by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3 Lincolnton, NC July 25, 2004
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1901 ASV Translation:
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.
There is one variation between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26: in verse three, the Textus Receptus has the word "for" and the Nestle/Aland 26 does not.
I. What is the "connection" between our living a "tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity" and God's interest in "all men being saved"?
A. It seems likely that if Paul had wanted our prayer lives to be addressed to the salvation of all men, he would have written something like "...I urge, first of all, that entreaties, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be made for all men; for kings and all that are in high place, that they might be saved...".
B. But, he does not; rather, he makes the "objective" of our prayer lives "our" leading tranquil and quiet lives in godliness and gravity.
C. So, when Paul goes from that "objective" to the next sentence, we are left to wonder: what is he thinking?
1. What is the connection between Paul's emphatic focus upon all kinds of prayers and his theology of God as "Savior" and how this theology moves from believers living quiet and tranquil lives to a "desire to save all men"?
a. There is this possibility: Paul's concept of "salvation" is man coming to "tranquility and quietness" in the face of disturbing developments [i.e. God's interest in "salvation" is not necessarily the "lost", but His people who are in danger of losing the temporal benefits of "salvation" in the face of disturbing developments].
b. Then, there is this possibility: Paul's concept of believers living out the implications of "faith" (living tranquilly in the face of disturbing developments) leads others into the experience of "salvation" [i.e. God's interest in "salvation" is the "lost"; not His own people].
c. It seems like it is almost "knee-jerk" to move from God's interest in salvation backwards to the idea that we are to be praying for all men "to be saved"...especially those in authority.
1) However, automatic or not, we have a clear statement by Paul that his "objective" for our prayers is our living -- in tranquility, quietness, godliness, and gravity.
2) In order to grasp his thought-flow, we need to move away from the "knee-jerk" interpretation and attempt to think with him by looking into the words, phrases, and links between thoughts.
a) The "knee-jerk" interpretation understands "save" in terms of deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin; not the deliverance of believers from the power of sin in the present time.
b) The "knee-jerk" interpretation also understands our "prayers" to be directed toward the salvation of the lost; not the divine oversight of policy by those in authority.
d. In the pursuit of the answer to this issue [the connection between the thoughts in 2:1-2 and 2:3-4] we have these clues...
1) Paul clearly indicates that he considers "our" living in quietness the "objective".
2) Paul also clearly describes God as "our" Savior in verse 3...in fact, this is emphatic in that he literally writes "...this [is] good and acceptable before the Savior of us -- God...".
3) Then Paul also clearly writes of God's "willingness" to save "all men".
a) This statement is reinforced by the "one God" and "one Mediator" terminology of verse five.
b) Then, that statement is reinforced with the "...He gave Himself a ransom for all..." declaration.
c) And that is followed by Paul's personal place in the entire "desire" of God: "...I was appointed a preacher and apostle to the Gentiles...".
A. Paul's interest is Timothy's instruction to the church regarding how the "men" ought to focus [as opposed to verses 9 and following where it is the "women" who are to "focus" elsewhere].
B. Clearly Paul has an interest in the Church being involved in the desire of God for the salvation of all men.
C. Just as clearly, Paul sees the problem of the Church being rattled into panic mode by outward circumstances as a denial of "faith" and a hindrance to the fulfillment of God's desire.
D. This makes Paul's focus, of necessity, upon the Church in an attempt to get it to the point where it can be the sub-instrument [Christ is the Mediator; His Church is His sub-instrument of mediation] of the fulfillment of God's desire.
E. This means that the "big" picture is God's interest in the salvation of "all", and the "lesser" picture God's particular interest in the salvation of His own so that they may become adequate tools in His hands as He moves from the "saved" to the "lost".
F. The conclusion, then, is that our "prayers" are to get us into shape so that we may become the instruments of "witness" so that others, on the outside, may come to a knowledge of the truth.
G. The logic is this:
1. We need to get to tranquility as a result of God's "saving" us from the power of sin in our lives.
2. Then, as we have gotten "saved", we can become the "not lying" witnesses of the message of the Savior-God's desire to also "save" others...which means that they also come to tranquility.
3. So we need to see God, first, as "our" Savior; and, then, as the "Savior" of all men who come to tranquility by faith.