What does 1 Timothy 2:5 mean by "...there is one God..."?.

Does it mean "God the Father" or "God the Son" or may it means the Divine nature and Godhood?

I was confused when I read Arabic and English translations. The phrase may means God the Son, actually, this what I understood. For if it means God the Father, then the following phrase should be "and one mediator between (that) God and men".

1 Timothy 2:5 "For {there is} one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" KJV.


2 Answers 2


At 1 Ti 1:1 we have a perfect example of what Daniel Wallace calls the “anaphoric article,” where “the first mention of a substantive is a anarthrous.” This is common in the salutations of NT books when someone “ is introduced.” [1]

“God” in “God our Savior” and “God the Father” in the introduction of 1 Timothy both lack the definite article and are therefore anarthrous.

1 Ti 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and Christ Jesus our hope; 2 unto Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord (ASV)

Right before 1 Ti 2:5 in verse 3 the same expression “God our Savior” is repeated. This time it has the article and therefore is one of the “subsequent mentions” that identify “God” as the Father in the book.

The linguistic reason for this identification is that the Greek anaphoric article is usually equivalent to the pronoun. [2]

1 Ti 2:3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (ASV)

Therefore at 1 Ti 2:5 “God” is identified as the Father from verse 3, and distinguished from Jesus in the work of salvation.

1 Ti 2:5 For there is** one God**, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus. (ASV)

This does identify the “one God” as the person of Father.

For more information on the anaphoric article as applies to other verses with θεός see my paper “The Greek Anaphoric Article Applied to the Exegesis of 2 Peter 1:1 and Related Texts – A Fresh Grammatical and Contextual Analysis”


[1] "The anaphoric article is the article denoting previous reference. (It derives its name from the Greek verb άμαφερειν, “to bring back, to bring up.”) The first mention of the substantive is usually anarthrous because it is merely being introduced. But subsequent mentions of it use the article, for the article is now pointing back to the substantive previously mentioned. It is the most common use of the article and the easiest usage to identify." .... “Practically speaking, labeling an article as anaphoric requires that it have been introduced at most in the same book, preferably in a context not too far removed. (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, p. 217)

[2] “it becomes evident that there is no ground whatever for making a distinction between the nature of the Article oand the Pronoun o and that the “near relation” is in truth no other than perfect identity.” (Middleton, T. F. (1833). The Doctrine of the Greek Article, p. 13.)

  • 1
    In paragraph four, I believe you are referring to 1 Timothy. I think your reference to 2 Timothy may be incorrect.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 18:59
  • 1
    In I Tim 1:1 the expression is 'God, Saviour of us' (anarthrous). In I Tim 2:3 the expression is 'before the Saviour of us, God'. The article is absent in the first place : the mention of 'God'. In the second place it refers to 'Saviour'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 19:02
  • 2
    @NigelJ Thanks ...... fixed it
    – user33125
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 19:05
  • 1
    In Daniel B Wallace's book 'Beyond the Basics' he affirms that the Greek article is derived (not from the personal pronoun, but) from the demonstrative pronoun. The thesis that the article and the pronoun are, effectively, interchangeable is not supportable.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 19:07
  • @NigelJ Anaphora works with Savior as well as God. In the salutation both are anarthrous. All references to "God" and "Savior" in the book refer to the Father.
    – user33125
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 19:11

εις γαρ θεος εις και μεσιτης θεου και ανθρωπων ανθρωπος χριστος ιησους. [TR]

... for there is deity one, and mediator deity and humanity, humanity Christ Jesus [EGNT (1) with my own punctuation added]

This text is about deity and humanity. It is about the means of mediating salvation on behalf of fallen and sinful humanity to restore persons within that humanity to a relationship with the perfect, holy and righteous deity. Which is the mission of Timothy as instructed by the Apostle Paul.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. [Romans 1:18 KJV]

It is a matter of reaching from the fallen creature to the outraged and insulted Creator.

The text declares that there is one Deity and only one means of reaching that Deity - by the mediatorship of another humanity.

No one of the fallen humanity, no sinner, no sinful human, can approach Deity on behalf of another.

The 'humanity Christ Jesus' is the only mediation available.

The text is not specific about divine person. The text does not say 'Father'. It says 'Deity'. God. The one true God.

Other texts may speak of Person : the person of the Father and the Person of the Son and the Person of the Holy Spirit. Or, as you suggest, 'God, the Son'.

(1) EGNT = The Englishman's Greek New Testament

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