A New Perspective on 1 Tim 2:4

Moon-Ryul Jung moon at sogang.ac.kr
Mon Sep 24 00:25:29 EDT 2001

Dear Steve,

Yes, I read your post after I posted mine. It made quite a similar point
about the meaning of "all men". Though I certainly would like to comply
with Carl, the list coordinator, I wanted to share the feeling of 
surprise I had when it occurred to me that "all men" in many contexts
might carry the contrast "all men not just the Jews". The interpretation
1 Tim 2:4 seemed to be in deadlock. In that case, it seems reasonable to 
take back quite a bit and look back again to the issue from a new

I am hesitant to understand "all men" to "all kinds of men". This seems
too artificial and sounds forced by some doctrinal presupposition. 
As another post pointed out so well, the plain interpretation of 
1 Tim 2:1 seems "pray for ALL MEN, EVEN KINGS", rather than for
"all kinds of men". Though the two interpretations seem quite similar, 
the presupposed implication is different. 
"ALL MEN, EVEN KINGS" carries the implication that people do not tend to
for KINGS. "All kinds of men" does not necessarily carry such implication.
Likewise, Paul's mention that "God desires ALL MEN to be saved" carries
an implication that some people did not think so. Indeed some people 
thought that only the Jews could be saved or the Gentiles by becoming 
Jews. It implies that God is of the Jews only, not of the Gentiles
as well. Paul refutes this implication by referring to the fundamental 
Jewish conviction that God is one. 

I am sorry if my post is far beyond the scope of bgreek. 

Moon R. Jung
Associate Professor
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea
> on 9/23/01 10:38 AM, Moon-Ryul Jung at moon at sogang.ac.kr wrote:
> > God our Savior, who desires ALL MEN to be saved and to come to
> > the knowledge of the truth. For there is ONE GOD, and there is
> > ONE MEDIATOR  between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who
> > gave himself as a ransom for ALL, .... For this I was appointed
> > a preacher and apostle, a teacher of the GENTILES in faith and truth.
> > 
> > The theme of ONE GOD is the same as in Rom 3:28-30. Here the theme
> > of ONE MEDIATOR is introduced as well. ONE GOD and ONE MEDIATOR!
> > What is the point of this empasis of oneness? Do not these expressions
> > emphasize that the Gentiles have the same God and the same mediator
> > as the Jews? Doesn't the "ransom for ALL" imply the ransom for
> > the Gentiles as well as the Jews? In this perspective, Paul's
> > mention that he was appointed a teacher of the GENTILES makes a good
> > sense here, and is quite relevant to the context. In other readings,
> > it is hard to see why Paul mentions his mission to the Gentiles.
> > 
> > So, I suggest the strong connection between "all men" and
> > "the Gentiles", both of which occur in the passage of 1 Tim 2: 4-7.
> > For Paul, who had the mission to the Gentiles, and who had to fight
> > against those Jews who required the Gentiles to become Jews by
> > practicing the Law, in particular, circumcision, the "all"
> > could quite easily mean "all" not just the Jews.
> Yes, I brought up the connection between "all men" and "the Gentiles" in one
> of my posts also. Your observation on "one God" and "one Mediator" is very
> cogent as well. Another text that exhibits this same parallel between "all
> men" and "the Gentiles" is Acts 22:15, 21. It is clear that Paul did not
> witness to all people in the world without exception, for that would not be
> possible. But when "all men" is understood as "not Jews only, but Gentiles
> as well" it becomes understandable. There is a similar parallel between
> KOSMOS and TA EQNH in Rom 11:11-15, where neither term is all-inclusive.
> -- 
> Steve Lo Vullo
> Madison, WI

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