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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 4:10

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Adam Clarke Commentary

For therefore we both labor - This verse was necessary to explain what he had before said; and here he shows that his meaning was not that the followers of God should enjoy worldly prosperity and exemption from natural evils; for, said he, it is because we exercise ourselves to godliness that we have both labor and reproach, and we have these because we trust In the living God: but still we have mental happiness, and all that is necessary for our passage through life; for in the midst of persecutions and afflictions we have the peace of God that passeth knowledge, and have all our crosses and sufferings so sanctified to us that we consider them in the number of our blessings.

Who is the Savior of all men - Who has provided salvation for the whole human race, and has freely offered it to them in his word and by his Spirit.

Specially of those that believe - What God intends for All, he actually gives to them that believe in Christ, who died for the sins of the world, and tasted death for every man. As all have been purchased by his blood so all may believe; and consequently all may be saved. Those that perish, perish through their own fault.

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These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach - In making this truth known, that all might be saved, or that salvation was offered to all. The “labor” was chiefly experienced in carrying this intelligence abroad among the Gentiles; the “reproach” arose chiefly from the Jews for doing it.

Because we trust in the living God - This does not mean, as our translation would seem to imply, that he labored and suffered “because” he confided in God, or that this was the “reason” of his sufferings, but rather that this trust in the living God was his “support” in these labors and trials. “We labor and suffer reproach, for we have hope in God. Through him we look for salvation. We believe that he has made this known to people, and believing this, we labor earnestly to make it known, even though it be attended with reproaches.” The sentiment is, that the belief that God has revealed a plan of salvation for all people, and invites all people to be saved, will make his friends willing to “labor” to make this known, though it be attended with reproaches.

Who is the Saviour of all men - This must be understood as denoting that he is the Saviour of all people in some sense which differs from what is immediately affirmed - “especially of those that believe.” There is something pertaining to “them” in regard to salvation which does not pertain to “all men.” It cannot mean that he brings all people to heaven, “especially” those who believe - for this would be nonsense. And if he brings all people actually to heaven, how can it be “especially” true that he does this in regard to those who believe? Does it mean that he saves others “without” believing? But this would be contrary to the uniform doctrine of the Scriptures; see Mark 16:16. When, therefore, it is said that he “is the Saviour of ‹all‘ people, ‹especially‘ of those who believe,” it must mean that there is a sense in which it is true that he may be called the Saviour of all people, while, at the same time, it is “actually” true that those only are saved who believe. This may be true in two respects:

(1)As he is the “Preserver” of people Job 7:20, for in this sense he may be said to “save” them from famine, and war, and peril - keeping them from day to day; compare Psalm 107:28;

(2)as he has “provided” salvation for all people. He is thus their Saviour - and may be called the common Saviour of all; that is, he has confined the offer of salvation to no one class of people; he has not limited the atonement to one division of the human race; and he actually saves all who are willing to be saved by him.

(See supplementary note on 2 Corinthians 5:21. This passage however is not regarded a proof text now on the extent of the atonement, as the fair rendering of σωτήρ sōtēris “Preserver.” Dr. Wardlaw has accordingly excluded it in his recent work.)

Specially of those that believe - This is evidently designed to limit the previous remark. If it had been left there, it might have been inferred that he would “actually save” all people. But the apostle held no such doctrine, and he here teaches that salvation is “actually” limited to those who believe. This is the speciality or the uniqueness in the salvation of those who actually reach heaven, that they are “believers;” see the notes on Mark 16:16. All people, therefore, do not enter heaven, unless all people have faith. But is this so? What evidence is there that the great mass of mankind die believing on the Son of God?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Timothy 4:10

We both labour and suffer reproach.

Trust in God the support of Christians in their labours and sufferings

I. The course pursued by the apostle and his brethren was one of labors and sufferings. If we must be reproached, let us not be reproached for evil-doing, but for well-doing: let us not have conscience against us, exasperating our sufferings; but secure in our conscious integrity and adamantine guard.

II. What it was that sustained the apostle and his brethren in the course which they pursued: it was the principle of confidence in God. “We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe.”

1. God is here regarded as “the living God”; that is, the true God, as distinguished from dumb and lifeless idols, described by the Psalmist as “having eyes that see not, ears that hear not, mouths that speak not, feet that walk not.” God appeals to this distinction, when He says, “As I live.” This suggests the idea of the infinite perfection of the Deity, and consequently His ability to protect His servants.

2. As “the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.”

He saves them from consequences far more awful than any temporal calamities. Now, from the first of these views we infer that the power of God is pledged to assist His servants to do His will, and execute His commission: and, in whatever we do in obedience to God’s will, we have reason to depend on the support of Him who has ordered it to be done. And, in the next place, this may be especially applied to that part of God’s will, in which His glory is most concerned. In the gospel the honour of God is most of all concerned: men are to be saved by believing the gospel: therefore we may be confident that God will help them in all that relates to the success of the gospel: “He is the Saviour especially of them that believe.”

III. As improvements of this subject, observe--

1. How highly we should value that gospel, which the apostles preached amidst so much labour and suffering!

2. Imitate the apostles in their course of labours and sufferings. Be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”

3. And, lastly, as the apostles were supported by trusting in the living God; so shall we also be, if we follow their example. If we trust in God, His favour will be our joy; if not, His comforts will fail us. (R. Hall, M. A.)

We trust in the living God.--

Trust in the living God

Trust--confidence--is an essential element of human nature. We begin life in a spirit of trust, and cling with confidence to our parents and the guardians of our infancy. As we advance in years, though deceived and betrayed, we still must anchor our trust somewhere. We cannot live without some being to lean on as a friend. Universal distrust would turn social existence into torture. We were born for confidence in other beings; and woe to him that cannot trust! Still confidence brings with it suffering; for all are imperfect and too many are false. Observe what a harmony there is between our nature and God. The principle of trust, as we have seen, enters into the very essence of the human soul. Trust seeks perfect goodness, Its natural tendency is toward an infinite and immutable being. In Him alone can it find rest. Our nature was made for God, as truly as the eye was made for the light of God’s glorious image, the sun.

I. What is the principle of religious trust? I would observe, that religious confidence rests on God’s parental interest in in individual persons. To apprehend and believe this truth is to plant the germ of trust in God. This truth is not easily brought home to the heart as a reality. The first impression given to a superficial observer of the world is, that the individual is of no great worth in the sight of the Creator. The race of man is upheld, and seems to be destined to perpetual existence. But the individuals, of whom it is composed, appear to have nothing enduring in their nature. They pass over the earth like shadows cast by a flying cloud, leaving for the most part as slight a trace behind. They break like meteors from the abyss, and are then swallowed up in darkness. According to this view, God is the Author of fugitive, mutable existences, from love of variety, multiplicity and development, however transitory these several existences may be. If we rest in such views of God, our confidence must be faint. Can we believe that human nature was framed by such a Being for no higher spiritual development than we now witness on this planet? Is there not, in the very incompleteness and mysteriousness of man’s present existence, a proof that we do not as yet behold the end for which he is destined; that the infinite Father has revealed but a minute portion of His scheme of boundless mercy; that we may trust for infinitely richer manifestations than we have experienced of His exhaustless grace? But there is another reply to the sceptic, and to this I invite your particular attention. Our trust, you say, must be measured by what we see. Be it so. But take heed to see truly, and to understand what you do see. How rare is such exact and comprehensive perception. And yet without it, what presumption it is for us to undertake to judge the purpose of an infinite and ever-living God. Whatever creature we regard has actually infinite connections with the universe. It represents the everlasting past of which it is the effect. He then, who does not discern in the present the past and the future, who does not detect behind the seen the unseen, does not rightly understand it, and cannot pass judgment upon it. The surface of things, upon which your eye may fall, covers an infinite abyss. Are you sure, then, that you comprehend the human being, when you speak of him as subjected to the same law of change and dissolution, which all other earthly existences obey? Is there nothing profounder in his nature than that which you catch sight of by a casual glance? Are there within him no elements which betoken a permanent and enduring existence? Consider one fact only. Among all outward changes, is not every man conscious of his own identity, of his continuing to be the same, single, individual person? Is there not a unity in the soul, that distinguishes it from the dissoluble compounds of material nature? And further, is this person made up of mutable and transitory elements? On the contrary, who does not know that he has faculties to seize upon everlasting truth, and affections which aspire to reach an everlasting good? Have we not all of us the idea of right, of a Divine law older than time, and which can never be repealed? Has such a being as man then no signs in his nature of permanent existence? Is he to be commingled with the fugitive forms of the material world? Seeing, you see not. What is most worth seeing in man is hidden from your view. You know nothing of man truly, till you discern in him traces of an immutable and immortal nature, till you recognize somewhat allied to God in his reason, conscience, love and will. Talk not of your knowledge of men, picked up from the transient aspects of social life! It is not then to be inferred, from what we see, that God does not take an interest in the individual, and that He may not be trusted as designing great good for each particular person. In every human mind He sees powers kindred to His own--the elements of angelic glory and happiness. These bind the heavenly Father’s love indissolubly to every single soul. And these Divine elements authorize a trust utterly unlike that which springs from superficial views of man’s transitory existence.

