1 Timothy 2:3-4 & 2 Peter 3:9

(Part of the Election, Sovereign Grace, Will, Salvation bible study group.)

"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God
our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

(1 Timothy 2:3-4)
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
(2 Peter 3:9)

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  1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9, & similar verses of the Bible are often cited as objections to Sovereign Grace Salvation, Election.

  On the surface these verses, if viewed on a stand-alone basis, can be misconstrued; however, no verse of Scripture can be viewed and interpreted if isolated from the entire context of Holy Scripture. (Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture.)

  The focus is made on the word all in these verses. It is then reasoned, that if God wills, desires all to be saved, then all will be saved. In matters of doctrine there can be no contradiction in any of the verses of Holy Scripture. All were inspired by a perfect being in whom 'there is no shadow of turning.' The following verses contradict the interpretation of 1 Tim 2:3-4 & 2 Peter 3:9, as meaning each and every human being.
- - "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the sophisticated and cunning, and revealed them to babes."
(Mat 11:25)
- - "Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.";
(2Th 2:11-12)
- - "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they should not see with their eyes nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
(John 12:40)
- - "Therefore He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will, He hardens.
(Romans 9:18)
- - "What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, 'God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that not hear, down to this very day."
(Romans 11:7-8)

  Using Holy Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that God by His action and according to His Sovereign Will and purpose prevents some from coming to the truth of the Gospel message of salvation. Therefore, the verses from 1 Tim and 2 Peter can not be taken to literally mean each and every human being. That interpretation disagrees with the context of Holy Scripture.

  To literalize these verses would generate quite a contradiction to the teachings of Holy Scripture.
God is all-powerful.
His will is sovereign, what He wills is what is done on earth and in Heaven.
By the power of His will, and that will alone, He created all things.
IF these verses are cited as a basis for salvation, and are taken literally, it would mean that all men would come to salvation because it is God's will, or desire. Since we know that the Bible clearly teaches that not all will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, the interpretation, that each and every human being is meant by these verses, would mean that God is not all-powerful and that His will is subject to the will and choices of man.

  Therefore the word 'all' in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9, & similar verses, must be taken to mean all types of man, regardless of race, national origin, position/status, etc.

  That these verses disprove Sovereign Grace Salvation and reveal that the Doctrine of Election is not valid, is a false claim.

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1 Timothy 2:3-4 & 2 Peter 3:9
page updated 03/21/2011.