All Always Means All


All scripture quotations are from the King James Bible


By Dr. Ken Matto


One of the terms we find in the Bible has become a problem for some believers.  It is the simple word “all” and it is one of those terms which must be defined by its application or usage.  For example, I am single so I do my own laundry each week.  If someone calls me and asks me if I finished my laundry I will normally say “I finished all my laundry this morning.”  Now was I being correct?  Yes and no!  Yes because I finished all the laundry which was dirty and no because I did not take everything I own out of the closets and my dresser and wash them.  I only washed a part of my clothing assortment yet it qualified as being “all.”  All the clothes I wore in the previous week.  So there is an “all” within an “all.”


God predestines and then elects the believer for salvation. However, the Greek word which underlies “all” seems to indicate that the atonement of Christ was universal in nature and not just for the elect. The word is "pas," and this word is used so many times in the Bible that it would be impossible to look at every verse. "All" is used a total of 5621 times in 4664 verses in the entire Bible. It is used a total of 1130 times in 982 verses in the New Testament alone.  There are 31,102 verses in the Bible which means that 15% of all verses have the word “all” in them.  So even though it is a small word, it is a word which must be factored in to understand individual verses.  You cannot use a blanket definition but each usage must be studied within the context of the verse which contains it and the context of the verses surrounding it.


To make this subject biblically logical, I am going to quote a verse and then apply a question to that verse to amplify the meaning in view. One of the main tenets of understanding proper English is to study how a certain word is used in a sentence. For example the word "love."


If I say to someone "I love you." Does it carry the same weight and meaning as, "I love chocolate candy." The answer, of course, is no. The word "love," in both instances, is a qualified term. If I say to my girlfriend or wife "I love you" it carries with it a deeper meaning than if “I love a chocolate bar.” (With some relationships you are safer with a chocolate bar) One cannot love a candy bar in the same way one loves a woman. Do you send flowers to your candy bar? Do you take your candy bar out on a date? Do we marry a candy bar? (The way some of us look from the side, maybe we do!) We send flowers, go on a date, and marry a woman? So as we see, the single word "love," spelled the same in both instances, carries a different meaning because of its use in the sentence. It is the same with our study word. Its meaning is based on the context in which they are used. Let us attend to our study word lest I bore you further.


The word "all" in the New Testament is the Greek word "pas" which carries with it the meaning of, "all, every, each, everyone, everything." As we see, the word carries with it the meaning of completeness and total inclusion. Is that the final word? No, because remember if we are going to properly interpret we must look at the context without preconception regarding theological slant. For example, a great disservice we do to the Bible is on the subject of the return of Christ. Theologians, from different camps, tell us there is biblical evidence for the:


• Pre-Trib Rapture

• Mid-Trib Rapture

• Post-Trib Rapture

• Last Day Rapture


The Bible tells us that Christ will return, BUT NOT IN 4 DIFFERENT WAYS!

Will someone tell me how He is going to return in four different ways? Modern Christianity has created a Tower of Babel in the area of biblical understanding. The Bible teaches explicitly a last day rapture. The other 3 views are in error resulting in theory not reality. Now to "ALL."


When "All" is used of a smaller group within the “Greater All”

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  (Matthew 2:3)


Did every person in Jerusalem hear about the birth of Christ thus troubling them?



Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, (Matthew 3:5)


And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:5)


Did everyone in Judaea and all the surrounding region come out to see John the Baptist and then get baptized?



And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)


Does this “all men” include Christians?



And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. (Mark 1:37)


There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (Christians 3:11)


Does everyone seek Christ? Better question is, does anyone seek Him?



Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Christians 5:18)


Is the second “all” equal in meaning to the first “all”?  The first “all” teaches us that by Adam’s offense, the entire human race was plunged into sin and as a result all are condemned.  The second “all” speaks of the fact that those who receive the free gift of grace have been justified unto life, that is, life eternal.  So not everyone in the world is saved and therefore the second “all” speaks of “all” the Christians which is the smaller “all” within the greater “all” which would be the entire world population.



Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23)


If I believe I can I fly, should I jump off a building?



But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. (Mark 13:23)


Did Christ tell us what day He is returning?