II. What is the good for which, as individual persons, we may trust in God? One reply immediately offers itself. We may not, must not trust in Him for whatever good we may arbitrarily choose. Experience gives us no warrant to plan such a future for ourselves, as mere natural affections and passions may crave, and to confide in God’s parental love as pledged to indulge such desires. Human life is made up of blighted hopes and disappointed efforts, caused by such delusive confidence. We cannot look to God even for escape from severest suffering. The laws of the universe, though in general so beneficent in their operation, still bring fearful evil to the individual. For what then may we trust in God? I reply, that we may trust unhesitatingly, and without a moment’s wavering, that God desires the perfection of our nature, and that He will always afford such ways and means to this great end, as to His omniscience seem most in harmony with man’s moral freedom. There is but one true good for a spiritual being, and this is found in its perfection. Men are slow to see this truth; and yet it is the key to God’s providence, and to the mysteries of life. Now how can man be happy but according to the same law of growth in all his characteristic powers? Thus the enjoyment of the body is found to be dependent on and involved with the free, healthy and harmonious development--that is the perfection--of its organization. Impair, or derange any organ, and existence becomes agony. Much more does the happiness of the soul depend upon the free, healthy and harmonious unfolding of all its faculties. Now for this good we may trust in God with utter confidence. We may be assured that He is ready, willing, and anxious to confer it upon us; that He is always inviting and leading us towards it by His Providence, and by His Spirit, through all trials and vicissitudes, through all triumphs and blessings; and that unless our own will is utterly perverse, no power in the universe can deprive us of it. Such I say is the good for which we may confide in God, the only good for which we are authorized to trust in Him. The perfection of our nature--God promises nothing else or less. We cannot confide in Him for prosperity, do what we will for success; for often He disappoints the most strenuous labours, and suddenly prostrates the proudest power. We cannot confide in Him for health, friends, honour, outward repose. Not a single worldly blessing is pledged to us. And this is well. God’s outward gifts--mere shadows as they are of happiness--soon pass away; and their transitoriness reveals, by contrast the only true good. Reason and conscience, if we will but hear their voice, assure us that all outward elevation, separate from inward nobleness, is a vain show; that the most prosperous career, without growing health of soul, is but a prolonged disease, a fitful fever of desire and passion, and rather death than life; that there is no stability of power, no steadfast peace, but in immovable principles of right; that there is no true royalty but in the rule of our own spirits; no real freedom but in unbounded disinterested love; and no fulness of joy but in being alive to that infinite presence, majesty, goodness, in which we live and move and have our being. This good of perfection, if we will seek it, is as sure as God’s own being, Here I fix my confidence. When I look round me, I see nothing to trust in. On all sides are the surges of a restless ocean, and everywhere the traces of decay. But amidst this world of fugitive existences, abides one immortal nature. Let not the sceptic point me to the present low development of human nature, and ask me what promise I see there of that higher condition of the soul, for which I trust. Even were there no sufficient answer to this question, I should still trust. I must still believe that surely as there is a perfect God, perfection must be His end; and that, sooner or later, it must be impressed upon His highest work, the spirit of man. Then I must believe, that where He has given truly Divine powers, He must have given them for development. Human nature is indeed at present in a very imperfect stage of its development. But I do not, therefore, distrust that perfection is its end. We cannot begin with the end. We cannot argue that a being is not destined for a good, because he does not instantly reach it. The philosopher, whose discoveries now dazzle us, could not once discern between his right hand and his left. To him who has entered an interminable path, with impulses which are carrying him onward to perfection, of what importance is it where he first plants his step? The future is all his own. But you will point me to those who seem to be wanting in this spirit of progress, this impulse towards perfection, and who are sunk in sloth or guilt. And you will ask whether God’s purposes towards these are yet loving. I answer: Yes! They fail through no want of the kind designs of God. From the very nature of goodness, it cannot be forced upon any creature by the Creator; nor can it be passively received. What a sublime doctrine it is, that goodness cherished now is eternal life already entered on! Thus have I spoken of religious trust, in its principle and its end. I have time to suggest but one motive for holding fast this confidence as a fountain of spiritual strength. We talk of our weakness. We lack energy, we say, to be in life what in hope we desire. But this very weakness comes from want of trust. What invigorates you to seek other forms of good? You believe them to be really within your reach. What is the soul of all great enterprises? It is the confidence that they may be achieved. To confide in a high power is to partake of that power. It has often been observed, that the strength of an army is more than doubled by confidence in its chief. Confide, only confide, and you will be strong. (W. E. Channing.)

Christly trust

First: Man is a trusting being. Trusting is at once the grand necessity and leading tendency of his existence. Secondly: His trust determines the character and destiny of his being. Trusting wrong objects or right objects for wrong purposes, is at once sinful and ruinous. On the other hand, trusting rightly in the living God is at once a holy and a happy state of being. Two remarks are suggested in relation to this Christly trust.

I. It forms a distinct community amongst men. The apostle speaks here as” those that believe.” All men believe. Men are naturally credulous.

1. There are some who believe in a dead God--an idol, a substance, a force, an abstraction. Most men have a dead God--a God whose presence, whose inspection, whose claims they do not recognize or feel.

2. There are others who believe in a “living God.” To them He is the life of all lives, the force of all forces, the spirit of all beauty, the fountain of all joy. With these the apostle includes himself, and to these he refers when he says, “Those that believe.”

II. It secures the special salvation of the good. The living God is the Saviour, or Preserver of all. He saves all from diseases, trials, death, damnation, up to a certain time in their history. All that they have on earth which go to make their existence tolerable and pleasant He has saved for them. But of those that believe He is specially a Saviour, He saves them--

1. From the dominion of moral evil

2. From the torments of sinful passions--remorse, malice, jealousy, envy, fear.

3. From the curse of a wicked life. What a salvation is this! Christly trust gives to the human race a community of morally saved men. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Who Is the Saviour of all men.--

The first Sunday after Epiphany

Whether, then, we take the words “the living God” in our text to apply to Christ Himself, or to the Father acting by Christ, it is equally asserted that Christ is the Saviour of all men: that the salvation which He wrought is, in and of itself, co-extensive with the race of man. What He did, He did for, and in the stead of, all men. If we wish to corroborate this by further Scripture proof, we have it in abundance. I will take but three of the plainest passages. St. John in his first Epistle, 1 John 2:1-2. St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:14. In Romans 5:10 he goes further into the same truth. See also 1 Corinthians 15:22. Adam, when he came fresh from the hands of God, was the head and root of man kind. He was mankind. She who was to be a helpmeet for him was not created a separate being, but was taken out of him. The words spoken of him apply to the whole human race. The responsibility of the whole race rested upon him. When he became disobedient, all fell. Figure to yourselves--and it is very easy to do so, from the many analogies which nature furnishes--this constitution of all mankind in Adam: for it is the very best of all exponents of the nature of Christ’s standing in our flesh, and Christ’s work in our flesh: with this great difference indeed, inherent in the very nature of the case, that the one work in its process and result is purely physical, the other spiritual as well. The race, in its natural constitution in Adam, i.e., as each member of it is born into the world and lives in the world naturally, is alien from and guilty before God: has lost the power of pleasing God: cannot work out its own salvation in or by any one of its members; all being involved in the same universal ruin. “In Adam all die.” Now that rescue must not, cannot in God’s arrangements, come from without. It must come upon mankind from within. God’s law respecting us is, that all amendment, all purifying, all renewal, should spring from among, and take into itself and penetrate by its influence, the inner faculties and powers wherewith He has endowed our nature. We know that our redemption was effected by the eternal Son of God becoming incarnate in our flesh. Now suppose for a moment that He, the Son of God, had become an individual personal man, bounded by His own responsibilities, His own capacities, His own past, and present, and future. If He had thus become a personal man, not one of His acts would have had any more reference to you or me than the acts of Abraham, or David, or St. Paul, or St. Peter have. He might have set us an example ever so bright; might have undergone sufferings ever so bitter; might have won a triumph ever so glorious; and we should merely have stood and looked on from without. No redemption, no renovation of our nature could by any possibility have been made. And He, thus being the Divine Son of God, and having become the Son of man, was no longer an individual man, bounded by the narrow lines and limits of His own personality, but was and is God manifest in the flesh; a sound and righteous Head of our whole nature, just as Adam was its first and sinful head. Hence it is, that whatever He does, has so large a significance. Hence, that when He fulfils the law, His righteousness is accepted as ours. He did nothing, if He did not the whole. He redeemed none, if He redeemed not all. If there existed on earth one son or daughter of Adam not redeemed by Christ, then He, who had taken it upon Him to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, had not accomplished His work, and had died in vain. And let us see what this universality of redemption implies, as regards the sons of men themselves. It enables the preacher of good tidings to come to every son and daughter of Adam, every out cast and degraded one of our race, and at once to lay before them Christ as theirs, if they will believe on Him. It is the key, and the only key, to the fact of justification by faith. “Believe, and thou shalt be saved.” Why? Believe in a Man who died and rose again, and thou shalt be saved? Now this at once brings us to the second part of our text. In the broad sense on which we have hitherto been insisting, Christ is the Saviour of all men: of the whole of mankind. All have an equal part and right in Christ. And on this foundation fact, the whole mission work of the gospel is founded. We are to go into all the world, and we are to pro claim the glad tidings to every creature. That redemption by Christ, which is as wide as the earth, as free as the air, as universal as humanity, is no mere physical amendment which has passed on our whole race unconsciously: but it is a glorious provision for spiritual amendment, able to take up and to bless and to change and to renovate man’s spiritual part, his highest thoughts, his noblest aspirings, his best affections. And these are not taken up, are not blest, are not renovated, except by the power of persuasion, and the bending of the human will, and the soft promptings of love, and the living drawings of desire. (Dean Alford.)

