Singular and Plural Address in the Scriptures


Table of Contents

Steeped in post-Enlightenment philosophy with its primary focus on the individual, modern readers may unwittingly assume that the Lord likewise is focused solely on individuals when he promises blessings or assigns responsibilities. Although the scriptures contain many instances where the Lord speaks to individuals separately, he also speaks to the Church or his people collectively. It is not always easy to distinguish between these two modes of address, especially because the English pronoun you can be either singular or plural. However, awareness of this linguistic issue can improve our reading of the scriptures, at times revising our understanding substantially.