In Matthew 26, Jesus said,

Matthew 26:28: For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.

And In Isaiah, please take note the word “many”

Isaiah 53:11b-12

Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; And he shall take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.

Is “for many” the same meaning as “for all”? If Jesus died for all, this would mean it includes those other religion who don’t believe or reject Jesus as their God. If the answer is yes, this would contradict the passage in the Gospel of John,

John 14:6 (RHE): Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.

  • Jesus died for all mankind to have an opportunity to attain to forgiveness of sin. We have to trust that God has a fair way to make sure each human who ever lived gets a chance to accept or reject Jesus and the ransom sacrifice.
    – Kris
    Jan 28, 2020 at 2:20
  • According to the Catholic Church the only way to be saved is to become part of the Body of Christ through baptism according to the Trinitarian formula (CCC 1256 and 1257). One must also die free from mortal sin (CCC 1033). A perfect contrition can also obtain forgiveness (CCC 1452). Doesn't look like "many" means "all". Perhaps the best answer given to this question might be helpful to you: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1598/…
    – Lesley
    Jan 28, 2020 at 13:22
  • A good start for the meaning of “ALL “in the scriptures is biblestudytools.com/blogs/founders-ministries-blog/… There is a qualifying context to be considered each time the word all is used.
    – Kris
    Jan 28, 2020 at 14:29
  • @Kris, “ransom sacrifice “, I like this words, yes I think even if a man reject Him, it is only Him who can see our hearts and soul as He said “ father, forgive them for they don’t know what their doing”. One of His last words. Thanks for your input.
    – Kaylee A
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:18
  • @Lesley, I appreciate your catechism contribution.
    – Kaylee A
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:20

3 Answers 3


Your question is really two questions, the first is theological, the second is whether "all" and "many" are semantically synonymous enough to be interchangeable.

The second question is addressed first, because, properly understood, the Scriptures themselves will answer the first question. The adjectives, "many and "all" are not grammatically synonymous in either English or Greek ("polloi", "pas"). While both are indefinite adjectives, and used to describe/distinguish/emphasize some property of a (contextually) defined set, they address different properties. "Many" addresses the relative number in the set (not "few"). On the other hand, "all", connotes inclusion, without exception (not "some"). For illustration, many cars are red, but not all cars are red. Some are blue; some are green; a few are pink, in which, the contextually defined set is cars, and the property is color. Also, note, once having been defined, the set's identification/description is usually assumed for subsequent adjectives. This results in "floating" adjectives (an adjective without an explicitly associated focal-object). "Floating" adjectives are common within the the received (Greek) text, especially within long, complex sentences, and especially when the set's description is long, cumbersome, complex or complicated. Accordingly, in order to facilitate readability, as well as, grammatical-acceptability, translators sometimes render "floating" indefinite-inclusive adjectives as indefinite, inclusive pronouns ("all" or "each" is rendered, "everyone/everybody/everything"). A second grammatically acceptable option is to insert a plausible, numerically-indefinite noun or pronoun, immediately after the "floating" indefinite adjective. Interpretation errors result when this inserted word is inconsistent with the contextually-defined focal-set. Moreover, proper interpretation is especially difficult when the inserted word is not identified as having been "inserted". Since God is not the author of confusion (1Cor 14:33), nor ever errs or contradicts himself, erroneous insertions or interpretations cause (apparent) contradictions.

Regarding your first question, "Did Jesus die for everybody?.

1) If "many" is never synonymous with "all", because "many" never implies without exception, the answer to your first question is implicitly negated within your (Mt 26:28) quotation, namely, Jesus died for many (some, not everyone). Other similarly relevant uses of "many" include Mt 26:28 (ransom for many); Is 53:11-12 (many accounted righteous...bore the sins of many), Rom 9:28 (to bear the sins of many).

FYI: The "many/some" are elsewhere identified: Mt1:21 (His people), and Jn10:11 (for the sheep)

2) The phrase,"died for everybody" can not be found in any English Bible, nor the Greek equivalent.

