The problem with limiting the scope of 1 Tim. 2:4.

squirrelyguy

Well-known member
Paul says that God desires "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4) If we attempt to limit the scope of "all men" in this verse to only the elect among all men, on what contextual basis can we do so? He had just exhorted in the preceding verses that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." (vv. 1-2)

If we limit the scope of "all men" in v. 4, shouldn't we also (for the sake of consistency) limit the scope of "all men" in v. 1? But how can we do this? Paul gives specific examples of who is included in this "all men", and he names "kings and all who are in authority." Unless we are to conclude that "kings and all who are in authority" are all, without exception among the elect, then how can we think that his use of "all men" in v. 4 would be understood by his audience as referring only to the elect?
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
Paul says that God desires "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4) If we attempt to limit the scope of "all men" in this verse to only the elect among all men, on what contextual basis can we do so? He had just exhorted in the preceding verses that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." (vv. 1-2)

If we limit the scope of "all men" in v. 4, shouldn't we also (for the sake of consistency) limit the scope of "all men" in v. 1? But how can we do this? Paul gives specific examples of who is included in this "all men", and he names "kings and all who are in authority." Unless we are to conclude that "kings and all who are in authority" are all, without exception among the elect, then how can we think that his use of "all men" in v. 4 would be understood by his audience as referring only to the elect?
This has a lot to do with God's Decreetive Will and his Permissive Will; his general Love for All and his specific Love for his People...

IE Categories...
 
Last edited:

Theo1689

Well-known member
Paul says that God desires "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4) If we attempt to limit the scope of "all men" in this verse to only the elect among all men, on what contextual basis can we do so?

Who has argued this position, that you choose to argue against it?
Who has said that "all men" means "elect" (other than anti-Calvinists, I mean)?

Here's what Greek scholar and Calvinist has to say:

"1. First of all (prōton pantōn). Take with parakalō. My first request (first in importance). Intercessions (enteuxeis). Late word (Polybius, Plutarch, etc.), only here in N.T. and 4:5, though the verb entugchanō in Rom. 8:27, 34; 11:2, 25. The other three words for prayer are common (Phil. 4:6). For all men (huper pantōn anthrōpōn). The scope of prayer is universal including all kinds of sinners (and saints)."

The key here is that Paul is not trying to identify "who" to pray for, or "who" will be saved, but "what kinds", or "what types" of people are to be prayed for, and who will be saved.

Non-Calvinists project an artificial idea of "precision" and "individuality" to the text, which is not warranted by the text itself. It's talking about what "types" of people to pray for, not which "individuals" are to be saved.

Case in point, it's easy to pray for (1) those present with you, (2) those who are your friends, and (3) those who are poor and in need. But it is more difficult, and less intuitive, to pray for those who are in authority, especially if they are persecuting you. That is one of the reasons Paul says to pray "for kings, and those in authority".

The non-Calvinist position also has a further problem in v. 4:

1 Tim. 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If God truly desires "all [individuals]" to be saved, then that leads either to universalism (if God gets what He desires), or a denial of God's omnipotence (if God is unable to get what He desires).

If "all people" means "all groups/types of people" (rather than all "individuals"), there no longer remains any problem.
 

SovereignGrace

Well-known member
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.[Philippians 4:13]

A believer can do ALL things through Him who gives them strength. They can lie, steal, cheat, murder, rape, commit adultery, commit incest, commit molestation, commit idolatry, &c. Remember, they can do ALL things.

I do not agree with the above, but until ppl realize all does not mean “all means all and that is all that all means” this is the logical conclusion.
 

squirrelyguy

Well-known member
It's talking about what "types" of people to pray for, not which "individuals" are to be saved.
I can't imagine anyone, Calvinist or Arminian, reading this text and coming away thinking that it tells us who will be saved. What it tells us is who God wants to be saved. The implication of Paul's command is clear; God wants the same people that that we are told to pray for to be saved. That includes (at least) all kings and those in authority. We can say with confidence that it was God's will for Nero to be saved, since he was the emperor at the time Paul wrote this, and the basis for commanding Timothy to pray for him is because God's will was for him to be saved.
The non-Calvinist position also has a further problem in v. 4:

1 Tim. 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If God truly desires "all [individuals]" to be saved, then that leads either to universalism (if God gets what He desires), or a denial of God's omnipotence (if God is unable to get what He desires).

