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All means all


How many times I've heard an exuberant preacher thump the podium proclaiming "all means all!"This to prove various points such as...

  1. Material nature itself is tainted by wickedness.(This idea expresses a wrong view of the physical universe, that physical nature contains a spiritual component.All the philosophers made the same mistake.)
  2. The material nation of Israel will one day be reconstituted as in Old Testament times with priests, a temple, and animal sacrifices.
  3. Noah's flood was global.
  4. All have sinned(therefore Mary could not have been sinless.)

Many passages in the Bible use the word "all" to mean "all of a kind". Unfortunately, Christians interpret the word "all" to refer to all of every kind when it suits them even when this is clearly not what the writer intended.

Some try to establish elaborate rules of grammar for determining when all means all and when all means some. This to place the word "all" in their target verses with the proper meaning. This is all too tricky for me; the context of each verse is usually clear.