I’m reading Titus and I see this:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.–Titus 2:11
What did the Apostle Paul mean by “hath appeared to all men”? Was the Gospel presented to Scandinavian-Germanic clans in the 1st Century? The earliest records (so far) show that Willibrord first took the Gospel to Denmark in the 700’s.
This verse in Titus was written sometime around 66-67 A.D. which is only a few years before the fall and end of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Back then, Paul said that the Gospel had been shown to all men!
What else did Paul say in regard to the spread of the Gospel?
Somewhere around 60-62 A.D. Paul said that the Gospel WAS proclaimed in all creation under heaven…
This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.–Col. 1:23.
Christianity first came to China in the year 64 when the Apostle Thomas came to Sian, China. Previously he was in India around the year 52. Other believers are said to have brought the gospel on to Japan by the year 70 AD. That was awesome, but did it mean that the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia had also heard?
A few verses earlier, he said that the Gospel had reached “all the world”…
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth–Col 1:6
So, had the Gospel already reached the Mayans in the “New World” in the 1st Century?
What do you think about this Gospel claim made by Paul?
But now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;–Rom 16:26
So how can Paul accurately assert that the Gospel was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, that it had appeared to all men, and that it had been made known to all the nations (every ethnic group), and all the world?
It’s called hyperbolic language. It is the same type of language that was used in the following Scriptures:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.–Luke 2:1. The Greek words are “πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην” which are literally translated “all the world”. So did Luke believe that Caesar would tax the natives of South America, the clans of Norway, the Seminole tribe of Florida? Of course not.
After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.–Daniel 2:39. So, did Alexander the Great rule the people living in Mexico and Central America at that time?
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven (or every ethnic people group)–Acts 2:5. Although Luke the writer of Acts states “every nation under heaven”, the detailed list (Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Pontus folks, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans near Cyrene, Romans, Cretans, and Arabs) doesn’t go far outside of Roman influence.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.–Acts 11:28. If Luke the writer was literal, then “All the world” would literally mean that the swamps in Florida had a famine as well.
Whenever Paul and Luke said “all the world”, they were in complete agreement. Paul and Luke’s “all the world” consisted primarily of the geographic Roman Empire. HOWEVER, there were in those days many ethnic groups of people from outside of the Roman Empire that came to visit. A great example of this would be the Magi from the East who came to visit the young Jesus.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem— Matt.2:1
What Paul was essentially saying was that the Gospel had saturated the Roman World which would also mean that it had been presented to the multitude of Gentile people groups that had been passing through as well. He did not LITERALLY mean that it was proclaimed to EVERY creature under heaven. If you are going to stick with the claim that this is literal language, then you are going to have to also assert that Caesar was going to tax every Native American, every Asian person in the Far East, etc. You can’t have it both ways.
Here is where things get really interesting…
We know that the Holy Spirit allowed Paul and Luke to use “all the world” and “all nations” in a consistently hyperbolic way. So does the following verse break from the Scriptural pattern?
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”–Matt. 24:14
Jesus sets forth the goal to be reached. Paul says, “Mission accomplished!”
This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.–Col. 1:23. Continue reading