Paul Speaks Southern, Y’all
Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. (NIV)
Ἀσπάζονταί σε οἱ μετ’ ἐμοῦ πάντες. ἄσπασαι τοὺς φιλοῦντας ἡμᾶς ἐν πίστει. ἡ χάρις μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν. (SBL)
In Biblical Greek and Hebrew, the pronoun “you” is expressed in singular and plural variations. We don’t have this ability in English.
Say that our friend Sam is speaking to Sally. In English he might say “I like you.”
Now, say that Sam is on stage speaking to a crowd. In English, he would again say “I like you.” The word “you” is used in both singular and plural situations.
In the Koine Greek of the Bible, these two phrases would differ, with separate wording for singular and plural “you,” and the use of some variant of the Greek word σὲ / se in the singular situation.
Our Bible Bits verse comes from Paul’s letter to Titus. It comes from the last verse of the book. The New International Version treats it like this:
Titus 3:15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. (NIV)
English translations nearly always use one or the other of two choices to translate the final two words of the Greek of Titus 3:15. Some use “you all” and others use “all of you.”
Ἡ χάρις μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν. (WH-NA27)
Grace be with you all. (NIV)
May God’s grace be with you all. (NLT)
Grace be with you all. (ESV)
Grace be with you all. (NASB)
Grace be with you all. (NET)
Grace [be] with you all. (Darby)
Grace be with you all. (Phillips)
Grace be with you all. (Complete Jewish)
Grace be with you all. (ERV)
May grace be with you all. (Weymouth)
Grace be with you all. (New Heart)
Grace be with all of you. (Berean)
Grace be with all of you. (Holman)
[God’s] good will be with all of you. (God’s Word)
Grace be with all of you. (NABRE)
Grace be with all of you. (NRSV)
Grace to all of you. (MSG)
None of these, however, capture the nuance of the Greek text.
Ἡ χάρις μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν (Westcott-Hort with Nestle-Aland-27 variants]
………………….. pantōn hymōn
………………….. all of you all
The Greek text ends with these two words: πάντων ὑμῶν. Paul inserts the word “all” πάντων / pantōn before the already plural Greek word ὑμῶν / hymōn (= “of you”).
The latter of these words, ὑμῶν, is the plural form of genitive possessive pronoun “you,” or, rather, “of you.” It could very well, on its own, be translated loosely as “you all.”
The first of these words, πάντων, is the word “all.”
The extra word πάντων (all) is therefore not necessary. It is also unusual for it to be used in this manner, and therefore indicates — unless it is a textual error of some sort — that writer Paul had some deliberate purpose for placing it there.
Bible Bits does not know Biblical Greek or Hebrew well enough to translate the original texts of the Bible into English, but if we did, our version of Titus 3:15 would end like this:
Grace be with all of y’all.
Grace be with all of you guys.
Our Bible Bit here is not however about colloquial or regional English expressions, but is instead about Paul’s redundant use of the word “all.” A more glaring translation of this “unnecessary” use of “all” would be one of these:
Grace be with y’all all.
Grace be with all of y’all.
Grace be with all of you all.
The word “y’all” is already plural. The expression “you guys” is already plural. There is no need for “all of y’all” or “all of you guys.”
Why did Paul do this?
The Reform Study Bible suggests that Paul wanted to ensure that the letter to Titus was read and circulated to the full Christian congregation of believers on Crete. So he doubled up the “all.”
Does your commentary or study Bible make note of this? Can you find a good commentary on line regarding the extra “all?”
For those of you who understand Koine Greek parts of speech and case, here’s the breakdown of the final two words of Titus 3:15. And, as a final note, be aware that modern Greek differs from Biblical Greek, so be cautious when using online Greek translators as you go poking around on this Bible Bit.
part of speech and case:
adjective of case genitive, masculine, plural
personal possessive pronoun of case genitive, 2nd person, plural
By the way: Some of the Greek texts and several of the English translation add the word “Amen” to the verse, making it the last word. You will see this in the King James and any translation following the Textus Receptus Greek. We have set these passages aside for this Bible Bits for reasons of clarity, and not because we have any issues with the TR. We do not.