|Dr. Couch, what is your understanding of 1 Timothy 4:10, where Paul says that God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers?|
ANSWER: This verse, along with about eight other passages, destroys the hard Calvinists' doctrine of Limited Atonement. Christ died for all but His sacrifice is applied only to the elect. The Limited Atonement guys say He died only for the elect.
The verse reads: "We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for all but applied only to the elect. All men can not, and will not, come to Him as Savior. This is the doctrine of Total Depravity. No one by himself can come to Him. And only the elect are drawn to Him in a sovereign way.
The word especially is the Greek word malista which should be translated "particularly, most of all, above all." Alford writes: "His will is that all men should be saved, and He has made full and sufficient provision for the salvation of all; so that, as far as salvation stands in Him, He is the Savior of all men. And it is in virtue of this … salvation offered by God, that we have rested our hopes on Him and become saved, especially them that believe, God has provided, become actual, He is the same Savior towards all; but these alone who believe appropriate His salvation." This is of course done by His sovereign election.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch