22 September 2021

I Timothy 2:1-7

There is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus. (v. 5)

Psalm 71:1-16


The key to this passage is the inclusiveness of God’s saving purpose for humanity. On that basis we are to pray for all people. The reference to rulers in verse 2 is striking, in that kings and emperors were not constitutional monarchs but absolute rulers and often brutal tyrants. Nevertheless we are urged to pray for them to govern for the good of all.

Verses 5 and 6 are also striking in their context. There were many religions in the ancient world with multiple deities. Jews and Christians alike stood apart from that. Here we have the uncompromising assertion that Jesus alone is the one who can unite us with God.

His death is described as a 'ransom'; we are brought to freedom by its means. Theologians have often argued in the past about who the ransom was paid to: to God? to the devil? But we should not press the language that far. When we use a phrase like ‘he paid the price for his mistake’, we mean only that the mistake was costly. Jesus’ death was a costly act of liberation.

In verse 7 is there an echo of the dispute reflected elsewhere in Paul’s letters about whether he was a genuine apostle?

To Ponder:

  • In what ways do you think of Jesus as a mediator between us and God?
  • What bearing does our passage have on inter-faith dialogue today?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England.

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