The plural you

One of the great things about the Christian faith is how it both affirms the best, and challenges the worst, in every culture.

For example, Americans have more freedom to pursue their faith compared to any society in history. But at the same time, we’re more inclined to view faith individualistically than any culture in history.

We make a “personal decision” for Jesus.

We have a “personal relationship” with him.

We say, “I’m a spiritual person.”

OK, but then what do we do with the stories in Acts 10 and Acts 16, where whole households were baptized at once? It’s hard to make the case that everyone there made a “personal decision” for Jesus.  

What do we do about the plural “you?”

In our culture, when we hear the word “you” we assume it’s singular. In the English language, the plural “you” is exactly the same as the singular “you.” Unless the context clearly says otherwise, we assume the “you” is singular.

But the Greek language has different words for the singular and plural “you.”

And in the New Testament, the “you” is almost always plural.

It’s impossible to overstate what a challenge this is to the American understanding of faith.

Faith must be lived in community.

We are a chosen people; we are a royal priesthood.

We are called out of darkness into light together.

We each have gifts that God gave us so that others can grow in faith.

We each have needs that God intended to be met by others.

There are deep theological reasons why, say, the pandemic lockdowns were so devastating.

Our culture would have us believe that life is “all about you.”

It is.

The plural “you.”