When “all” and “every” doesn’t mean “all” and “every.”
By Ken Blue
The American Heritage Dictionary says a hyperbole is, “A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.” All languages use the hyperbole, and the Bible is no exception to its use. It will save the believer from error if he will consider this truth when reading the Word. In most cases, the context will reveal its use.
1. “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. It is evident that the disciples were not hated by every man nor will every person hate the Jew in the Tribulation. “All” is used to amplify the extent of the haltered they must expect.
2. “But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.” Matthew 21:26. Obviously, not all the people believed John, or the nation would have repented. However, the number was so great that the priest and elders feared to give a correct answer.
3 “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. The world here was the Roman Empire.
4. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32. This is all me without distinction, not all men without exception.
5. “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.” Mark 9:49. The context shows that this is speaking of the lost and that it is a figure of speech to illustrate the seriousness of eternal judgment on the unsaved.
6. “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:42. We need not assume that every house in Jerusalem was open to them. The idea is that many homes were open, and in them they continued to preach and teach.
7. “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” Acts 8:3. The purpose of the writer was to show how extensive the persecution of Saul was. Had he entered into every house, every believer would have been imprisoned or killed.
8. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. This is not teaching that they went every where in the whole world, but every where they went, they preached the gospel.
9. “And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.” Mark 1:37. Here is another example of the hyperbole to show the popularity of Jesus at that time and place.
10. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7. Not every eye on the planet will see Jesus at the Second Advent. Again, this is to emphasize his coming to Israel. “All eyes in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem where He lands (Zech. 14:1-5). People in distant parts of the earth will not see Him until later (Isa. 2:2-4; 66:19-21; Zech. 8:23).” —Dake’s Study Notes.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.