The Christ-likeness of God

In several texts God is called our Saviour. God, then, is to us what Christ is. God Himself, then, is essentially Christlike. He must have in Himself some Christ-likeness, for He is, as Christ, our Saviour. Let the energy of these two truths once enter into a man’s heart--the truth that in everything we have to do with the living God, and the truth that our God is the Christlike One, and they are enough to revolutionize a man’s life.

I. Our hope is set on the living God. This is a familiar Biblical phrase. This word, the living God, had not become an echo of a vanishing faith to the Psalmist, longing for the communion of the temple, who uttered Israel’s national consciousness in this prayer: “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” It was a word intense with faith. A professor of chemistry, with whom sometime since I was talking about nature, and what it really is, said to me, thoughtfully: “The order of nature is God’s personal conduct of His universe.” It is not with a dead nature, or an impersonal order of laws, but with the living God in His personal and most Christian conduct of the universe, that we living souls have to do here and hereafter.

I. Our hope is set on the living God, our Saviour. It is a principle of far-reaching sweep and reconstructive power in theology, to think of our God above all as most Christlike in His inmost being and nature. I once saw in the city of Nurnberg, I think it was, a religious picture, in which God the Father was represented in heaven as shooting down arrows upon the ungodly, and midway between heaven and earth Christ, the Mediator, was depicted as reaching forth and catching those arrows, and breaking them as they fell. The painting was true to methods of conceiving Christ’s work of atonement into which faith had fallen from the simplicity of the Bible; but it should not be called a Christian picture. “God, our Saviour,” said apostles who had seen God revealed in Christ; and Jesus Himself once said: “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” It is one thing to obtain from the Scriptures some adequate doctrine of the divinity of Christ. But it is another thing to have God through Christ brought as a living and inspiring presence into direct contact with all our plans and work and happiness in life. In sincere acceptance of Jesus’ word that He knew the Father, and came from God, let us read the gospels for the purpose of learning what God Himself is towards us in our daily lives; how our world appears in the pure eye of God; how He thinks of us, and is interested in what we may be doing, suffering, or achieving. And He who opens His mouth, and teaches the multitude, utters God’s heart to us upon that mountain-side. This is God’s own blessedness showing itself to the world. Such is God, blessing with His own blessedness the virtue which is like His own goodness. Yes, but as Jesus, in His own speech and person, realizes God before us, how can we help becoming conscious of our distance of soul from perfection so Divine? He speaks for God. So God is towards man; this word is from the bosom of the Father; there is on earth Divine forgiveness of sin. But the fear of death is here in this world of sepulchres. We might love to love were it not for death. The worst thing about our life here is, that the more we fit our hearts for the highest happiness of friendships, the more we fit ourselves, also, for sorrow: love is itself the short prelude so often to a long mourning. What does God think of this? What can God in heaven think of us in our bitter mortality? Follow again this Jesus who says He knows--what will He show God’s heart to be towards human suffering and death? Lord, show us in this respect the Father, and it sufficeth us. There, coming slowly out of the gate of the city, is a procession of much people. We do not need to be told their errand; often we have followed with those who go to the grave. The Christ who says He knows what God our Father is and thinks, meets them who are carrying to his burial the only son of a widow. It is all there, the whole story of man and woman’s grief. The Christ sees it all; and more than all which disciples see;--He looks on through the years, and beholds death’s broad harvests, and the generations of men passing each from earth in pain and tears; the whole history of death through the ages He bears upon the knowledge of His heart. What will God do with death? “And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came nigh and touched the bier: and the bearers stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” It was not a miracle, but only an illustration beforehand of the larger law of life. While the widow wept, while the sisters of His friend Lazarus could not be comforted, Jesus knew that life is the rule in God’s great universe, and death the exception. Yes, this is a glad gospel from the bosom of the Eternal. This earth is full of human cruelty and oppressions. Let us go, then, once more with this Jesus into the city, and see what He will do with the Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. In the world from which He says He came, and into which He declares He is going soon--for a little while to be unseen by His own friends--in that world will He suffer these men to be? “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites;--How shall ye escape the judgment of Gehenna?” It is the same Christ who is speaking--He whom we heard saying, Blessed, and in words which seemed to be a song from the heart of His own life--He who went weeping with the sisters at Bethany--who once sent that procession of mourners back in triumph and joy to the city. It is He who now stands before those extortioners and hypocrites, and says in God’s name: “Woe unto you!” It is enough. The face of God is set against them that do evil. No lie shall enter the gates of that city of the many homes. Yes--but again our human thoughts turn this bright hope into anxiety. These men may not have known. We would go into the city and save all. We would let none go until we had done all that love could do; we would not suffer any man to be lost if love could ever find him? How, then, does Jesus show us what God is towards these lost ones? Listen; He sees a shepherd going forth in the storm over the bleak mountain-side, seeking for the one lost sheep; and this Wonder of divinity with man--He who came from God and knows--says, Such is God; “Even so it is not the will of your Father in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” This is the picture of the heart of God drawn by Christ’s own hand--the shepherd seeking the one lost sheep. Two consequences of these truths remain to be urged. God Himself is to be seen through Christ, and Christ is to be studied through all that is best and worthiest in the disciples’ lives. Therefore through human hearts also which reflect in any wise Christ’s spirit, we may seek to realize what God is. God is what they would be, only infinitely better; His perfection is like man’s, only infinitely transcending it. Let us be very bold in this living way of access to God. (Newman Smyth, D. D.)

Jesus the Saviour of all men

St. Paul calls Him “the Saviour of all men”! Are all men, then, His people? Are not multitudes His enemies? Which witness shall I believe--the apostle, or the angel? Both of them! They do not gainsay each other. When you tell me that Dr. D. is the physician of this Poor-law District, you do not mean that he heals all the poor residing within his district, but only that he is appointed to heal them. His commission includes them all. Some may neglect to come to him, and others may prefer another doctor; but, if they will, they all may come to him, and have the benefit of his skill. In the same sense “Jesus is the Saviour of all men.” He is appointed to save all men--“Neither is there salvation in any other”! (J. J. Wray.)

Trusting in God

During the burning of a mill in our town there was a strong threatening of a large conflagration. People even two blocks off began to pack their household treasures. From many blocks around the coals from the flaming building were scattered over the white snow. From my window the scene was truly magnificent. The wild, hot flames soaring aloft, the burning elevator looking as if suspended in the heavens, the countless millions of sparks ascending, the sway and surge of this terrible power of fire. It seemed to me that a row of cottages within my sight must soon be swallowed up too, and as I thought of an elderly friend-helpless in her bed--I wrapped myself up warmly, and went out in the night to her. She was white and trembling with excitement, for the fire was only two buildings distant, and her room was light as day, illumined by the flames. “I was just wondering whether it was best to get her up upon her chair,” said the girl to me. “No, don’t,” I said, “I do not believe there is any danger, and if there is, she shall not suffer.” “Don’t you believe there is any danger?” asked the invalid as I reached her bedside. “No, I do not, unless the wind should change. Just lie still and don’t worry. If the next house should catch fire we will come for you the first thing.” She accepted our word and kept her bed, thus escaping a cold; and morning found her all right. I wonder, then, why we could not accept our loving, helpful Father’s word as unquestioningly as she did the word of a mortal. Why will we persist in borrowing trouble, when He has promised “As thy day so shall thy strength be”? Why do we always assert proudly, yet humbly, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust”? (E. Gilmore.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Timothy 4:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

For to this end we labor and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe.

Of the living God ... The Christian hope contrasted starkly with the hope of the pagan world which was set upon dead idols.

Who is the Saviour of all men ... "This is not universalism. The key is in the words, `specially of them that believe.'"[23] It is a fact, of course, that God is able and willing to save all men, and that all who are ever saved will be saved by him; and it is in this sense that "he is the Saviour of all men." As Lenski said, "We know why so many are not saved (Matthew 23:37)."[24]

[23] Ronald A. Ward, op. cit., p. 73.

