“God our Savior…wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself–a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6, NLT).
If you are one of those laconic people who likes things stated simply, concisely, and succinctly, then you definitely like this summation of the gospel written by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy.
Paul sums up the gospel in just two sentences. God’s cosmic, redemptive plan for humanity is stated in the first sentence and the theological basis for the plan is stated in the second sentence.
In this concise explanation of the gospel, Paul says that God wants everybody to be saved, to be in a covenant relationship with Him. Since we are separated from God by sin, then we need a Savior to mediate our sinfulness. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, became human and paid the ransom (or penalty) for our sinfulness by His death on the cross.
It sounds a lot like another familiar, comprehensive statement of the gospel packed into a few words, John 3:16: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
When you compare Paul’s statement with John’s, you might conclude that 1 Timothy 2:3-6 is Paul’s John 3:16!
Paul’s 42-(English)-word proclamation of the gospel is very similar to John’s 29-word declaration!
Both statements, Paul’s John 3:16 and John’s John 3:16 are worthy abridgements of the gospel stated in a practical and useful manner. They provide summations of the gospel of Jesus that are helpful for sharing its message with those who haven’t believed it. And, while John’s statement highlights the gospel as the expression of God’s love for us, Paul’s statement highlights the gospel as God’s resolution of our estrangement from Him.
So, if you are a frequent user of John 3:16 in sharing the gospel with others, you may want to add 1 Timothy 2:3-6 to your repertoire!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NLT).