“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1–7, ESV)
Paul instructs believers to pray for all people. This includes the salvation of their leaders rather than for their overthrow. Christian citizens are to lead peaceful, quiet, godly lives which is pleasing to the Lord. Paul is urging the Christians in Ephesus to pray that God will save all kinds of people and to spread the good news in the expectation that he will do so. It is in God’s nature to reach out and save those who are far from him. The Greek word used for all means all kinds of people rather than every single person, and in verse one Paul uses the same word in relation to praying for people.
There are some basic facts about the gospel that are essential for a knowledge of the truth. There is only one God. This God is the one true living God, which set apart his people and made them distinct from the surrounding nations who worshiped idols. There is also only one mediator. A mediator is a person who brings two people or groups together by identifying with both sides and establishing a relationship between them that would not otherwise exist. Jesus was able to bring us back to God because he became the man Christ Jesus and gave himself as a ransom for all. Ransom was a word used to describe the price paid to secure a slave’s freedom. This is a compelling picture of the way that Jesus has brought about salvation. People are like slaves, captive to sin and helpless to do anything to save themselves. A price had to be paid because God has to punish sin. Otherwise, he would be neither holy nor consistent with himself. Jesus took the punishment upon himself, bringing about forgiveness for sin and freedom from its power. The apostle Paul was one of the twelve men appointed by the risen Christ to teach the truth that God had revealed to all, including the Gentiles.