Acts 19:10 NASB

This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Does the use of “all” here mean “every person”? Or does it mean that people in Asia generally heard the word of the Lord? How do we hermeneutically understand the use of words like “all” and “every” (Greek πάντας) in the Bible, or at least in Acts?

  • 1
    Mark 1:5 mentions "all" of Judea and Jerusalem going to Jesus to be baptized. I also wonder if this meant every person. Dec 6, 2021 at 21:57

3 Answers 3


This is a rhetorical figure called synecdoche, designating "all" for a part of the population, but implying that such a part was very numerous.

Synecdoche of the Whole for the Part in the Bible

Gn 6:17 Now behold, I Myself am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which there is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.

All flesh, for most of it except those that went into the Ark.

Exodus 8:17 They did so; and Aaron extended his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on every person and animal. All the dust of the earth turned into gnats through all the land of Egypt.

All the dust of the earth, by a large part of the dust; all of Egypt, for the most part


I would say "both Jews and Greeks" describes it. And as we read on to 12 great miracles happened that likely made much news, so perhaps indeed it really was all, every head of household in that area likely heard of Paul and his message and miracles.


The author of Acts tends to exaggerate, part of his style (hyperbole).

2:5 Jews of every nation under the heavens.

2:44 All who believed lived together

4:47 having favor with the whole people

9:35 All the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon who saw him turned to the Lord

13:44 on the coming sabbath almost all the town (gather to the synagogue, must have been a big one)

19:10 so that all the inhabitants of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard about the word of the Lord.

19:27 she whom all Asia and the whole world worship

21:21 that you teach all the Jews who live among Gentiles to abandon Moses

25:24 He it is about whom the whole Jewish community has appealed to me, both here and in Jerusalem

26:20 to all the country of Judea (Paul's teaching mission)

So things should not be taken literally, but a point was being made: a lot.

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