Your Bible translation has it wrong at 1 Timothy 2:6

The Verse:

1 Timothy 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 

My Comment:

It would be wrong for me, when I know the truth, to hold it back from you, the reader, especially when misunderstanding the truth because of bad Bible translations could well lead to questions to which you have the wrong answers to destiny-determining and destiny altering issues of Bible doctrine. See Leviticus 19:17 and Ezekiel 3:17, 18, 19 and Matthew 7:21, 22, 23.

What I will share below about the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:6 is perhaps the most important information I could possibly share with you about the message of the Bible.

I bring up this issue because everybody has it wrong. Not understanding the truth of what the Bible actually teaches is a very serious hindrance to communicating the Gospel not only on the mission field, but everywhere else.

The Moslem Question About 1 Timothy 2:6

A Muslim poster apparently from Mecca in Saudi Arabia posted the following question in the “Christianity and Islam Friendly Debate” Facebook group 18 hours ago:

“Paul, in his 1 Timothy 2:6 said Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all! Since Jesus is God, to whom then was he paid as a ransom?”

I suspect this question would stump most Bible believing Christians, not to mention everyone else.

In the first place, Jesus was NOT a RANSOM for our sins. The Muslim poster is exactly right with his question. The question arises both because of faulty theology and mistaken translations of the English Bible. If Jesus paid a ransom, to whom was the ransom paid? I have asked this question here before. I have also asked, if Christ was punished for our sin, who punished Him? The penal satisfaction theory of the Atonement is not only mistaken, it is heresy. But it is very widely taught and believed as though it were Gospel truth.

This question is important for the issues it raises, and because such a good question permitted me to furnish the following answer (based largely upon the Lavender New Testament and its notes):

My Response:

Unfortunately for English readers, nearly all English Bible translations have failed to properly convey the meaning of what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:6.
 
A more correct and literal translation should read “the One having given Himself a means of deliverance in behalf of all conceivable men, the testimony given in its own time.”
 
“A means of deliverance” translates the original Greek word “antilutron,” which, unfortunately, is translated “ransom” in the KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV; but “ransom” expresses or projects wrong concepts of Christ and His work on the cross.
 
“Himself” and “a means of deliverance” are the objects of the aorist active participle, “having given.” Here Christ is both Subject and Object–He gave Himself. The end of the action of “having given” is “Himself” and “a means of deliverance.” He did this on the cross in time past as indicated by the aorist tense.  He is not a “ransom” that was paid; He is Himself “a means of deliverance.”
 
There is no sense of price here or of one thing in exchange for another, Him for us.
 
This pagan placation by substitution, commercial/exchange concept brought to the lofty work of Christ on the cross is utterly unbecoming.
 
To think of “ransom” in terms of paying for sins of eternal magnitude against Divinity is alien to Scripture. The passage simply means to say that the death of Christ is a means of release, “antilutron,” from the shackles of all sin.
 
Further, the prefix “anti” does not bring “the idea of substitution” to “antilutron.” “Anti,” “for, “in behalf of,” is prefixed to the Greek noun “lutron” to help affirm more vividly and emphatically the “in behalf of” aspect of the deliverance as a benefit of Priestly-Sacrificial Atonement. Thus the Greek preposition grammatically in composition gives vividness to further emphasize the “in behalf of” nature of Christ’s sacrificial death.
 
Thank you, Sulayman Aliyu, for presenting such a good question. Without your question, I both could and would not have presented the scholarly and correct answer here which you will not likely find anywhere else except my own website where I will post it shortly.
 
The information I have presented will be new to every reader here. It is harder to understand because it is new, and because it is based upon a careful analysis of the Greek grammar underlying all English translations of the New Testament, as well as translations into any other language. You cannot understand Bible doctrine correctly unless you understand the grammar underlying the translation as used in the original language, which for the New Testament is Greek.

Much More Could Be Said

Much more could be said, but most Internet site readers won’t read a longer post.

If you ever expect to see Heaven, if you think you believe in Jesus Christ and His atoning work for you and all mankind on the cross, then this subject is perhaps the most important subject in the Bible you need to understand and get right!

If you have any questions, and you most certainly should if you are serious about spiritual things, please post a question or a response in the comment section below.

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2 Responses to Your Bible translation has it wrong at 1 Timothy 2:6

  1. Ade Timmins says:

    Greetings,
    Solely out of interest what would you make of the God’s word translation of this passage ” He sacrificed himself for all people to free them from their sins.This message is valid for every era” .
    May GOD bless you in your efforts.

  2. Jerry says:

    Dear Ade Timmins,

    On 1 Timothy 2:6 the GW translation is surely much better than the other translations I have installed for my e-Sword Bible program. I just now downloaded the GW Bible to this computer.

    Thank you for calling my attention to this translation.

    But when I checked just now how it renders 1 John 2:2 I find that the GW Bible makes the same mistakes many other translations have made.

    1Jn 2:2  He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world. 

    “Payment” is not a satisfactory rendering here. While better than “propitiation” of the KJV, it falls far short of what this text should read. The correct translation should read “atonement” here.

    Atonement translates hilasmos, normally translated propitiation, but “…this involves a wrong interpretation of the term…in the NT God is never the object of propitiation since he is already on the side of the people” (Louw and Nida, § 40.12).

    Note that hilasmos, Atonement, is in the predicate nominative position; the linking verb estin, is, expresses a state of being, not action. The significance of this powerful construction is that it emphatically links the Person and His work, i.e., He and Atonement are the same—Person and Atonement. Thus Christ is the Atonement and the Atonement is He. The double nominative He and Himself emphasize the Person of Christ in Atonement. The predicate nominative construction is the Divine declarative that Christ is the All-Sufficient One. It means that Atonement is Who Christ is, and what He is—the Priest and the Offering. Atonement is not what was done to Christ, it is what He did as Priest and Sacrifice when He offered Himself (cf. Joh 10:17-18; Eph 5:2; Heb 7:27; Heb 9:14; Heb 10:12). This is intrinsic Atonement— Atonement in Christ. Atonement then is Priestly-Sacrificial in nature, and is uniquely wrought by Christ in the transcendent sufficiency of Himself. This sufficiency is so centrally of God that all external means of extrinsic atonement theories can but contaminate the Divine plan; thus, penal satisfaction, punishment, wrath, vengeance, etc. are excluded. The Remedy is so Self-sufficient and Personal that no further contribution can be made whatsoever. Here the Person of the Priest-Sacrifice consists in a sufficiency in which all other atonement theories are laid aside (LNT, fn p).

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