"For the death he died he died to sin, once for all," ESV.
All what?

  1. "all time" -Romans 5:19 "one man's obedience" does not need repeating.

  2. "all people"-Romans 5:15 "grace...abounded for many".

  3. "all sin"- Romans 5:18 "one act of righteousness" was sufficient.

  4. "all confessed sin" -Romans 6:4 "we were buried" all believers who "walk in newness of life."

  5. something else?

3 Answers 3


ο γαρ απεθανεν τη αμαρτια απεθανεν εφαπαξ [Romans 6:10 - TR undisputed]

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: [KJV]

for in that he died, to the sin he died once [YLT]

The word εφαπαξ is used five times in scripture and it means 'once'.

To say 'once for all' is merely adding an emphasis in the sense of 'once for all time' or 'not to be repeated'.

The text indicates the finality of the death of Christ. Thereafter he liveth, never to die again.

ἐφάπαξ (Treg. in Heb. ἐφ' ἅπαξ; cf. Lipsius, gram. Unters., p. 127), adverb (from ἐπί and ἅπαξ (cf. Winers Grammar, 422 (393); Buttmann, 321 (275))), once; at once i. e.

Thayer - (Biblehub) - Strong 2178

However, to translate the word as 'once for all' (meaning finality) becomes ambiguous, adding a meaning not intended by the writer and not recognised in the lexicon : the meaning of 'dying for all people'.

I cannot see, grammatically, that such a meaning can be justified, nor does the context (which follows the text) justify it either.

  • 1
    I was going to answer this but you have done an excellent job. +1.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 21:35

“Once for all” is an acceptable translation with it being understood that it means “once for all time,” i.e., once and never again.1

[Thayer, p. 264, ἐφάπαξ1

According to the Oxford English Dictionary on the phrase “once for all,”2

a. once for all (also once for altogether, once for always, once for ever): once as a final act; conclusively, so as to end uncertainty.


        1 Thayer, p. 264, ἐφάπαξ
        2 OED online, “once,” adv., conj., adj., and n., P3.


Wilke, Christian Gottlob. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. Trans. Thayer, Joseph Henry. Ed. Grimm, Carl Ludwig Wilibald. Rev. ed. New York: American Book, 1889.


What does “all” mean in Romans 6:10?

Answer: Jesus died with reference to sin once for "all time".

When faced with such an ambiguity, we look to other translation and similar verses for clarification.

The word [time] inserted in the ESV verse by me. The word "time" is implied in the verse and the translators could have added the word for clarification. The Christian Standard Bible, The World English Bible, and The Aramaic Bible have added the word "time" in the verse.

Romans 6:10 ESV

10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all**[time],** but the life he lives he lives to God.

Christian Standard Bible

For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

World English Bible

For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English

For he who died to sin, died one time, and because he lives, he is living to God.10 "For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God."

Other similar verses help us clarify the ambiguity.

Hebrews 9:28 (ESV)

28 So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

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