[24] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 639.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For therefore we both labour,.... Not in the word and doctrine, though they did; nor in the exercise of internal godliness, though there is a work in faith, and a labour in love; nor with their own hands, at their trades and business, to support themselves, and others; but by enduring hardships and afflictions, as stripes, imprisonment, weariness, pain, watchings, fastings, hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness; see 2 Corinthians 11:23.

And suffer reproach; with patience and cheerfulness. The Alexandrian copy, and another manuscript, read, "we strive"; or contend even to an agony, combating with sin, Satan, and the world, with profane men, and with false teachers; and to all this they were animated by the promises made to godliness; and therefore they showed it by their practices, or rather by their sufferings, that they believed it to be a true and faithful saying; and which is further conferred by what follows:

because we trust in the living God; for the accomplishment of the said promises, who has power, and therefore can, and is faithful, and therefore will, make good what he has promised; and since it is life he has promised, faith is the more encouraged to trust in him, since he is the living God, in opposition to, and distinction from, lifeless idols; he has life in himself, essentially, originally, and independently, and is the author and giver of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal, unto others. Wherefore there is good reason to trust in him for the fulfilling of the promises of the present and future life, made unto godliness.

Who is the Saviour of all men; in a providential way, giving them being and breath, upholding them in their beings, preserving their lives, and indulging them with the blessings and mercies of life; for that he is the Saviour of all men, with a spiritual and everlasting salvation, is not true in fact.

Specially of those that believe; whom though he saves with an eternal salvation; yet not of this, but of a temporal salvation, are the words to be understood: or as there is a general providence, which attends all mankind, there is a special one which relates to the elect of God; these are regarded in Providence, and are particularly saved and preserved before conversion, in order to be called; and after conversion, after they are brought to believe in Christ, they are preserved from many enemies, and are delivered out of many afflictions and temptations; and are the peculiar care and darlings of providence, being to God as the apple of his eye: and there is a great deal of reason to believe this, for if he is the Saviour of all men, then much more of them who are of more worth, value, and esteem with him, than all the world beside; and if they are saved by him with the greater salvation, then much more with the less; and if he the common Saviour of all men, and especially of saints, whom he saves both ways, then there is great reason to trust in him for the fulfilment of the promises of life, temporal and eternal, made to godliness, and godly persons. This epithet of God seems to be taken out of Psalm 17:7 where he is called מושיע חוסים, "the Saviour of them that trust", or believe.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

thereforeGreek, “with a view to this.” The reason why “we both (‹both‘ is omitted in the oldest manuscripts) labor (endure hardship) and suffer reproach (some oldest manuscripts read ‹strive‘) is because we have rested, and do rest our hope, on the living (and therefore, life-giving, 1 Timothy 4:8) God.”

Saviour — even in this life (1 Timothy 4:8).

specially of those that believe — Their “labor and reproach” are not inconsistent with their having from the living God, their Savior, even the present life (Mark 10:30, “a hundred fold now in this time … with persecutions”), much more the life to come. If God is in a sense “Savior” of unbelievers (1 Timothy 2:4, that is, is willing to be so everlastingly, and is temporally here their Preserver and Benefactor), much more of believers. He is the Savior of all men potentially (1 Timothy 1:15); of believers alone effectually.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

To this end (εις τουτοeis touto). The godliness (ευσεβειαeusebeia) of 1 Timothy 4:8. See 2 Corinthians 6:10 as Paul‘s own commentary.

We labour (κοπιωμενkopiōmen Colossians 1:29) and strive (και αγωνιζομεταkai agōnizometha Colossians 1:29). Both Pauline words.

Because we have set our hope (οτι ελπικαμενhoti elpikamen). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζωelpizō (Romans 15:12).

Saviour of all men (σωτηρ παντων αντρωπωνsōtēr pantōn anthrōpōn). See note on 1 Timothy 1:1 for σωτηρsōtēr applied to God as here. Not that all men “are saved” in the full sense, but God gives life (1 Timothy 6:13) to all (Acts 17:28).

Specially of them that believe (μαλιστα πιστωνmalista pistōn). Making a distinction in the kinds of salvation meant. “While God is potentially Saviour of all, He is actually Saviour of the πιστοιpistoi ” (White). So Jesus is termed “Saviour of the World” (John 4:42). Cf. Galatians 6:10.

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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Therefore ( εἰς τοῦτο )

More correctly, to this end; or with a view to this.

We labor and strive ( κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα )

Both Pauline words. See on Colossians 1:29, where the two are found together as here. Also on κόπου labor 1 Thessalonians 1:3, and κοπιῶντας , and laboring 1 Thessalonians 5:12. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:17, and 2 Timothy 2:6. Both words denote strenuous and painful effort. The καὶ ; has an ascensive force: “we labor, yea struggle.”

We trust in ( ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ )

Better, have set our hope on. The verb with ἐπὶ in Pastorals, in Paul, Romans 15:12, a citation, and in 1 Peter 1:13.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Therefore — Animated by this promise.

We both labour and suffer reproach — We regard neither pleasure, ease, nor honour.

Because we trust — For this very thing the world will hate us.

In the living God — Who will give us the life he has promised.

Who is the Saviour of all men — Preserving them in this life, and willing to save them eternally.

But especially — In a more eminent manner.

Of them that believe — And so are saved everlastingly.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Who is the Savior of all men; inasmuch as he offers salvation to all.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https: 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10For in this we both labor and suffer reproaches This is an anticipation by which he solves that question, “Are not believers the most miserable of all men, because they are oppressed by tribulations of every kind?” In order to show, therefore, that their condition must not be judged from outward appearance, he distinguishes them from others, first in the cause, and next in the result. Hence it follows, that they lose nothing of the promises which he has mentioned, when they are tried by adversity. The sum is, that believers are not miserable in afflictions, because a good conscience supports them, and a blessed and joyful end awaits them.

Now, since the happiness of the present life consists chiefly of two parts, honor and conveniences, he contrasts them within two evils, toils and reproach, meaning by the former words, inconveniences and annoyances of every kind, such as poverty, cold, nakedness, hunger, banishments, spoliations, imprisonments, scourgings, and other persecutions.

We have hope fixed on the living God This consolation refers to the cause; for so far are we from being miserable, when we suffer on account of righteousness, that it is rather a just ground of thanksgiving. Besides, our afflictions are accompanied by hope in the living God, and, what is more, hope may be regarded as the foundation; but it never maketh ashamed, (Romans 5:5,) and therefore everything that happens to the godly ought to be reckoned a gain.

Who is the Savior (76) This is the second consolation, though it depends on the former; for the deliverance of which he speaks may be viewed as the fruit of hope. To make this more clear, it ought to be understood that this is an argument drawn from the less to the greater; for the word σωτὴρ (77) is here a general term, and denotes one who defends and preserves. He means that the kindness of God extends to all men. And if there is no man who does not feel the goodness of God towards him, and who is not a partaker of it, how much more shall it be experienced by the godly, who hope in him? Will he not take peculiar care in them? Will he not more freely pour out his bounty on them? In a word, will he not, in every respect, keep them safe to the end?

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Ver. 10. For therefore] Because godliness hath so much happiness laid up in the promises, 1 Timothy 4:8, and there is so much certainty of the performance of those promises, therefore we both do and suffer, 1 Corinthians 15:58. Finis edulcat media. The end sweetens the journey.

Who is the Saviour of all men] Not of eternal preservation, but of temporal reservation. For every man should die the same day he is born, the wages of death should be paid him presently; but Christ begs wicked men’s lives for a season, saith one. Sin hath hurled confusion over the world, brought a vanity on the creature. And had not Christ undertaken the shattered condition of the world to uphold it, it had fallen about Adam’s ears, saith another divine:

Specially of those that believe] Who therefore are in a special manner bound to observe and obey him. Among the Romans they that were saved were wont to crown him that saved them, and to honour him as a father all their days. σεβεται δε τουτον ως πατερα, Polyb. vi. We must also set the crown upon Christ’s head, Song of Solomon 3:11, and obey this everlasting Father, Isaiah 9:6.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 4:10

I. Whether we take the words, "the living God," in our text to apply to Christ Himself, or to the Father acting by Christ, it is equally asserted that Christ is the Saviour of all men, that the salvation which He wrought is, in and of itself, co-extensive with the race of man. What He did, He did for, or in the stead of, all men. Christ, being the Divine Son of God, and having become the Son of man, was no longer an individual man, bounded by the narrow lines and limits of His own personality, but was and is God manifest in the flesh: a sound and righteous Head of our whole nature, just as Adam was its first and sinful head. Hence it is that, whatever He does, has so large a significance. Hence that, when He fulfils the law, His righteousness is accepted as ours. From the vicarious work and sacrifice of the Redeemer, consequences not only possible, but actual, flow forth to every member of our common race, in virtue of that common membership, in virtue of their physical union with Christ in their common humanity. Whether these consequences will be to them an advantage or a disadvantage, a gain or a loss, must, from the very constitution of our nature, both physical and spiritual, depend on further considerations, involving the exercise of their own spiritual faculties and capacities. "Christ is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."

II. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." He is the Saviour of all men, in that He included them all in that nature which He took on Him, and bore the whole world's sin, and made a way for all to God. He is specially the Saviour of them that believe, in that in their case only does this His salvation become actual and come to its ripeness and perfection; in them only does His Spirit dwell; they only are changed into His image; they only shall be with Him and behold His glory where He is and be perfectly like Him, seeing Him as He is.

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. vi., p. 108.

References: 1 Timothy 4:10.—R. W. Dale, Discourses on Special Occasions, p. 121; W. C. E. Newbolt, Counsels of Faith and Practice, p. 88; J. T. Stannard, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 136. 1 Timothy 4:12.—J. Thain Davidson, Sure to Succeed, p. 207; R. Tuck, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 224; Ibid., vol. xxxii., p. 18. 1 Timothy 4:13.—C. Babington, Church of England Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 20; W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 107.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Timothy 4:10. Who is the Saviour of all men, &c.— As he is the Preserver of all men (see Job 7:20.), and as he offers salvation to all men: but he is especially the Saviour of the faithful, as he extends to them the noblest and most important deliverance; reserving for them the most invaluable blessings of a future state, and guiding them safely to it through all the dangers of this life. Those who enjoy the advantages of the Christian revelation, in the purity of it, may certainly with equal diligence excel others in knowledge, holiness, and virtue; and, consequently, may be qualified and prepared for higher felicity, or a more exalted station: and may we not hence form a notion of the Christian heaven,—namely, as a more exalted state of happiness, in proportion to the superior knowledge, piety, holiness, and virtue of a Christian?

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https: 1801-1803.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Timothy 4:10. εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὀνειδιζόμεθα κ. τ. λ.] The particle γάρ shows that this verse is to serve as a reason or confirmation of the preceding thought that godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of this and the future life. εἰς τοῦτο is by expositors either referred directly to this thought (de Wette, van Oosterzee), or is joined with the ὅτι following (Wiesinger); in the latter case the ἠλπίκαμεν points only to the thought in 1 Timothy 4:8. The former construction deserves the preference, not only because it is more natural to refer the τοῦτο to the thought of 1 Timothy 4:8 so purposely confirmed by 1 Timothy 4:9; and also because εἰς τοῦτο cannot be taken as equivalent to διὰ τοῦτο (by which Theodoret paraphrases it), id circo (Beza). εἰς always points to a goal (and not to the reason of something). ἠλπικέναι, however, as an already existing condition, cannot be regarded as the goal to which the κοπιᾶν is directed; hence Luther’s translation: “to this end we labour also … that we … have hoped,” cannot be justified. The meaning therefore is: In regard to this, that godliness has promise, viz. in order that this promise may be fulfilled in us, we labour.

With the Rec. καὶ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὀνειδιζόμεθα, καὶκαί is either equivalent to “both … and,” or the first καί is equivalent to “yea also,” and the second καί is simply “and.” In the former case the two ideas κοπιᾶν and ὀνειδίζεσθαι are more widely separated; in the latter, they are more closely connected. The second view seems to be more natural. There is very weighty authority for the reading: κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα, which also gives a thoroughly appropriate meaning; but still the Rec., for which, too, almost all expositors (de Wette, Wiesinger, Reiche, van Oosterzee, Hofmann, and others) have decided, might be preferred. The change of ὀνειδιζόμεθα into ἀγωνιζόμεθα may be easily explained from the following facts, that in Colossians 1:29 κοπιᾶν is joined with ἀγωνίζεσθαι, that ὀνειδίζειν does not occur elsewhere in Paul (except at Romans 15:3 in an O. T. quotation), that the passive ὀνειδιζόμεθα does not seem suitable, whereas ἀγωνιζόμεθα agrees well with the figure in 1 Timothy 4:8. On the other hand, the change of ἀγωνιζόμεθα into ὀνειδιζόμεθα is scarcely explicable. The plural κοπιῶμεν is not to be limited to the apostle, or to him and Timothy; it expresses the general Christian consciousness. The verb, often joined with another verb which has in it the idea of active exertion (1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 1:29), does not denote simple labour, but labour with trouble and suffering: “to toil and moil” (Heydenreich); καὶ ὀνειδιζόμεθα again points to the reproach which the Christian bears from the world. ὀνειδιζόμεθα is a “concise expression for we endure to be slandered” (Wiesinger).

ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ θεῷ ζῶντι] If εἰς τοῦτο refers to what precedes, ὅτι is equivalent to “because;” the meaning in that case is: in regard to the promise given to εὐσέβεια, we take trouble and reproach upon ourselves, because we have set our hope on the living God, and are certain, therefore, that that promise does not remain unfulfilled. ὅτι refers to both the preceding verbs, and does not merely stand “in close connection with the latter,” as van Oosterzee without reason thinks. The perfect ἠλπίκαμεν as here: 1 Corinthians 15:19; 2 Corinthians 1:10.

God is here called the living God, inasmuch as He fulfils what He has promised.

ἐλπίζειν is construed with ἐπί and the dative, because the living God is regarded as the ground on which the hope rests. The construction is only found here at 1 Timothy 6:17, and at Romans 15:12 in an O. T. quotation. Elsewhere ἐλπίζειν is construed with ἐν, or εἰς, or ἐπί and the accusative.

The relative clause ὅς ἐστι σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, μάλιστα πιστῶν serves as a seal of the hope grounded in God. Since God is the σωτήρ, this hope, too, cannot be vain; de Wette is wrong, therefore, in asserting that this clause is “out of all keeping.”

The first words are explained by 1 Timothy 2:4 : ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι. By μάλιστα πιστῶν it is indicated that the will of God unto salvation is realized only in the case of believers. ΄άλιστα does not stand here “unsuitably” (de Wette); it rather gives suitable expression to the thought that God is and continues to be the σωτήρ for all, whether they desire σωτηρία or not; but in the proper and special sense the σωτηρία is only for believers who really desire it.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Timothy 4:10. εἰς τοῦτο, it is with a view to this, that) on this account, for this end, with this hope.— καὶ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὁνειδιζόμεθα, we both labour and suffer reproach) despising the advantages and aids (safeguards against suffering) of this life: ὀνειδιζόμεθα, in the Middle voice [we suffer ourselves to be reproached].— ἠλπίκαμεν, we have hoped) we have placed (rested) our hope, viz. for the future, despising present things.— ζῶντι, living) who will also give life to us, 1 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:18.— πάντων ἀνθρώπων, μάλιστα πιστῶν, of all men, especially of those that believe) Paul shows that he, and men like him, hope for a double salvation from God: salvation [or safety] in this life, for God saves [or else preserves] all men (nay, even He wishes all men to have salvation for ever): as also, what is of greater consequence, in the life that is to come, for He especially saves [or preserves] them that believe, who even in this life also experience greater protection, on account of their greater temptation.— μάλιστα, most of all) There lies hid beneath this word the strength of the argument from the less to the greater.(35)

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

If we did not believe this as a faithful saying, that godliness is profitable for all things, and trust in God, who liveth for ever, to see to the fulfilling of it, to what purpose should

we labour and suffer reproach as we do; labouring in the work of God, suffering reproach in the cause of God, and for living godly lives, worshipping God according to his will, and denying ourselves in sensual satisfactions and sensible enjoyments, that we might fulfil the law of Christ?

Objection. But, will some say: how then is godliness profitable for all things, how doth the faithfulness of the promises for this life annexed to godliness appear, if those that profess it must labour and suffer reproach?

Solution. Labour for God is a reward to itself, our honour, not our burden, his service is perfect freedom: the promises of this life, annexed to godliness, are not promises of sensual rest and ease, but of inward peace, satisfaction, and support of other things, only with a reserve to the Divine wisdom and judgment, so far forth as our heavenly Father shall see it fit for his glory and our good; yet they are not vain, for God,

who is the Saviour, that is, the Preserver,

of all men, the Preserver of man and beast, as the psalmist speaketh, is in a more especial manner the Saviour

of those that believe, Psalms 33:18,19. This seemeth rather to be the sense of the text, than to understand it of eternal salvation, for so God is not the actual Saviour of all; besides that the text seemeth to speak of a work proper to the Father, rather than to the Son.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Saviour of all men; as preserving all men, and having opened for them a way of salvation, and commanded that it be made known to them, and that they should be entreated to embrace it. 2 Corinthians 5:20.

Especially of those that believe; for to them alone does the perfect and everlasting salvation which he has provided for and offered to all men become actual.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

10. εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κ.τ.λ. The whole verse is explanatory of the motive and the aim of the γυμνασία or discipline of the body, as of all earthly struggle.

