Archive for the ‘1 Timothy 2:4-6’ Category


1 Timothy 2:4

Ver. 4. The apostle produces a clear, convincing reason, that the duty of charity in praying for all men is pleasing to God, from his love extended to all, in his willing their salvation, and their knowledge and belief of the gospel, which is the only way of salvation. From hence our Savior’s commission and command to the apostles was universal: Go and teach all nations, Mt 28:19; Preach the gospel to every creature,” that is, to every man, Mr 16:15; he excludes no people, no person. And accordingly the apostles discharged their office to their utmost capacity, Col 1:24. But a question arises, how it can be said that God would have all men saved, when that the most of men perish? For the resolving this difficulty, we must observe, that in the style of Scripture the will of God sometimes signifies his eternal counsel and decree; that things should be done either by his immediate efficiency, or by the intervention of means: or, secondly, his commands and invitations to men to do such things as are pleasing to him. The will of God in the first sense always infallibly obtains its effect, Ps 115:3; thus he declares: “My counsel shall stand, I will do all my pleasure,” Isa 46:10; for otherwise there must be a change of God’s will and counsel, or a defect of power, both which assertions are impious blasphemy. But those things which he commands and are pleasing to him, are often not performed without any reflection upon him, either as mutable or impotent. Thus he declares, that he wills things that are pleasing to him; as, I will not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn and live, Eze 33:11; and sometimes that he will not those things that are displeasing to him, as contrary to holiness, though he did not decree the hindering of them: thus he complains in Isa 55:12: “Ye did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.” This distinction of the Divine will being clearly set down in Scripture, answers the objection; for when it is said in the text, that God will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; and in the same sense by St. Peter, that God “will have none perish, but come to repentance,” 2Pe 3:9; we must understand it, not with respect to his decretive will, but his complacential will, that is, the repentance and life of a sinner is very pleasing to his holiness and mercy. And this love of God to men has been declared in opening the way of salvation to them by the Mediator, and by all the instructions, invitations, commands, and promises of the gospel, assuring them that whoever comes to Christ upon the terms of the gospel shall in no wise be cast off; that no repenting believer shall be excluded from saving mercy.

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Patrick Fairbairn (1805-1874) on 1 Timothy 2:1-6

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


Ver. I. I exhort then., first of all, that petitions, prayers, supplications, thanksgivings, be made for all men. The connection marked here by the ouv with what precedes cannot be designated very close, and our then may more fitly be taken to represent the illative particle than the therefore of the Authorized Version. But it is absurd to deny, with some German critics (Schleiermacher, De Wette), that there is any logical connection whatever. The apostle had immediately before been charging Timothy and others situated like him to take heed to fulfill with all good fidelity the gospel charge, so that they might be able to war a good warfare, and escape the dangers amid which others had made shipwreck. What could be more natural, after this, than to exhort to the presentation of constant prayers in behalf generally of men, and especially of kings and rulers, that by the proper exercise of their authority these might restrain the evils of the time, and make it possible for God-fearing men to lead quiet and peaceable lives? The multiplication of terms for this intercessory function is somewhat remarkable: petitions (deeseis) the simple expression of want or need), prayers (proseuchas), supplications (enteuzeis, the same as the preceding, with the subordinate idea of closer dealing, entreaties, or earnest pleadings). The distinction between them cannot be very sharply drawn; for in several passages certain of them are used where we might rather have expected others, if respect were had to the distinctive shade of meaning suggested by the etymology (as in chap. iv. 5, where enteuzeis is used of ordinary prayer for the divine blessing, and Eph. vi. 18, where supplications of the most earnest kind are intended, and yet only the two first of the words found here are employed). The variety of expression is perhaps chiefly to be regarded as indicating the large place the subject of intercessory prayer had in the apostle’s mind, and the diverse forms he thought should be given to it, according to the circumstances in which, relatively to others, the people of God might be placed. Hence, thanksgivings were to be added, when the conduct of the parties in question was such as to favor the cause of righteousness and truth,–a fit occasion being thereby presented for grateful acknowledgments to God, who had so inclined their hearts. And when it is said, that first of all such thanksgivings and supplications should be offered, if the expression is coupled with the acts of devotion referred to, it can only mean that they should have a prominent place in worship, should on no account be overlooked or treated as of Httle moment, not that they should actually have the precedence of all others. But the expression is most naturally coupled with the apostle’s request on the subject; he first of all entreats that this be done; it is his foremost advice that people should deal with God in the matter, as the most effectual safeguard.

Ver. 2. By mentioning all men as the object of their prayers and thanksgivings, the apostle undoubtedly meant to teach Christians to cherish wide and generous sympathies, and to identify their own happiness and well-being with those of their fellow-men. But he specially associates the duty with those on whose spirit and behavior the peace and good order of society more directly depended–kings (quite generally, as in the address of our Lord to His disciples. Matt. x. i8; also Rom. xiii. i; i Pet. ii. 13; hence affording no ground to the supposition of Baur, that the emperor and his co-regents in the time of the Antonines were meant by the expression), and all that are in authority (heperoche, strictly eminence, but here, as elsewhere, the eminence of social position–a place of authority). Then follows the more immediate end, as regards the praying persons themselves: in order that we may pass a quiet and tranquil life, in all godliness and gravity; that is, may be allowed freely to enjoy our privileges, and maintain the pious and orderly course which becomes us as Christians, without the molestation, the troubles, and the unseemly shifts which are the natural consequence of inequitable government and abused power. The last epithet, gravity, semnoteti, is quite in its proper place; for though it has respect to deportment rather than to Christian principle or duty, it is very closely allied to this, and is such a respectable and decorous bearing as is appropriate to those who live under the felt apprehension of the great realities of the gospel. The term honesty in the A.V. is quite unsuitable, in the now received sense of that word.

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John Smalley (1734-1820) on 1 Timothy 2:4

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism





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

THIS was said by the apostle to enforce the duty of praying for all men; and more especially for civil rulers. Seethe preceding context: “I exhort, therefore, first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty : For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved,” &c.

Whether the second person in the Trinity, is here to be understood by God our Savior; or the Supreme Being without distinction of persons, may perhaps admit of some doubt. God, however, is certainly meant; and this is sufficient for my present purpose. Our text then contains two assertions; the explanation of which is now proposed.

I. That God will have all men to be saved; and,

II. That, in order to this, he will have them come to the knowledge of the truth.

I. That God will have all men to be saved, is here asserted.

But how is this to be understood! Does the apostle mean, that it is the absolute purpose of God, to effect the salvation of every individual of mankind! If so, we have in this text a decisive scripture proof, of the disputed doctrine of universal salvation. For God “is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desires, even that he does.” Many designs in a man’s heart are altered or frustrated; ”but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” If therefore it were ever the real intention of God, that the whole human race should be recovered to holiness and happiness, then every child of Adam will infallibly be thus saved.

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The Westminster Annotations on 1 Timothy 2:4

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


Verse. 1. Exhort] Or, desire.
Supplications, prayers] Either these words are synonymous, all signifying the public devotion of the Church in her service and Liturgy; or they may be thus distinguished: by demseis: and meant prayers as we make in our necessities and distresses, to prevent and avoid evils that may befall, or are come upon us, by proseuchas, such prayers wherein we sue for good things at God’s hand, namely spiritual and temporal blessings; by enteuxeis, such prayers wherein we entreat for the good of others.

For all men] That is, all kinds of men, Jew and Gentiles, bond, free, faithful, infidels, friends, enemies, great men and mean ones, public and private; or, as the word is often taken in Scriptures, as Matthew 4:23, pasan noson, all diseases, that is, all sorts of diseases, Luke 11:42, pan lachanon, all manner of herbs.

V. 2. For Kings] He mentions Kings particularly, either because the Kings and Magistrates were then enemies to the Church, and persecutors of the Saints of God, and some might peradventure make scruple whether they ought to pray for such; the Apostle therefore resolves they ought; and yields a double reason for it, the former in this verse, that through God’s blessing upon their Government we may enjoy peace (Jer. 29:7). The latter in the fourth verse, because God excludes no sorts or conditions of men from the means of salvation. Or he names Kings in the first place, because they are highest in dignity, and upon the good use of their power very much depends the safety of the Church and Common-wealth.

authority] Or, eminent place.
honesty] Or, comeliness.

V.4. all men to be saved] By as much as appeared unto us by the will revealed in the Gospel, he excluding none by name, neither nation or condition whatsoever, Matthew 28:19. Mark 16:15. Or all, may be taken, not pro singulus generium, but pro geniribus singulorum. Verse. 1.

V. 5. Between] Gr. of. the man Christ Jesus] The Apostle does not add man to exclude the divine nature from his Mediatorship: for he is God revealed in the flesh, 1 Tim. 3:16. And God has purchased his Church by his blood, which through the eternal Spirit he offered without spot unto God, Heb. 9:14, but to express that nature in which he paid the ransom for us, mentioned in the verse following; and to show that our Mediator being a man, all sorts of men have by faith free access unto him and his offering, Heb. 2:10.

V. 6. a ransom for all] All that do believe in him, Matthew 20:28. John 3:16 and 10:15, Rom. 1:16 and 3:22.
to be testified in due time] Or a testimony. Gr. Tec. For all in due time. The word marturion, is left out in the Greek copy by Tecla, and the sense is full without it, “Who gave himself a ransom for all in due time;” but if retain the word because most copies have it, the meaning is, “That the ransom he paid was a real testimony of his Mediatorship betwixt God and man, whereby he reconciled both.” Or the meaning is, “That though their ransom were paid at one time, yet it is testified to several nations, kairois idois, at several seasons appointed by God for their conversion.

Annotations Upon all the Books of the Old and New Testament: This Second Edition so enlarged, As they make an entire Commentary on the Sacred Scripture: The like never before published in English. Wherein The Text is Explained, Doubts Resolved, Scriptures Paralleled (London: Printed by John Legat, 1651). [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]

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Herman Venema (1697-1787) on 1 Timothy 2:4 and 5.

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


1) (a.) Benevolence is an inclination of the will to do good as far as it is possible and lawful to do so. It is also called the love of God towards his creatures–the strong desire by which he is actuated to promote their happiness and perfection. It is universal in its extent, because it has for its object creatures as such, inasmuch as they are the works of his own hands. For the Creator cannot hate what he himself has made, but is naturally and necessarily led to preserve, to perfect, and to bless his own work. He is called love in the highest sense and without any restriction. “God is love,” 1 John iv. 8; “good and upright is the Lord,” Ps. xxv. 8; ” there is none good but one, that is God,” Matt. xix. 17; “he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,” Matt. v. 45. Scripture declares that he has no pleasure in the death of him that dies,” because he is his creature, Ezek. xviii. 32; that he “will have all men to be saved,” 1 Tim. ii. 4; that he is ” not willing that any should perish,” 2 Pet. iii . 9. It tells us that he “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life,” John iii . 16. This love, therefore, is universal, and prompted him to give Christ; and hence he is said to be “the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe,” 1 Tim. iv. 10. His Love of benevolence to all appears also in the command which he gave that his Gospel should be preached to every creature without exception, Matt, xxviii. 19. It is said that he “will render to every man” without respect of persons, “according to his deeds,” Rom. ii. 6; that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad,” 2 Cor. v. 10. Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., by  Alex W. Brown,  (Andover: W.F. Draper Brothers, 1853), 163-164.

2) There is still another passage on which our opponents found an objection. We refer to 1 Tim. ii. 5. The apostle in the beginning of the chapter, we are told, exhorts that supplications, &c. should be made for all men, and then for the purpose of enforcing his exhortation, he adds that there is “one God” who will have all men to be saved, and “one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus.” Our answer to the objection now stated is this. Not only may what has already been said be applied in explaining the apostle’s words, but there is another reason why God is called one. This reason has no reference to unity of essence, but to men in their collective capacity. The apostle in calling him one God, means that he is God to all alike and stands in the same relation to all. He proves that prayers should be offered for all, because God wills all to be saved, because he is one Godnot of the Jews only but of the Gentiles also–the middle wall of partition between them having been broken down. In like manner there is also one Mediator, because he stands in the same relation to all, not only to the Jews but also the Gentiles. The case was different under the old dispensation. There was not then a Mediator of one, Gal. iii . 20, i.e. of one God who stood in the same relation to all, seeing that God was the God only of the Jews. Moses therefore was not a real but a typical and external mediator, because he is called a Mediator not of one, i.e., not of God as God equally to all and as occupying one and the same relation to all, for he was the God of the Jews only to the exclusion of the Gentiles. Now however under the New Testament he is the God alike of both. The apostle clearly intimates this in another place, “Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also; Seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith,” Rom. iii. 29, 30.

But why, it is asked, is the one God hero called the Mediator, the man Christ Jesus? Is it not meant by this that he is not God!? By no means, we reply. We infer from such language nothing more than this, that he became man for the purpose of discharging his work as Mediator. Why then is he called man and not God? Obviously for the only reason which bore upon the point in hand, that the apostle namely might infer that God was willing that all, Gentiles as well as Jews, should bo saved, because the Mediator is man and therefore is related to all men. Thus as he had called God one, so now he says that there is one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus, in order to furnish a new argument to prove that God wishes the salvation of all whether Jews or Gentiles. Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., by  Alex W. Brown,  (Andover: W.F. Draper Brothers, 1853), 252.

4) 7. Scripture assures us that the love of God towards men as such is universal–that he has “no pleasure in the death of him that dies” that he “will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth“–that he is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” Ezek. xviii . 32; 1 Tim. ii . 4; 2 Pet.  iii . 9. From these passages we infer that there is a general will or purpose of God held forth in the gospel by which he has linked together faith and salvation without excluding any man, and declares that it is agreeable to him that all should believe and live. If this be denied then it follows that he absolutely willed that some should perish and that, according to his good pleasure, the proposition “he that believes shall be saved” should not apply to them. What becomes, in this case, of his universal love? What are we to make of the passages in which he declares that he wills not the death of the sinner, that he will have all men to be saved?  Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., by  Alex W. Brown,  (Andover: W.F. Draper Brothers, 1853), 306.

Richard Muller:

Hermann Venema (1697-1787); studied at Groningen (1711-1714) and Franecker (1714-1718). In 1723 he succeeded the younger Vitringa as professor of theology at Franecker, a post he held until his retirement in 1774. His dogmatic work was published posthumously in English translation: Institutes of Theology (1850). Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 1:51 [first edition].

[Note: From what I can gather, only volume 1 was ever published.]