Does “all” always mean all?
Some time ago, I had the opportunity to meet in the southwest portion of the USA with a friend who is a New Age believer. Other than his spiritual blindness, he’s quite brilliant. He’s also quite wary of so-called “Christians.”
For one reason he has a fairly good command of the Word of God for a pagan and is knowledgeable about the tragic history of Christianity regarding the killing of our enemies.
This also includes the present day antics of so-called “Christian” Presidents, for my friend wonders aloud about the strange “bedfellows” as he calls it between politics and religion.
(See also Politics and Christians?)
And also why a so-called Christian leader won’t love his enemies.
When I told him it’s even worse than that, his ears perked up and he listened carefully to me juxtaposing real belief-action with the false American idolatrous gospel.
Anyway, my friend was lamenting why some believers make the claim of a “literal interpretation.” To him, it smacks of an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp, or postal service.
But before we make a foolish comment about his ignorance, maybe we first ought to see where we might misinterpret things in the sacred Scriptures. I know for myself, I’ve cringed at times as the Holy Spirit brings more light over time and I’ve had to radically modify my once-intact belief system. Can you relate?!
For example, what about the “literal interpretation” of the Biblical phrase “all things”? Let’s take a look at one of these:
Ephes. 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
My believing friend, JP, who has an active international apologetic (defending the faith) ministry sent this excellent summary several years ago at my request.
“All things” — including the movement of every finger (which we will use as the exemplary indication), (some men) would say, is decided and caused by God. We agree that this is true, though not in the sense (some men) would think.
If by his statement (a man) means that some direct decision of God moves every finger, that God in eternity DECREED, “JP will hit the ‘g’ key on March 3, 2002, at 6:02 PM,” we do not deny that this is POSSIBLE, but do not see that it is NECESSARY. Yet does not Ephesians say “all things”? Yes, but if this is inclusive of literally all things, then what of these passages?
Matthew 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
All things are possible for God — yet as skeptics are fond of pointing out, it is not possible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18).
It is also obviously impossible for God to wish Himself out of existence, or to make 2 and 2 actually equal 5, or to make a stone so heavy He cannot lift it.
“All things” here clearly does not include certain things but is expressive of a certain context. One more example will suffice:
Mark 4:34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.
As I have noted elsewhere, “All things? Including the living habits of sea slugs?” The example is facetious, but nevertheless makes a certain point. “All things” is not a literal expression but has contextual limits; the phrase expresses completeness within a context.”
So, what he means in summary is “all” of a certain group of “things.” But not “all” of everything every time for all time.
Food for thought, dear brethren. We all need to be extra careful of teaching the Father’s Word. He’s merciful, but He commands accuracy. Our Teacher, the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Our brother Jesus interceded at the throne, and one of His prayers is for His Word to be handled very, very, very accurately.
May we in love listen to and discern from other saints who are far advanced from us.
James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter (greater) judgment.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
You may view our Archives here: RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD – ARCHIVES; Complete Archives; feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion. May our Father richly bless you with His grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in order to walk worthy of His name.