κοπιῶμεν. κόπος means ‘wearying fatigue,’ and κοπιάω ordinarily means ‘to be weary of.’ The word carries special allusion here to the training for athletic contests, a sense which it frequently bears, as e.g. at Philippians 2:16. It is used in Romans 16:6; Romans 16:12; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11 of the daily work of an Apostle. The reading ἀγενιζόμεθα (see crit. note) is better supported than ὀνειδιζόμεθα of the received text; cp. Colossians 1:29 εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος, and also [2 Clem.] § 7 οὐ πάντες στεφανοῦνται, εἰ μὴ οἱ πολλὰ κοπιάσαντες καὶ καλῶς ἀγωνισάμενοι.

ἠλπίκαμεν. The perfect marks the continued ἐλπίς of the believer; we have set our hope. Cp. 1 Timothy 6:17 where ἐλπίζειν is again followed by ἐπί, with the dative, the preposition marking the ground of the hope (cp. Romans 15:12). See Hort on 1 Peter 1:13. For θεῷ ζῶντι see on 1 Timothy 3:15.

σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων. See note on 1 Timothy 1:1; the phrase is found in Wisdom of Solomon 16:7, διὰ σέ, τὸν πάντων σωτῆρα.

μάλιστα πιστῶν. μάλιστα is used just as at Galatians 6:10; Philippians 4:22, i.e. especially. There is, then, a special sense in which God is the Saviour of those who believe, as distinct from all men; it is only in those who believe that the Divine intention that all men should be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) can be completely fulfilled. For the same thoughts stated in the reverse order, see 1 John 2:2.

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"Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https: 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. And our acceptance of this value is clear for, therefore; that is, for the reason now to be given.

Labour and suffer reproach—Things far more serious than exercise. Namely, because.

The Saviour—Alford says: “So far as salvation stands in him, he is the Saviour of all men. And it is by virtue of this universality of salvation offered by God that we have rested our hopes on him.”

Specially of those that believe—Alford adds: “In these (that believe) alone does that salvation which God has provided become actual. He is the same Saviour, towards and of all: but these alone appropriate his salvation.”

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘For to this end we labour and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe.’

And what is the saying that is faithful? It is that with our hope set on the living God we labour and strive in His service, and put great effort into the things that He has commanded us to do, such as studying to show ourselves approved to God and praying without ceasing. And we do this because we want Him to work His ‘salvation’ in us, that is we want Him to work within us ‘love out of a pure heart, a good conscience and faith unfeigned’ (1 Timothy 1:5), because we know that our Saviour, the living God has this in store for us. It is that we set our heart on enjoying life, and indeed life more abundantly (1 Timothy 4:8; John 10:10). This was ‘the end’ of Paul’s ‘charge’ right from the start (1 Timothy 1:5). And this is what we must set our hope on.

For this is the purpose of the God Who is ‘the Saviour/Preserver (a regular meaning of the word in secular literature) of all men’, that is, Whose activity of preservation is going on in the world on behalf of all men (Matthew 5:45; Acts 17:26-29; Psalms 104:13-15; Psalms 145:9-10 a, 15-16), and Who is the general Preserver of men (Psalms 36:6). It was because He is ‘the Saviour/Preserver of all men’ that He first arranged for Adam and his family to escape from the full consequences of Adam’s sin. It was because He is the Saviour/Preserver of all men that He made His covenant with Noah for the preservation of the human race from flooding. It was because He is the Saviour and Preserver of all men that He has watched over history. And it is because He is the Saviour/Preserver of all men that He send His rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45)

But He is ‘especially’ so for those who believe, for those who believe are entering into the enjoyment of His present salvation in its fullness. For this contrast between God’s goodness revealed towards the whole world, in contrast with His special goodness revealed towards His people who recognise His Kingly Rule and testify of it to others, see Psalms 145:9-16. The point is that we cannot have our hearts set on God the Saviour, and fully benefit from the fact, unless we want Him to save us fully, and desire it with all our hearts. For His salvation does not just consist in ‘being saved’ so that we can have the confidence that we have been forgiven and are going to Heaven, it also consists of our being changed from glory into glory, even by the Lord, the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:18). It is so that we might be ‘made like Him, for we will see Him as He is’ (1 John 3:2). It is so that He might ‘work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13), a salvation that we have to work out with greatest care (Philippians 2:12). But we must notice that we do not labour and strive for this salvation, we rather labour and strive (as Paul did) on Christ’s behalf because this salvation is ours, a gift from the living God our Saviour (compare Ephesians 2:8-9). The salvation itself is God’s gift to us as, having been crucified with Christ, we allow Him to live out His life through us (Galatians 2:20). Its consequence is that we begin to live as the people of God because we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

The idea behind the word 'especially' is that towards His people He acts in an especial way. It no longer simply has in mind His general benevolence towards mankind, but has in mind His individual and personal activity on behalf those who are His.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https: 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

It is for godliness that the believer should strive and discipline himself or herself primarily (cf. 2 Peter 1:1-11). The reason for this is that we look forward to a genuine hope beyond the grave. That hope rests in the "living" God ( 1 Timothy 3:15) who is the "Savior of all man" ( 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 2:6). God is the Savior of all in the sense that He has provided a salvation that is available to all. He is the Savior of believers in a special sense since they are those who have accepted His provision of salvation. Salvation is sufficient for all but efficient only for those who believe. [Note: See Gary L. Schultz Jeremiah , "God"s Purposes in the Atonement for the Nonelect," Bibliotheca Sacra165:658 (April-June2008):145-63.]

Some strong Calvinists say that God is the Savior of all men only in the sense that He saves all people from temporary disasters. [Note: E.g, Hendriksen, pp154-56.] While it is true that God does this, Paul"s use of "Savior" has led most interpreters to conclude that he was describing God"s work of providing eternal salvation here as in 1 Timothy 2:4 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3).

"Paul advises his readers to concentrate on the basics: steady nourishment from the Word of God, pursuit of the godly life in the Spirit and the priority of mission." [Note: Towner, 1-2Timothy . . ., p108.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Timothy 4:10. For therefore. The latter word suggests a logical inference more strongly than the Greek; better, ‘to this end.’

Labour and suffer reproach. The first word involves ‘toil and trouble’ as well as simple work. Commonly such toil led to praise and reward. The Christian too often had nothing for it but reviling and reproach (1 Peter 4:14), and this experience had embodied itself in the ‘saying’ which had be-come proverbial (comp. Acts 14:22). The train of thought implied in the ‘for,’ is that the patient endurance of the Christian was a practical proof that the religion which he professed had for him the twofold promise of which the previous verse had spoken.

We trust. Here (as in Romans 15:12) the Authorised Version misses the force of the Greek. Better, ‘have hoped,’ or ‘fixed our hope.’ And this hope is not in a dogma or an abstraction, but in a living God, who is the ‘Saviour,’ in the lower sense of the word as ‘preserver,’ no less than in the higher, thus including the ‘life that now is,’ as well as ‘that which is to come.’ As in 1 Timothy 2:4, the purpose of God for a salvation which shall include all is assumed as an unquestionable truth, but those only who believe taste that salvation in the fulness of its power.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Timothy 4:10. γὰρ, as in the parallel 2 Timothy 2:11, introduces a statement in support of the judgment, πιστὸς λόγος.

εἰς τοῦτο: i.e., with a view to the obtaining the promised blessings of life. The best commentary on this is what St. Paul said in an earlier epistle, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα express St. Paul’s personal experience of what the profession of Christianity involved. It was then an almost universal experience, see Acts 14:22; but is not of necessity a concomitant of the exercising of oneself to godliness. The two words are similarly combined Colossians 1:29, εἰς καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος. κοπιᾶν is usually used by St. Paul of ministerial labours: his own, 1 Corinthians 15:10, Galatians 4:11, and those of others, Romans 16:12, 1 Corinthians 16:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Timothy 5:17; but this restriction is not necessary, nor would it be suitable here. See reff.

For ὀνειδιζόμεθα (var. lect.) cf. Matthew 5:11 = Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14.

ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν, κ. τ. λ.: This was at once an incentive to exertion, and thus correlative to ἐπαγγελία ζωῆς, and in itself a part of the thing promised, the ἐπαγγελία. A consciousness that we are in an harmonious personal relation with the living God lifts us into a sphere in which labour and striving have no power to distress us.

ἠλπίκαμεν: we have our hope set on (R.V.). The same use of the perfect of this verb, “expressing the continuance and permanence of the ἐλπίς” (Ell.), is found in the reff. In addition, ἐλπίζω is also followed by ἐπί with the dat. in Romans 15:12 (Isaiah 11:10) and 1 Timothy 6:17; by ἐπί with the acc. in 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Peter 1:13; by εἰς with an acc. in John 5:45, 2 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Peter 3:5; and by ἐν followed by the dat. in 1 Corinthians 15:19.

θεῷ ζῶντι: As indicated above, this is said in relation to ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς. To know the living God is life eternal (John 17:3).

ὅς ἐστιν σωτὴρ πάντων, κ. τ. λ.: Saviour of all ( τὸν πάντων σωτῆρα) occurs in Wisdom of Solomon 16:7. Cf. Saviour of the world, John 4:42.

