But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: [1 Peter 3:15 KJV]
In 1 Peter 3:15, the verb ἁγιάσατε (sanctify), the article and noun ταῖς καρδίαις (hearts), the adjective ἕτοιμοι (be ready), and the pronouns ὑμῶν, ὑμᾶς, and ὑμῖν (you) are all plural.
Are these Collective Plurals or are they Distributive Plurals?
I've looked in Mounce, Wallace, Dana & Mantey, Moulton & Millgan, Blass & Debrunner, A.T. Robertson, and even Gildersleeve; pretty much without success. I've also noted that this case doesn't appear to fit in the "Neuter plural with singular verb exception" category.
Yes, I suspect one could argue for "both" in this context, but I'm specifically concerned with how to grammatically differentiate between Collectives and Distributives, not only here, but throughout the NT and LXX corpus.
Is the meaning here that we (the church as a whole) should be ready to give a group answer?
Or, is it that we (as members of the church) should each individually be ready to give an answer?
i.e. does the plural refer to the group as a whole or to the individual members of the group instead?
c.f., e.g. in English, “We the People of the United States… do ordain and establish… “ means the group ordains and establishes as a group.
While, “We went our separate ways” means that each member of the group went off individually in his/her own chosen direction.