Universalism In The Old And New Testaments

Universalism In Scripture

Some will think this list contains too few verses--others too many.

To those who think it contains too few: we have tried to offer the shortest, most clear-cut scriptural path for those new to the subject. This list reflects the most explicit affirmations of universal reconciliation, requiring the fewest theological and philosophical commitments.

To those who think it contains too many: every verse here, through the most elementary reasoning, leads to universal reconciliation. We ask that you give more attention to the verses and their implications.

And as always, we urge everyone unfamiliar with the biblical languages to read these verses in a variety of translations. The English Standard Version (ESV) was chosen for this list because of its popularity and for the sake of consistency, but no translation is perfect. The true meaning of the text is often distorted or obscured by the use of a single translation read in isolation.

Romans 14:11 provides an excellent example:

ESV

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall CONFESS to God.”

NASB

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give PRAISE to God.”

In the ESV, this verse appears gloomy simply because 'to confess', in colloquial English, connotes a sad admission of guilt, perhaps under threat of punishment. We think of a criminal 'confessing' his crimes to an interrogating policeman.

But the Greek word in question has the more formal (and neutral) meaning 'to acknowledge' or 'to admit' with the additional senses of giving thanks, warm approval, and admiration—‘praise’. Every tongue will confess to God as a cheerful acknowledgement and act of worship--not as a painful and coerced admission of guilt.

Exclusive reliance on a single translation puts the reader in danger. In this example, the full meaning of Romans 14:11 became distinct only when we compared the ESV to the NASB.

Therefore, we urge all readers to consult a range of translations, especially for the verses below.

New Testament

Matthew

Matthew 17:11
He answered, "Elijah does come, and he will restore all things.

Matthew 18:14
So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke

Luke 2:10
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Luke 3:5-6
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Luke 16:16
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

John

John 1:29
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 3:17
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:35
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.

John 6:33
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

John 6:37
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

John 6:39
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

John 12:32
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

John 17:1-2
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

Acts

Acts 3:19-21
Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

Romans

Romans 5:15
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

Romans 5:18
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Romans 11:15
For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean
but life from the dead?

Romans 11:32
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Romans 11:36
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 14:11
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 3:15
If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

1 Corinthians 5:4-5
When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:28
When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Galatians

Galatians 3:8
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

Ephesians

Ephesians 1:7-10
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 1:22-23
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:9-10
In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.

Philippians

Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians

Colossians 1:19-20
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 3:11
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

1 Timothy

1 Timothy 2:3-6
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.

1 Timothy 4:10
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Titus

Titus 2:11
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

Hebrews

Hebrews 1:2
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Hebrews 2:9
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 9:25-26
Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by
the sacrifice of himself.

1 Peter

1 Peter 4:6
For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

1 John

1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:14
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Revelation

Revelation 5:13
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Revelation 15:4
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelation 21:5
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Old Testament

Genesis

Genesis 12:3
“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 22:18
"and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

2 Samuel

2 Samuel 14:14
We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.

1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 20:21
And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Psalms

Psalm 22:27-29
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 65:2
O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come.

Psalm 66:3-4
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah

Psalm 68:18
You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

Psalm 86:9
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Psalm 145:14-16
The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145:21
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Isaiah

Isaiah 19:21-22
‍And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.

Isaiah 25:6-8
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 45:22-23
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 66:23
From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.

Lamentations

Lamentations 3:31-33
For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.

Daniel

Daniel 7:27
And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Micah

Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Zephaniah

Zephaniah 3:8-9
“Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.

Malachi

Malachi 1:11
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.