The prima facie force of μάλιστα certainly is that all men share in some degree in that salvation which the πιστοί enjoy in the highest degree. Compare the force of μάλιστα in Acts 25:26, Galatians 6:10, Philippians 4:22, 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:17, 2 Timothy 4:13; Titus 1:10.

The statement is more unreservedly universalist in tone than chap. 1 Timothy 2:4 and Titus 2:11; and perhaps must be qualified by saying that while God is potentially Saviour of all, He is actually Saviour of the πιστοί. It is an argument a minori ad majus (as Bengel says); and the unqualified assertion is suitable. If all men can be saved, surely the πιστοί are saved, in whose number we are included. It is better to qualify the statement thus than, with Chrys. and Bengel, to give to σωτήρ a material sense of God’s relation to all men, as the God of nature; but a spiritual sense of His relation to them that believe, as the God of grace. See notes on ch. 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:4.

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Of all men, and especially of the faithful, who have received the grace of faith. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

“For it is for this we labor and strive”: “The life of godliness, which is so profitable for time and eternity, is the apostle’s goal” (Kent p. 158). “We”: This would include Timothy and Paul and other workers as well. “Labor”: “Work that points to the weariness and exhaustion which results from strenuous toil. It takes work to become more godly in attitude, character, and life” (Reese p. 177). Life of faithful service to God takes work (Romans 16:6; Romans 16:12; 1 Corinthians 16:16; Galatians 4:11; 1 Timothy 5:17; Revelation 2:3).

“And strive”: Denoting strenuous effort, to contend, struggle, from which we get our English word “agonize”. Godliness does not happen by accident and neither does God do all the work for us. Both of the above verbs are present tense. “The extent to which an athlete throws his whole being into striving for the prize in no way excels the extent to which Paul throws himself into the service of the Lord” (Reese pp. 177-178). Paul understands that salvation cannot be earned and yet he and Timothy continues to exert every effort in serving God. “Carries the picture of the athlete putting in the last ounce of his energy into the race in order victoriously to reach the goal. Paul and his companions had such a deep sense of the grandeur of the reward held out in the Gospel, that they counted no labor too heavy, no agony too severe, that led them gradually but surely to the expected goal” (Hiebert p. 83).

“Because we have fixed our hope on the living God”: This is why they work so hard. This verse “pictures the hope as resting on God as the only true foundation of hope. The perfect tense indicates that this hope has permanently been set on ‘the living God’” (p. 83). Paul’s confidence rests upon the right foundation! Since God is the source and giver of all life, God is also able to fulfill any promise He makes about “life”, either here or in the age to come.

“Who is the Savior of all men”: God is the Savior of all men in the sense that He desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), He patiently waits for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), and He gave His Son as a sacrifice for the sins that all men have committed (John 3:16). Other passages note that man must cooperate in this area to receive this salvation (Matthew 7:13-14; Matthew 7:21-23).

“Especially of believers”: The term “especially” means, chiefly, most of all, or particularly. God has made it possible for all men to be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15); yet this salvation is conditioned upon “faith” (Hebrews 11:6; Mark 16:15-16). All men receive God’s offer of salvation (Matthew 28:19), but only believers will enjoy that salvation. Some seek to argue that the “saving” of the passage has to do with God preserving the physical life of an individual. While it is true that God sends the rain on the just and unjust, the context of this passage is eternal life (4:8 “for the life to come”). Others have argued that this passage is teaching that God will eventually save everyone. Such a claim not only violates so many other passages (Matthew 7:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9), fails to note that God is not going to save all who claim to profess to Christ (Matthew 7:21-23), but also fails to explain the question, “If God is going to give all eternal life, then how is God going to especially save believers?” With such an interpretation in the end, unbelievers are saved just like believers.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https: 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

therefore = for (Greek. eis) this.

suffer reproach = are reviled. The texts read "strive", as in 1 Corinthians 9:25.

trust = have hoped.

in. App-104.

living God. See Acts 14:15.

Saviour. See 1 Timothy 1:1.

all men. When our first perents incurred the penalty of immediate judicial death, the race would have been extinguished, had not God interposed, before dealing with the culprits, with the promise of the Redeemer, and so suspending the execution of the sentence denounced.

men. App-123.

specially. Occurs in the N.T. twelve times. Rendered "specially", "especially "(nine); "most of all" (Acts 20:36); "chiefly" (Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:22. 2 Peter 2:10).

those that believe = the believing. App-150.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Therefore , [ eis (Greek #1519) touto (Greek #5124)] - 'with a view to this.' The reason why 'we both ("both" is omitted in 'Aleph (') A C Delta f, Vulgate) labour (amidst hardship) and suffer reproach (so C Delta G f g, Vulgate. But 'Aleph (') A read [agonizometha] (cf. Colossians 1:29) "strive"), is because we have rested, and do rest our hope [elpikamen epi], on the living (and therefore life-giving 1 Timothy 4:8) God.' [Ellicott, 'Elpizo, like pisteuoo (Greek #4100), with en (Greek #1722), expresses hope laid up in Christ: with eis (Greek #1519), directed to Christ: with epi (Greek #1909), leaning on, as upon a foundation: epi with accusative, mental direction with a view to reliance.']

Specially of those that believe. Their "labour and reproach" are not inconsistent with having from the living Specially of those that believe. Their "labour and reproach" are not inconsistent with having from the living God, their Saviour, even the present life, much more the life to come. If God is a "Saviour" even of unbelievers (1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:1-20 :e., is willing to be so everlastingly, and is temporally here their Preserver and Benefactor), much more of believers. So His people are to benefit all, but "specially" the brethren (Galatians 6:10). He who is the living, is also the loving God. He is the Saviour of all sufficiently and potentially (1 Timothy 1:15); of believers alone efficiently and effectually.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

That is why. Paul examines this in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10. Neither physical exercise, nor severe treatment of the body, nor animal sacrifice, nor the power of any idol - can make you happy, either here or in Eternity!!! Note that eternal life begins NOW, in this present world, for those who love God! Compare John 10:10.

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach.—And for this end—to obtain this glorious promise, this highest blessedness here, that endless life with God hereafter, to win this glorious promise—we Christian missionaries and teachers care for no toil, however painful—shrink from no shame, however agonising.

Because we trust in the living God.—More accurately translated, because we have our hope in the living God. And this is why we toil and endure shame. We know that the promise made will be fulfilled, because the God on whom—as on a sure foundation—our hopes rest, is a living God. “Living,” in strong contrast to those dumb and lifeless idols shrined in the well-known Ephesian temples.

Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.—These words, like the assertion of 1 Timothy 2:4, have been often pressed into the service of that school of kindly, but mistaken, interpreters, who ignore, or explain away, the plain doctrine of Holy Scripture which tells us there are those whose destruction from the presence of the Lord shall be everlasting, whose portion shall be the “second death” (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 21:8). These interpreters prefer to substitute in place of this terrible, but repeated declaration, their own perilous theories of universalism. Here the gracious words seem to affix a seal to the statement immediately preceding, which speaks of “the hope in the living God” as the source of all the labour and brave patience of the Lord’s true servants. The living God is also a loving God, the Saviour of all, if they would receive Him, and, undoubtedly, the Redeemer of those who accept His love and are faithful to His holy cause.

It must be borne in mind that there were many Hebrews still in every Christian congregation, many in every church, who still clung with passionate zeal to the old loved Hebrew thought, that Messiah’s work of salvation was limited to the chosen race. This and similar sayings were specially meant to set aside for ever these narrow and selfish conceptions of the Redeemer’s will; were intended to show these exclusive children of Israel that Christ’s work would stretch over a greater and a grander platform than ever Israel could fill; were designed to tell out to all the churches how indeed “it was a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel.” Still, with all these guarded considerations, which serve to warn us from entertaining any hopes of a universal redemption, such a saying as this seems to point to the blessed Atonement mystery as performing a work whose consequences reach far beyond the limits of human thought, or even of sober speculation.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 6:3-10; 11:23-27; 2 Timothy 2:9,10; 3:10-12; Hebrews 11:26; 13:13; 1 Peter 4:14,15
6:17; Psalms 37:40; 52:8; 84:12; 118:8; Isaiah 12:2; 50:10; Jeremiah 17:7; Daniel 3:28; Nahum 1:7; Matthew 27:43; Romans 15:12,13; 1 Peter 1:21
the living
the saviour
2:4,6; Psalms 36:6; 107:2,6-43; Isaiah 45:21,22; John 1:29; 3:15-17; 1 John 2:2; 4:14
John 5:24; 1 John 5:10-13

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Because of these 2 verses Paul and Timothy labor. Toiling to the point of exhaustion.

That is the result of seeking God in an exhaustive manner. We strive to labor for Him for we realize what He has done for us.

