1 timothy 4:10?

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Puritan Board Freshman
HI! I have a question about 1 Tim 4:10

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10) ESV

The part in question is the word used for Savior "sōtēr" σωτήρ. Obviously is not implying universalism. But seems word used can also be translated "preserver, sustainer". Would this be what Paul is seeking to convey? Speaking of God's common grace to everyone regardless. Not of redemption. Then Paul goes on to state that with believers Savior speaks also of redemption. Thoughts?

Also is God "theos" θεός here speaking of God the Father or Jesus the Son? I would think only Jesus would be described as being the Savior. That is unless Paul is speaking of God the Father being the preserver, sustainer of humanity as proposed above. Or is Paul making an argument for the divinity of Jesus?

Thoughts? Thank you!

For His Glory-


Staff member
I take this passage to be referencing the Father.

As to "Savior of all men"; I defer to what M. Henry has to say:

"God is the general Saviour of all men, as he has put them into a salvable state, but he is in a particular manner the Saviour of true believers; there is then a general and a special redemption."


Puritanboard Amanuensis
There is an issue with the translations "especially" and "people," but it might sidetrack the thread to go into it.

Passing from the translation to the interpretation, the thought of the apostle echoes Isaiah 43:11, "I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour." The point there is that there is no true saviour to be found anywhere else. So, for the apostle, the gospel proclaimed that God is the only Saviour of men. There is no man who is saved who is not saved by God. Those who had come to believe the gospel had set to their seal that this is true, and so they specially were bound to acknowledge it as a certain truth.

There is no reference to the redemption accomplished by Christ in the context. The truth that God is the Saviour of men is, obviously, a pre-condition to the important truth that He sent His Son to save men.

Whether this office of “Saviour” can be limited only to temporal benefits is doubtful because the apostle was speaking of the life of godliness which holds out a promise for the life that now is and of that which is to come, verse 8.
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