“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19).

Why does not say "all" but "many"?

  • Fair question Imo the distinction he's making is singular vs. plural, not part vs. whole. Not a huge gap but all gaps seem to be big enough to drive theological wedges into. I don't think Paul would have excluded the latter just because he focused on the former. Jun 5 '18 at 4:40
  • Which translation are you quoting? Please indicate because it is required. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Jun 5 '18 at 22:46

Actually, both words are used in Romans 5, ie both “many” and “all”.

The word “many” is used in Romans 5 to convey the concept of going from “one” to “many”. The idea being that through the sin of one man, sin passed to many and by the obedience of one man righteousness passed to many.

Compare the “one” and “many” in these verses.

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. ... 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) ... 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Paul is using idiomatic or colloquial language, so the use of “many” here coveys the concept of something being passed from one to many. There is no contradiction or difficulty here for remember, Paul also wrote “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”(1 Corinthians 15:22).

Paul brings that same concept here to Romans 5. Compare verse 12 and 18.

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
18 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.

So we see here that we have agreement, ie sin passed from “one” to “all” and righteousness also passed from “one” to “all” which by implication is "many".


in ref. to a footnote on Eph.2:8...in Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle the 'faith factor' is that of/from Christ,which in some MSS is indicated as tes pisteois/His faith/His faithfulness. Perhaps relevant to Eph.1:3,4

  • Welcome to the forum, Clarence. As a forum dedicated to hermeneutics, answers need to address the question. Your addition is welcome, but should be put in the Comments area rather than as an answer to the original question. Best wishes,
    – Dieter
    Jun 9 '18 at 0:31

Enoch would not have been included in Paul's "many". See Genesis 5:24. Sirach 49:14. Hebrews 11:5. We also have the pre-Christian first book of Enoch testifying that "Enoch, [was] a righteous man, who was with God" (1:1) This book was quoted in Jude. For more on this see Schurer, "The Literature of the Jewish People in the time of Jesus." There is also the second book of Enoch which could be dated from the end of the first century.

  • This answer is too brief and cryptic to avoid deletion on this site. Please consider adding fuller explanation of how the verses that you cite support your claim, include the full text of the verses and indicate which translation or MSS you are citing from. Thanks. Jun 7 '18 at 15:17

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