When I was in the Navy, we were getting ready for a very important operation. Electronically the ship was a mess. I was the only experienced technician - 18 new ones that couldn"t do anything came aboard. What they did do was wrong or caused more trouble than was present before they attempted to fix it. I worked for several weeks yery hard, long hours and then for 48 hours I worked with only eating breaks and a couple very, very short naps. I was exhausted. I fell asleep before my work was done. It took them literally 15 minutes to wake me up to finish. I could hear them, but couldn"t move or make a sound. My mind was functioning somewhat, but it could not or would not cause my body to function. (I had labored.)

"suffer reproach" This is suffering criticism or condemnation for things you are not guilty of. It is false accusation, it is suffering wrongly - not a pleasant experience, but Paul says that he and Timothy did this because they trust in God.

In this verse we have the picture of an athlete putting the last ounce of his energy into the race in order to be victor.

In races, especially long distance ones, as the runners near the finish line you can see them give that last spurt - you can see the anguish on their faces and the sweat on their foreheads.

This is what Paul did. His every fiber worked for his Lord and Savior.

When is the last time you worked that hard for God? Paul lived this way much of his life.

"because we trust in the living God" This is the reason for Paul"s labors and is the reason that we should, to put it bluntly, be working our fool heads off for God.

Christians are a lazy lot these days. Few will get involved in more than one service a week. Few will get involved in work days. Few get involved at all these days.

The thought of hard work is foreign to most of our teenagers today. I"m speaking of Christian teens. Some of our students where I taught felt that they had overworked if they got up in time for breakfast.

"who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe" Savior of all men seems to speak of the desire on Christ"s part for and preparation to save man.

1 John 2:2 says he died for all.

"specially of those that believe"

The "specially" groups are those which accept his work on Calvary.

There are a number of explanations for this verse.

Kent lists four and I would add a fifth.

Kent suggests:

1. Universalist Interpretation: All mankind will ultimately be saved.

2. Providential Interpretation: This thought takes a lesser view of the term Saviour and suggests that all mankind is saved via the rain and sun that God provides and that the believer receives even more blessing from this grace from God.

3. Potential-actual Interpretation: This is one of the more popular thoughts that says that the potential for salvation was provided by Christ, but that only those that believe receive the benefit thereof.

4. Temporal-eternal Interpretation: God gives preservation and deliverance in this life, but for those that believe this preservation carries forward into eternity.

He quotes Purdy on this position. "God is the Saviour of all men in that on a temporal basis he gives them life and strength, awakens within them high ideals, provides for their pleasure and sustenance, and graciously allows them to live for a time in the light of His countenance.

"God is specially the Savior of believers in that he has a special call for them, answers their prayers, and provides for their well-being, not only in this life, but also in the life which is to come." (Purdy, Warren E.; THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE "SAVIOR OF ALL MEN" IN 1 Timothy 4:10; Unpublished critical monograph, Grace Theological Seminary; 1954 , p. 48.)

A fifth option might run along the line that Christ paid for all sin as in ALL sin. Every man, woman and child, was purchased and placed in a position equal to that of Adam before he sinned.

Those that believe and accept that work then become believers and share in the full benefits of salvation.

Kent and MacArthur suggest that the adverb "specially" demands that the believer must enjoy the highest degree of what all enjoy. MacArthur adds a phrase of interest "All men will enjoy to some extent the same kind of salvation as believers enjoy.... The difference is one of degree, not kind." (THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY I TIMOTHY John MacArthur; Moody Press; Chicago; 1995; p 168)

Kent"s number four is his choice, but this does not really fit within the qualification of "The difference is one of degree, not kind." You can"t say that physical benefitting is the same as spiritual benefitting.

I personally view degree and kind both as necessary.

The lost must enjoy a lesser "degree" of the same kind of salvation. To say that the lost enjoy something physically, and the believer something physically but added spiritual does not seem to fit their own criteria.

I might point out that my fifth choice fits their stipulation for the adverb as well as fitting both degree and kind.

Now that we have that cleared up, let"s take a quick look at some application.

Phillips Brooks once said "The great purpose of life -- the shaping of character by truth."

Is this not what Paul is attempting to do in Timothy"s life? In the believers at Ephesus? In the believers at your church?

The truth of the Word ought to be shaping our character - our Christian life - if not then we are not allowing it to, or we are not close enough to it.

A Very Special Lord"s Prayer From Ray Heistand

If God Should Speak . . . A different look at The Lord"s Prayer

"Our Father which art in heaven....."


Don"t interrupt me. I"m praying.

---But you called me.

Called you? I didn"t call you. I"m praying. "Our Father which art in heaven....."

---There you did it again.

Did What?

---Called me. You said, "Our Father which art in heaven." Here I am.....What"s on your mind?

But I didn"t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord"s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting a duty done.

---All right. Go on.

"Hallowed be thy name....."

---Hold it. What do you mean by that?

By what?

---By "hallowed be thy name"?

It means.....Good grief, I don"t know what it means. How should I know? It"s just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?

---It means honored, holy, wonderful.

Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what "hallowed" meant before. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

--Do you really mean that?

Sure, why not?

---What are you doing about it?

Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.

---Have I got control of you?

Well, I go to church.

---That isn"t what I asked you. What about your bad temper? You"ve really got a problem there, you know. And then there"s the way you spend your money---all on yourself. And what about the kind of books you read?

Stop picking on me! I"m just as good as some of the rest of those people at the church.

---Excuse me. I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

---So could I.

I haven"t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.

---Good. Now we"re getting somewhere. We"ll work together, you and I. Some victories can truly be won. I"m proud of you.

Look, Lord, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. "Give us this day, our daily bread."

---You need to cut out the bread. You"re overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this, "Criticize me day"? Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.

---Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed, you know.

That"s what I"m trying to get across to you. You called me, and here I am. It"s too late to stop now. Keep praying, I"m interested in the next part of your prayer.....(pause). Well, go on.

I"m scared to.

---Scared? Of what?

I know what you"ll say.

---Try me and see.

"Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."

---What about Ann?

See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why Lord, she"s told lies about me, spread stories about my family. She never paid back the debt she owes me. I"ve sworn to get even with her!

---But your prayer? What about your prayer?

I didn"t mean it.

---Well, at least you"re honest. But it"s not much fun carrying that load of bitterness around inside, is it?

No. But I"ll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I got some plans for that neighbor. She"ll wish she had never moved into this neighborhood.

---You won"t feel any better. You"ll feel worse. Revenge isn"t sweet. Think of how unhappy you already are. But I can change all that.

You can? How?

---Forgive Ann. Then I"ll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Ann"s problem and not yours. You will have settled your heart.

Oh, you"re right. You always are. And more than I want to revenge Ann, I want to be right with you. Ann, I want to be right with you ..... (pause) ..... (sigh). All right. All right. I forgive her. Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She"s bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it. Anybody who goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it. Someway, somehow, show her the right way.

---There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?

Hmmmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don"t think I"ll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won"t be so tired from now on because I"m not getting enough rest.

---You"re not through with your prayer. Go on.

Oh, all right. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

---Good! Good! I"ll do that. Just don"t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

---Don"t turn on the TV when you know the laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be picked up. Also, about the time you spend coffeeing with your friends, if you can"t influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should re-think the value of those friendships. Another thing, your neighbors and friends shouldn"t be your standard for "keeping up". And please don"t use me for an escape hatch.

I don"t understand the last part.

---Sure you do. You"ve done it a lot of times. You get caught in a bad situation. You get into trouble and then you come running to me, "Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you I"ll never do it again." You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?

Yes and I"m ashamed, Lord. I really am.

---Which bargain are you remembering?

Well, there was the night that Bill was gone and the children and I were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof would go any minute and tornado warnings were out. I remember praying, "Oh God, if you spare us, I"ll never skip my devotions again."

---I protected you, but you didn"t keep your promise, did you?

I"m sorry, Lord, I really am. Up until now I thought that if I just prayed the Lord"s Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked. I didn"t expect anything to happen like it did.

---Go ahead and finish your prayer.

"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever."


---Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?

No, but I"d like to know. I want now to please you. I can see what a mess I"ve made of my life. And I can see how great it would be to really be one of your followers.

---You just answered the question.

I did?

---Yes. The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love me. And I see that happening between us. Now that some of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, well, there is no telling what we can do together.

Lord, let"s see what we can make of me, O.K.?

---Yes, let"s see....

I would like to close with a couple paragraphs from MacArthur.

"Pastors [I would include all believers personally] are often evaluated on the basis of the wrong criteria. Their effectiveness is frequently gauged by the size of their church, their building program, their popularity, their educational background, the number of books they have written, or their radio or TV exposure.

"While such things may have some significance, none of them are biblically valid criteria for assessing a man of god. The Puritan genius John Owen wrote, "A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more" (cited in I.D.E. Thomas, A PURITAN GOLDEN TREASURY [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977],192). (THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY I TIMOTHY John MacArthur; Moody Press; Chicago; 1995; pp. 157-158)

Godliness. The only way to find it is one step at a time as the somewhat lengthy illustration indicates. You free up a little of yourself, and He will fill it with a little of Himself! Sounds like a great deal to me.

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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.

Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:10". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https:

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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