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Hey, y'all! (Discovering the plural "you" in the New Testament)

In English, the word "you" is both singular and plural. (Y'all, yous, you guys, are all colloquial.) This fact often causes confusion, especially in written material. (Is the writer referring to all the members of a group I belong to, or to me as an individual?)

This is true when you are reading the New Testament in English. Much of it is using "you" as plural, not singular. For example: When Jesus is speaking to His disciples, that's plural; and when Paul is writing to a city-wide group of Christians in the Epistles, that's also plural. Also when James and John are writing their letters to the entire body of Christ, that's plural. (However, when Jesus is speaking to an individual, or Paul is writing to Titus or Timothy; that's singular.) Confusing isn't it?

How much doctrinal agreement is needed for Christian unity?

When Christians begin to think about and discuss unity, the question of doctrine always comes up. How do we overcome doctrinal disagreement?

Augustine, a Christian brother who lived in the fourth century, answered that question this way: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” 

Every belief system (and/or worldview) has essential beliefs. For instance, it is essential to atheism to believe that there is no such thing as God, a god, or gods. If someone believes in God, by definition, she/he is not an atheist.

John Fawcett let the living water flow in the 1700s

In 1765, John and Mary Fawcett went to minister in Wainsgate, a rural English community, described as: "farmers and shepherds, poor as Job’s turkey; an uncouth lot whose speech one could hardly understand, unable to read or write; most of them pagans cursed with vice and ignorance and wild tempers. The established church had never touched them." 

They began to minister from house to house and built a small congregation. Eventually they had four children, but at Wainsgate they struggled with very little money. Eventually John was offered a pastorate and a very good salary at a famous church in London. They decided to accept the offer.

Allelon: Discovering One Anothering

The New Testament "one anothers" are instructions directing Christians how to relate to each another. They are based on the Greek word allelon that means "one another, each other; mutually, reciprocally." The Bible even goes so far as to say, in Romans 12:5, that we "are every one members of one another."  

Jesus used allelon when He said: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Love is reciprocal. It really can't be experienced by one.

A Prayer For Christians You Disagree With

Should we pray for Christian groups that hold beliefs that we disagree with and/or that do things we don't approve of?  Jesus did. In John 17, Jesus didn't just pray for His first disciples, "but for them also who shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one."

To me, that means all true Christ-followers, in all time periods, in all nations, and in all Christian groups. Perhaps you and I also should pray for all Christians (and Christian groups), too. God wants to reach the nations. I believe that He also wants to reach the denominations.