Will God, in his great mercy, eventually save all humankind?
Does 2 Peter 3:9 indicate that there will be universal salvation? It says: “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish [“he does not want anyone to be destroyed,” TEV], but that all should reach repentance.” (RS) It is God’s merciful desire that all of Adam’s offspring repent, and he has generously made provision for forgiveness of the sins of those who do. But he does not force anyone to accept that provision. (Compare Deuteronomy 30:15-20.)
Many reject it. They are like a drowning man who pushes away a life preserver when it is thrown to him by someone who desires to help. It should be noted, however, that the alternative to repentance is not an eternity in hellfire. As 2 Peter 3:9 shows, those who do not repent will perish, or “be destroyed.” 2Pe 3 Verse 7 (RS) also refers to “destruction of ungodly men.” There is no thought of universal salvation here.
Does 1 Corinthians 15:22 prove that all humans will eventually be saved? It says: “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
As shown in the surrounding verses, what is under discussion here is resurrection. Who will be resurrected? All whose death is attributable to Adamic sin (see 1Co 15 verse 21) but who have not also personally committed the willful transgressions set forth in Hebrews 10:26-29.
As Jesus was raised from Hades (Acts 2:31), so all others who are in Hades will be “made alive” by means of the resurrection. (Rev. 1:18; 20:13) Will all of these gain eternal salvation? That opportunity will be open to them, but not everyone will take hold of it, as is indicated at John 5:28, 29, which shows that the outcome to some will be adverse “judgment.”
What about texts such as Titus 2:11, which refers to “the salvation of all men,” according to the rendering of RS? Other texts, such as John 12:32, Romans 5:18, and; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4, convey a similar thought in RS, KJ, NE, TEV, etc. The Greek expressions rendered “all” and “everyone” in these verses are inflected forms of the word pas. As shown in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962, Vol. I, p. 46), pas can also mean “every kind or variety.”
So, in the above verses, instead of “all,” the expression “every kind of” could be used; or “all sorts of,” as done in NW. Which is correct—“all” or the thought conveyed by “all sorts of”? Well, which rendering is also harmonious with the rest of the Bible? The latter one is. Consider Acts 10:34, 35; Revelation 7:9, 10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. (Note: Other translators also recognize this sense of the Greek word, as is shown by their renderings of it at Matthew 5:11—“all kinds of,” RS, TEV; “every kind of,” NE; “all manner of,” KJ.)