And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)


Did the Inca's, the Chinese, the American Indians have to pay a tax too?



And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Luke 2:10)


Does the unbeliever rejoice in Christ or do they celebrate Santa Claus?


These questions were not meant to be mocking or disrespectful to the Bible but merely to expose the reality that as God uses the word "pas" He qualifies the use of that as we shall see in the next section as we see when "all" is "all."


When "All" is speaking of the Greater All or Entirety!

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:20)


The Shepherds rejoiced over all the things they heard and saw.  Up to that time, the Shepherds heard everything that was available at that point.



And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. (Luke 2:47)


All those who were present heard the words of Christ in the temple.



John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: (Luke 3:16)


Here we see that John the Baptist spoke to all in attendance and those who heard him.



All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  (John 6:37)


The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9)


Here we see that every single believer that the Father gives to the Lord Jesus Christ will come to him, not may, but will.  2 Peter 3:9 speaks about the elect of God.  In conjunction with John 6:37, we read that God wills that none of his elect will ever perish and that all should come to repentance.  Repentance is a synonym for salvation. All the elect will come to salvation because God wills it and it is he who gives the believer to Jesus.  He is not waiting for people to accept him, he is accepting the believer by calling their name from the book of life he started before the foundation of the world.  Remember John 10 when the Good Shepherd calls his people by name?  That is the action taking place in John 6:37.



Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (1 Corinthians 10:1)


And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: (Exo 40:36)


Did not all the Israelites pass through the Red Sea and were under the cloud as spoken of in Exodus? 



Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: (Romans 9:6)


Here God speaks of two Israels. He states that not all those of national or physical

Israel are of the Israel of God, which is the redeemed body of Christ.



When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (Matthew 25:31)


I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (1 Timothy 5:21)


Here we see that all the holy angels are the elect angels of God!


For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  (1 Corinthians 15:25)


Once all the elect are saved out of the world, then the only ones who will be left are the unbelievers and unbelievers are the enemies of God.  The Dispensational belief system stops just short of teaching that Satan is the ruler of this entire world. The truth we see in this verse is that Christ is already reigning through the entire New Testament period. He is not sitting back and waiting for some mythical thousand year reign to begin and then He will reign in Jerusalem, along with a mythical temple where Christ will be reigning and the apostate Jews will be offering animal sacrifices in the presence of the Lord who was the one and only true sacrifice for sin on behalf of the Elect. Christ is reigning in Heaven and will continue to reign eternally. This verse speaks about the present reign of Christ which will culminate in the abolition of all his spiritual enemies, namely Satan and all his followers who are the unbelievers. Once the enemies are judged and sentence carried out, the reign of Christ will take on a different nature. He will then be ruling over the body of believers and Heaven.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18) Not only are the enemies of Christ just Satan and his followers, it is also the effects of sin which has supported the derailing of many believers in their Christian walk. All sin and its effects will be subjected to Christ and His authority who will then abolish everything evil. 


We have taken a few verses and we have easily seen that God uses the word "all" in two ways: First, to show completeness of what is in view (when all is all); secondly, to show a completeness within the context of entirety. (when the lesser all is part of the greater all) Here is an example of that:


The news comes on and reports that an airliner crashed in New York City and all were killed. Who was killed? Those in the airliner or all those in New York City? Do you see the principle of completeness within the context of entirety? The inhabitants of the plane were killed but not everyone in New York City. The same careful method of linguistic application must be applied to biblical interpretation or a wrong conclusion will be arrived at. The sorry reality is that the majority of Christians neglect (whether intentional or unintentional, it is still neglect) this method of interpretation to cling to an emotionally palatable doctrine because they refuse to believe what the Bible teaches.  Christians must take seriously the study of the scriptures and stop relying on compromised media ministries from doing their thinking for them.


{10} And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  {11} These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  (Acts 17:10-11)


If you notice the Bereans were the ones who searched the scriptures to confirm the teachings of Paul.  Notice it doesn’t say that the Bereans waited for the Athenians to study the matter and then wait for their opinion.  It states the Bereans did their own studies and that is what Christians must get back to.