 1 decade ago

    All in this text means : Both the Jew and the other nations as by they were not formerly given part in the salvation of Israel before the death of the Messiah on the cross and after the day of Pentecost.


    The prophet said :

    Joe 2:28 -

    And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon ((( ( ALL FLESH ) ))); and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

    So all is of BOTH nations, ALL: as many as he shall call, all of them.

    Ac 2:39 -

    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to ALL that are afar off, (( EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL.))

    " Many are called but few are chosen " Who will have ALL men to be saved is not a garantee, but the option must be presented to ALL : " He that BELIEVE and is baptized SHALL be saved "

    Make sense now ?

  • 1 decade ago

    God is not willing that any should perish.Even in the Old Testament Gentiles could convert.Like how today several Jews convert.

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