Especially Those That Believe
By Gary Amirault
Those of you who have studied the Scriptures for any length of time know there are dozens of passages that declare the "Salvation of all mankind." I, as well as many others, have made lists of these passages of scripture. I have given these passages to many people asking them to explain how these passages could possibly teach the concept of eternal torment or annihilation. I would say, "These scriptures are proof to me that God will eventually save all mankind. Explain to me how these scriptures could possibly mean something different?"
In all my years of teaching the salvation of all mankind, I have never had a single person, no matter how well-versed he or she was in the Bible, go down the list and explain each passage away. No one has ever even attempted to do it. What usually happens is the person usually goes to their pastor, or a reference book that attempts to explain away one or two passages, but they can never explain away the whole list. Then I usually never hear from them again.
One of the leading reconciliation of all scriptures that they do make an attempt to explain away is 1 Timothy 4:9-11:
This is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (KJV)
They argue that He will not save all mankind, just the "especially" ones, that is why the word "especially" is there. Some even go so far as to say that the Greek word behind "especially" means that. To me, this is really straining at straws. This is usually the best those who believe in eternal torment can do with these scriptures. Let us see how easy it is to deflate such weak reasoning.
In Galatians chapter 6 verse 10 we have the following sentence:
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (NKJV)
Is Paul saying that we are only to do good to the "household of faith" or is he saying we are to do good to "all," but especially the "household of faith?" Obviously, we are to do good to both groups. In like manner, Jesus is, in fact, Savior of all mankind and Savior of those who know they are saved. He is the Savior of both groups. The Greek word in both passages is the same Greek word, malista, which means "most of all." So then, we are to do good to all, most of all to the household of faith, and Jesus is the Savior of all, most of all to those who already have an earnest of the promise within them.
At this point, often the person will begin to try to interpret "all men" or "all mankind," etc., (depending upon the translation) as meaning "all sorts of men" such as some Europeans, some Americans, some Africans, etc. In other words, He will save some out of all mankind, but He won't save "all of mankind." Now they realize that is not what the passage plainly says, but they feel they believe that is what the passage means. None of the leading Bibles translate the phrase that way. The Jehovah Witness's Bible translates it "all sorts of men." So those who want to "interpret" this passage that way find themselves in agreement with a group notorious for putting their own interpretations right in the Word of God.
The phrase in question here is the Greek "ta panta." The Expositor's Greek Testament on page 504 in Volume 3 renders it "The universe in its widest sense regarded as a collective whole." Professor John Eadie, professor of Biblical Literature in the United Presbyterian Divinity Hall renders it, "The universe, the whole that exists, all things, whether they be things on earth, or in heaven." (Taken from Commentary of the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, page 52, 73) Dr. J.B Lightfoot D.D., D.C.L., L.L.D. speaking of the phrase "ta panta" says, "The whole universe or things, material as well as spiritual, shall be restored to harmony to God." (St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon, page 160) "'Ta panta' is the existing all, the totality of things [The universe, Alford-R], panta would be all that actually is (Winer's Grammar p.105)" This was found in Lange's Commentary Volume II under Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, by Karl Braune D.D..
Using my computer to try to find how "all sorts of" would appear in the Greek, I found nothing phrased that way. The closest I could come was "kinds of" in 1 Corinthians Chapter 14. The word for "kinds" was "geno," not "panta." In short, this Scripture very plainly states that Jesus is the Savior of All, both in the English and in the Greek. One has to add their own doctrines or interpretations in order to make it say something different. The Jehovah's Witnesses tampered with the Bible text itself, and those who interpret "all men, ta panta" as "all sorts of men" are doing exactly the same thing.
Now a Savior is much more than a lifeguard. A lifeguard's job is to save people from drowning, but he cannot be a savior until he actually saves someone. Jesus is not declared the potential savior, He is not called a lifeguard. He is, in fact, declared to have accomplished the act of saving, and not just saving those who believe, but even those who do not yet recognize they have been saved, reconciled, redeemed, forgiven. There are many still in prison houses waiting for someone to tell them they have been pardoned. The door is open. Step into the newness of life.
We, who are the "especially" crowd, have the honor of shouting to the world that they have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. "Be ye reconciled!" That should always be on our lips! We have very good news for the world, whether they awaken to it or not, whether Christian leaders believe it or not. It is a done deal. Let us get comfortable enough with these kinds of scriptures that we can explain away the lies that have been fed to the world about Who our Father really is. He is not interested in having a racially-balanced heavenly race by gathering a few representative samples from each continent. No, He is interested in restoring all things unto Himself that He may be all in all- nay, more than interested-determined. And who can resist a determined God Who shall do all His good pleasure, Who is willing that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth?