Titus 2:11 says

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men...

How does this fit with Irresistible Grace? From my understanding of Irresistible Grace, when God's grace that brings salvation appears to someone, they cannot resist and they are saved (whether against their will, or that the are unable to resist and their will is changed so it is their will, may not be relevant)

I have consulted ESV Global Commentary, Matthew Henry Commentary, and Calvin's commentary for the verse, but have found nothing concerning this doctrine.

How is this passage understood along with Irresistible Grace?

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE, and thanks for taking the site tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. Oct 25, 2017 at 16:09
  • Good first question!
    – LCIII
    Oct 25, 2017 at 16:22
  • Anticipating some kind of 'all kinds of men' explanation. Oct 25, 2017 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


The defense of Titus 2:11 for the Calvinist doctrine of Irresistible Grace comes from the interpretation of the words in the verse "Grace of God."

John MacArthur, a prominent Calvinist pastor and teacher writes this in his "John MacArthur Study Bible" commentary of Titus 2:11(NASB)-

Titus 2:11 - "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.."

2:11 ...grace of God. Not simply the divine attribute of grace, but Jesus Christ Himself, grace incarnate, God's supremely gracious gift to fallen mankind.

OP assumes "the grace of God" is talking about God's divine attribute of grace, which indeed is the driving factor behind the doctrine of "Irresistible Grace," but is not what this verse is talking about according to the Calvinist. Calvinists do not hold to the position that it is Christ Himself who is performing the pulling towards God, but, in the words of John Calvin, "...it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit..."

In conclusion, to the Calvinist, this verse is not about Irresistible Grace at all; rather, it deals with soteriological truths.

  • This is a good find. Does this interpretation originate with MacArthur or does it have a longer history?
    – bradimus
    Oct 25, 2017 at 20:28
  • To be honest I'm not sure. I'd imagine this exegesis is very similar to the other commentaries OP says he looked at. The reason why the commentaries he looked at never addressed "Irrisistible Grace" is because it's a misrendering of the verse according to Calvinist interpretation. Oct 25, 2017 at 20:33
  • Or, the exegetes are more concerned with defending against Universalism from this verse than Irresistible Grace! Oct 25, 2017 at 20:37
  • If you want bradimus to get an alert use @bradimus
    – Kris
    Oct 26, 2017 at 23:01

Titus 2:11 is not relevant to the doctrine of "Irresistible Grace" (the likely reason for its absence in many commentaries). Titus 2:11 is a statement about the significance of the advent and sacrificial work of Jesus, not "Irresistible Grace" (a euphemism for the transforming impact and in-working power of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Confusion can result from careless translations of the Greek text. A very careful literal rendering of the Greek text would read like, "The saving grace of the God was-previously-made-visible to-all humans", in which the following aspects of the Greek text have been honored: 1) the passive-aorist Greek verb: "was-made-visible (at some previous [unspecified] time", and 2) the Greek adjective "saving" (not a verb, as in the NASB) is explicitly applied to its intended noun target "grace". Putting this all together, Titus 2:11 appears to be making an assertion regarding the (invisible) Grace of an (invisible) God having been made visible at some previous time, openly, not in secret) by means of the (earlier) incarnation and sacrificial work of Jesus.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .