In First Timothy 6:15, Paul refers to Jesus as “our blessed and only Potentate.” While this designation may sound impressive, we do not use the word “potentate” very often, and thus we may have a problem understanding exactly what Paul is saying about Jesus in this passage.
The word “potentate” refers to a person having great power; a ruler or a monarch. Notice that the word “potentate” contains the word “potent” - thus indicating great power.
In our text, “potentate” is translated from the Greek word dunastes which refers to a powerful ruler. Our English word “dynasty” (a succession of rulers) is derived from dunastes.
Paul makes it clear that Jesus is much more than an ordinary ruler. He is not one of many rulers. He is the “only Potentate.” Jesus stands alone as the powerful ruler of all creation. He is, as Paul goes on to say, “the King of kings and Lord of lords.” The New American Standard Version and the English Standard Version render dunastes with the word “Sovereign,” which refers to one who is above or superior to all others.
As such, Jesus does not share His position as the lone powerful ruler with any other person. He does not yield His authority to any earthly king or government. He alone is the head of the church (Col. 1:18), meaning that no individual, council, or convention rules in His place. His decrees have been established in Heaven (Psalm 119:89), meaning that no man has the power to alter or abolish His will. Jesus is the only Savior of mankind (Acts 4:12). Salvation cannot be obtained in the name of Moses, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc.
It is one thing to understand that Jesus rightfully occupies the place as the blessed and only Potentate, but it is another thing for us to acknowledge this in our personal lives. Do our words, actions, and attitudes reflect the fact that Jesus is the lone powerful ruler over our lives?
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).