A Universalist Looks at the New Testament – I Timothy 4:10

Today’s verse — I Timothy 4:10 — Isn’t really a problem for either side. But I think the universalist interpretation fits better. Here’s the verse:

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

It’s the “especially” clause that gives non-universalists their out. Because without that, it’s pretty clear: God is the Savior of all people.

So what does it mean, “especially of those who believe”? Notice that it does not say, “exclusively of those who believe.”

What I think it means is “God is the Savior of all people, and those who believe in this life get to experience that salvation more fully.”

What I do not think it means is “God offers salvation to all people, but only those who believe will actually receive it.”

Especially implies this is more fully and richly true for those who believe, but not that they are the only ones for whom it’s true.

Can you really say that God is the Savior of someone if they end up being subjected to never-ending torment after death? Even if they in effect chose it by not believing — in what sense is God their Savior?

Still, I don’t see this as a problem passage for non-universalists. I do think that the universalist interpretation makes more sense, though.

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