Words mean what they mean in context - All

by Matt Slick
2/11/2015

Words have a variety of meanings depending upon the context. For example, if I were to say to you that Bob is green, what does that mean? The word green could mean envious, sick, and inexperienced. The context would determine which meaning is intended. Likewise, there are words in Scripture that have a variety of meanings depending on the context. Following is a grid that lists some of the hundreds of instances in the New Testament of the occurrence of the English word "all". You will see that there are different meanings and categorize them into five. This is important because some Christians unnecessarily restrict various words in order to impose a presupposed theological meaning in a text.

ALL, πάντα, πᾶς Every
Individual
Not
Every
Individual
Things Totality Expression
Not People
Not Things
Matt. 2:3, "When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."   X      
Matt. 3:15, "But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him."     X    
Mark 2:13, "And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them."   X      
Mark 5:26, "and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse"         X
Mark 6:39, "And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass." X        
Mark 15:14, "But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” (Luke 18:39)         X
Luke 2:1, "Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth."   X      
Luke 7:35, "Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children."         X
Luke 21:17, "and you will be hated by all because of My name."   X      
John 5:18, "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."         X
John 10:8, "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them."   X      
  Every
Individual
Not
Every
Individual
Things Totality Expression
Not People
Not Things
Acts 1:21, "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us."       X X
Acts 5:14, "And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number."         X
Acts 11:28, "One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius."   X X    
Acts 13:39, "and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."     X    
Acts 15:22, "All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles."   X      
Acts 16:26, "and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened."     X    
Acts 21:30, "Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut."   X      
Rom. 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."     X    
Rom. 3:2, "Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God."         X
Rom. 3:23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," X1        
Rom. 14:2, "One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only."     X    
  Every
Individual
Not
Every
Individual
Things Totality Expression
Not People
Not Things
1 Cor. 3:22, "whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you,"     X    
1 Cor. 8:6, "yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him."     X    
2 Cor. 4:17, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,"       X X
Gal. 4:1, "Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything."         X
Eph. 1:11, "also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."         X
Eph. 5:27, "that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless."         X
Phil. 1:9, "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment."       X X
Col. 1:17, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.     X    
1 Thess. 5:15, "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. X        
2 Thess. 1:4, "therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure."       X  
  Every
Individual
Not
Every
Individual
Things Totality Expression
Not People
Not Things
1 Tim. 2:2, "for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." X       X
2 Tim. 4:17, "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth."   X      
Heb. 2:10, "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings."     X X  
James 1:21, "Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls."     X    
1 Pet. 1:15, "but alike the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior."       X  
2 Pet. 3:4, "and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”       X  
1 John 5:17, "All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death."       X  
Jude 5, "Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe."       X X
Rev. 4:11, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”     X    
Rev. 13:6, "And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,"   X2      
  Every
Individual
Not
Every
Individual
Things Totality Expression
Not People
Not Things
  • 1. This "all" excludes Jesus
  • 2. This "all" excludes Christians
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.