If "all people" means "all groups/types of people" (rather than all "individuals"), there no longer remains any problem.
What if there's a third option? What if God wants something more than He wants all men to be saved? Don't we speak this way about our own desires? A teacher can tell his students "I want each of you to pass this class" while intending to only give passing grades to those who earn them, and nobody sees any contradiction in his desires. It is understood by those hearing him that the teacher will flunk any student who doesn't earn the grades regardless of how earnestly he desires for them to pass. The teacher genuinely wants every student to pass, but it is understood that he wants something else more than he wants every student to pass. So it is with God's desire for the salvation of all men.

Furthermore, it is not a question of the teacher's omnipotence in this situation because if he wasn't concerned about ethics, he could give passing grades to every student even if they fail every test along the way. I had professors in college who seemed to be much more lenient in grading than I felt was warranted. They desired that I would make a certain grade, and even though I felt I hadn't earned it they gave it to me anyway. Could God save every man regardless of his/her choices in life? He could, but this would raise thorny theological questions that, as it turns out, we don't have to contemplate. In fact He doesn't save every man regardless of his/her choices in life, and this is despite His own desire that they would be saved. It seems evident to me that God is not lacking in omnipotence, but that He desires something more than He desires the salvation of all men.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
First of all, thank you for your response.

I thank you for no longer using the straw-man argument, " 'all men' means 'elect' ", because I don't know anyone who believes that.

I can't imagine anyone, Calvinist or Arminian, reading this text and coming away thinking that it tells us who will be saved. What it tells us is who God wants to be saved.

So you think God's will is going to be thwarted?
You seem to be denying God's omnipotence.
If God wants someone to be saved, He WILL be saved.
If someone ends up not being saved, it's because God didn't want Him to be saved.

I don't understand how you can make any such distinction, unless you deny God's omnipotence.

Further, you have to deny God's omniscience as well. Because even if God doesn't control who will be saved, He at least KNOWS who will be saved. And for God to "want" someone to be saved, whom He already knows will NOT be saved, is nothing short of irrational and insane.

It's like someone with a lottery ticket still "hoping" to win, a week after he lost the draw.

The implication of Paul's command is clear; God wants the same people that that we are told to pray for to be saved.

I don't agree with you at all.
But I do see that whenever someone holds a view that is not Biblical, they instead claim it is "implied", so they don't have to demonstrate it with explicit Scripture.

That includes (at least) all kings and those in authority. We can say with confidence that it was God's will for Nero to be saved, since he was the emperor at the time Paul wrote this, and the basis for commanding Timothy to pray for him is because God's will was for him to be saved.

That is a HUGE (and completely unfounded, IMO) assumption.
He said "pray for kings" (a GENERAL group). You sound like you're arguing that anyone we pray for will automatically be saved, but that is nonsense.

What if there's a third option? What if God wants something more than He wants all men to be saved? Don't we speak this way about our own desires? A teacher can tell his students "I want each of you to pass this class" while intending to only give passing grades to those who earn them, and nobody sees any contradiction in his desires.

A teacher isn't omnipotent.
A teacher doesn't have control over their students.

So now you're denying God's DEITY.

It is understood by those hearing him that the teacher will flunk any student who doesn't earn the grades regardless of how earnestly he desires for them to pass. The teacher genuinely wants every student to pass, but it is understood that he wants something else more than he wants every student to pass. So it is with God's desire for the salvation of all men.

No, because God is not a man.
God is omnipotent and omniscient, two attribute which completely conflict with your view.

Could God save every man regardless of his/her choices in life?

God CONTROLS our choices.
Gen. 50:20.
Isa. 10:5-7.
Acts 4:27-28.

It seems evident to me that God is not lacking in omnipotence, but that He desires something more than He desires the salvation of all men.

A more ridiculous view I've never heard.

A God that desires, "more", "less", or anything "different" than what occurs is no god at all, and is double-minded, unstable in all his ways.
 

squirrelyguy

Well-known member
If God wants someone to be saved, He WILL be saved.
"All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people." (Romans 10:21)
If someone ends up not being saved, it's because God didn't want Him to be saved.
"'As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’" (Ezekiel 33:11)
And for God to "want" someone to be saved, whom He already knows will NOT be saved, is nothing short of irrational and insane.

