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PuritanBoard and the meaning of “all” and “world”

November 9, 2007

You have to see this.

Tom Bombadil over there at Puritanboard has tabled some arguments as to why he thinks the “alls” of 1t2:2-7 (I assume he means all of them) cant be taken as all mankind and why “world” should mean… I guess all the elect or something.

His first argument that this would entail God fails in his desires. To that, its the revealed will, Tom.

Then he argues that Satan too is an authority in the world, so should we pray for him too. That has to be one of the dumbest arguments I have ever seen.

Then there is something about Paul not wanting all kinds of men to worship. I am not sure what thats about, so I will pass on that.

But then the next one is that if all means all mankind (or whatever Tom has in mind) Paul would be contradicting himself when notes that Paul says, ‘if a woman has children or grandchildren, these should “first of all” do the right thing and care for the parent (1t5:4)’. Somehow, Tom thinks, the “first of all” contradicts any unlimited reading of “all” in 1t2.

Now JohnOwen007 points out, rightly, that the “first of all” there is not in the original but only in the translation. But even if it was in the original, Tom’s argument here is just dumb. It should be self-evident what Paul meant.

Next on 1j2:2 Tom just thinks that everyone has to imagine that the phrase “whole world” means everyone. And thus his take on 1j5:19. I guess the point is, if in 1j5:19 “whole world” does not mean everyone–he means literally all who have lived, lives and will live?–so in 1j2:2 we are justified in making it all the elect? I guess thats where he is going. But even if “whole world” didn’t mean all and every single person in 1j5:19, this would not justify the move to “world” equals elect, or all kinds of elect in 1j2:2. If “world” for John, in this epistle, means apostate mankind, then there is no problem at all.

So all that aside, Tom concludes by claiming that just by these few and simple proddings, the opponent’s case falls apart like a house of cards.


I gotta say, the argument that we should have to pray for Satan is just a whopper. And the argument from Paul’s reference to the parent is hilarious.

I know I do and say some embarrassing things at times, but that post has to win the prize.

They always kill me over there at PB land.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2007 3:52 pm

    Wow…that is amazing.

    Whole world can easily be seen as the same as seen 1 John 2:15-17, and that being the evil world system. That is what Satan is head of, which would include the elect and non-elect inside of it. Of course his authority is always held at bay by the One and True God, Jehovah, as seen in Job 1.

    It is the same idea that Satan is the “god of this world” as told to us in 2 Cor 4:4. Is this not the reason, we as the elect, are called Pilgrims?

    ..still can’t get over “means that we pray for Satan”…

    Keep using this exegesis and you can come to any assumption you want with Scripture.

  2. Flynn permalink
    November 9, 2007 4:22 pm

    Hey Seth,

    Its a bad and thoughtless argument. The sense of triumphalism at the end, too, is a hoot.

    David :-)


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