It's like someone with a lottery ticket still "hoping" to win, a week after he lost the draw.
Along with this you've made a number of other philosophical arguments about what must follow concerning God if He, in fact, desires anything other than what comes to pass; none of them are very favorable towards God. At the end you say "A God that desires, "more", "less", or anything "different" than what occurs is no god at all, and is double-minded, unstable in all his ways." But ironically, you make the following observation as well:
But I do see that whenever someone holds a view that is not Biblical, they instead claim it is "implied", so they don't have to demonstrate it with explicit Scripture.
Don't you feel like you're being unintentionally ironic here?
A teacher isn't omnipotent.
A teacher doesn't have control over their students.

So now you're denying God's DEITY.
I did? I don't see how that follows at all. Can God not choose to create a universe of free moral agents knowing they will choose to do that which He wishes they would not?
God CONTROLS our choices.
Gen. 50:20.
Isa. 10:5-7.
Acts 4:27-28.
To an extent, yes. He can control our choices by manipulating our circumstances knowing what we will choose in view of every possible circumstance.
A more ridiculous view I've never heard.

A God that desires, "more", "less", or anything "different" than what occurs is no god at all, and is double-minded, unstable in all his ways.
You must have a real theological problem with the fact that Jesus wept on more than one occasion.
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
"All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people." (Romans 10:21)

Amen!
Calvinists love all Scripture!
But you haven't demonstrated any issues, so all we can say is, "Amen!"

"'As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’" (Ezekiel 33:11)

Amen!

Along with this you've made a number of other philosophical arguments about what must follow concerning God if He, in fact, desires anything other than what comes to pass; none of them are very favorable towards God.

Yes, and you've offered nothing but a baseless ASSUMPTION:

" 'All men' does not in fact mean, 'all men', but MUST instead mean, 'all INDIVIDUALS' " (even though it never says that).

Remember, it is not MY argument that 1 Tim. 2:4 is "only the elect" (that was YOUR straw-man).

It is YOUR argument that "all men" means "all INDIVIDUALS everywhere", therefore YOU are the one with the burden of proof, not me.

At the end you say "A God that desires, "more", "less", or anything "different" than what occurs is no god at all, and is double-minded, unstable in all his ways." But ironically, you make the following observation as well:

I don't see any "irony" in anything I said.
Perhaps if you want to accuse me of "irony", you should first try to SUBSTANTIATE your accusation.

Don't you feel like you're being unintentionally ironic here?

Not at all.
You have not demonstrated ANY alleged "irony".

I did? I don't see how that follows at all. Can God not choose to create a universe of free moral agents knowing they will choose to do that which He wishes they would not?

Now you're engaging in speculation and philosophy.
Let's stick to what the Bible ACTUALLY teaches.

To an extent, yes. He can control our choices by manipulating our circumstances knowing what we will choose in view of every possible circumstance.

That is unBiblical rationalization.
So the only "irony" here appears to be coming from YOU.

You must have a real theological problem with the fact that Jesus wept on more than one occasion.

Not at all.
Why do you keep bringing up these random insults and false accusations?
 
T

TomFL

Guest
Amen!
Calvinists love all Scripture!
But you haven't demonstrated any issues, so all we can say is, "Amen!"

squirrelyguy said:
"'As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’" (Ezekiel 33:11)

Amen!
Why do you amen when Calvinist theology teaches God reprobates some or simply passes over for his own good pleasure ?
 
T

TomFL

Guest
This has a lot to do with God's Decreetive Will and his Permissive Will; his general Love for All and his specific Love for his People...

IE Categories...
The meaning of all here has nothing to do with God's decretive and his permissive will

You can argue from the fact all are not saved that God's decretive will is involved and it varies from that which he desires

but not for the meaning of all
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
The meaning of all here has nothing to do with God's decretive and his permissive will

You can argue from the fact all are not saved that God's decretive will is involved and it varies from that which he desires

but not for the meaning of all
The Decree of God can be applied to All Scripture as a Hermeneutic...

Not feeling so good today, puked in the HorseSpital. Non-stop headache up till now..
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
What's up if you don't mind ?
Had foot surgery 2 months ago, had my Sesamoid bones taken out; infected, that's why my wound wouldn't heal. Was on one antibiotic, foot got better then worse: found a second germ. Took a new Antibiotic, foot got better, then worse. Had second surgery to clean out the wound. Went for check up, they found a third germ Staph Infection MRSR. Sent straight to the horse Spital for IV antibiotics, here's for 3-4 days, will get a pic line and take the IV Antibiotics at home for 6-8 weeks. I'll be able to work while doing that; chasing dogs...
 
Top