3) So then, if Jesus only died for "some", what about (seemingly) contradicting verses like 2Cor 5:15, 1Tim 2:6, Heb 2:9 (died for all/everyone/all people), (ransom for all men), (tasted death for everyone)? In all three verses, a "floating" indefinite Greek adjective is either translated or interpreted outside of its locally-defined context. In all three verses, the local, contextually defined-focus is exclusive (not "everybody", nor "all men" (as usually interpreted and/or inserted). Accordingly, these verses illustrate how a strong "proof-text" for limited atonement is converted into a strong "proof-text" for unlimited atonement: by translating or interpreting one "floating" adjective, outside/beyond its locally-defined focal-context).

  • sounds like we’re in English subject school, learning about verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, subject and predicate and etc, etc. haha. Thanks for your contribution.
    – Kaylee A
    Jan 29, 2020 at 8:58
  • @Kaylee A I up-voted your question because: 1) It seemed like an honest, genuine inquiry. 2) It was brave, because it dared to inquire into a thorny theological conflict, over which both blood and ink have been spilled. As a worthy question, it seemed worthy of more than just a dogmatic opinion.
    – AFL
    Feb 1, 2020 at 5:13
  • thanks, your message seems too deep to understand. I don’t know much about theology and ponder a lot of question in my mind about God. But the funny thing when a question is there or challenge I get an immediate answer from Him and It just flow in my mind and send the message.
    – Kaylee A
    Feb 7, 2020 at 21:06
  • Outstanding! I'm a complete dunce when it comes to grammar, but I understood (most of) your explanation. Your concluding points sum the answer up beautifully.
    – Lesley
    Mar 5, 2020 at 8:39
  • "Jesus died for many (some, not everyone)"- John Calvin in his commentaries on Mathhew 20:28 has an interesting interpretation for it: Again, while Christ has purchased us by his death to be his property, this submission, of which he speaks, is so far from diminishing his boundless glory, that it greatly increases its splendor. The word many (pollon) is not put definitely for a fixed number, but for a large number; for he contrasts himself with all others. And in this sense it is used in Romans 5:15, where Paul does not speak of any part of men, but embraces the whole human race. Jan 19, 2021 at 12:27

The answer is that both "the many" and "the all" are true. The invitation is to all. Any person from any tribe, or tongue, or nation may be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and there is no particular state of a person which renders them irredeemable. That is to say, no one who earnestly applies to Christ will be told, "Nope, you are beyond saving". Also, the blood of the crucified Lord need not be shed afresh for each repentant sinner but has been shed once for all so that whoever believes may have their sin expiated rather than hearing, "Nope, you weren't accounted for in the sacrifice".

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. - Hebrews 9:24-28

Notice in the above passage how Jesus appeared once for all and, in doing so, he bore the sins of many. A limiting factor has been introduced between the available efficacy of the redeeming blood and the application of the same. The limiting factor is not in the nature of the sacrifice Himself.

Some have placed the limiting factor within the will of God and say that the blood is efficacious for all but God chooses to apply it only to some. Others have placed the limiting factor within the will of man and say the blood is efficacious for all but only some will apply. Here is a simple chart comparing these two outlooks: http://www.crivoice.org/tulip.html This is beyond the scope of your question but is useful for pointing to the fact that a limitation has appeared between "all" and "many" and the fact that this limitation has spawned opposing theologies is strong proof of it's existence.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14


"For many" in Matthew 26:28, which priests say during the consecration of the wine at Holy Mass, means that although Christ's sacrifice redeemed all men, not all, due to their sin, would profit from it.

Dom Guéranger, O.S.B., comments on the words of the consecration of the wine, in Explanation of the Prayers and Ceremonies of Holy Mass:

pro multis ["for many"] effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. This Blood shall be shed for many, unto the remission of sins. Our Faith is that it was shed for all, and not merely for a large number, but all would not profit of It for the remission of their sins.

  • Great answer about the meaning. For me, the “last supper”, was the pinnacle message in the New Testament Bible. It is the new covenant of our Lord Jesus so that mankind will be reconciled to Him in one body who is in unity with the Father and Holy Spirit.
    – Kaylee A
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:27
  • Will you specify where in the Bible it says, "Christ's sacrifice redeemed all men"
    – AFL
    Jan 29, 2020 at 5:29
  • Your O.S,B.quotation either contradicts itself, or appears to assume that "many" is completely interchangeable with "all". Please improve your answer by correcting any typo, or justifying this surprising interchangeability.
    – AFL
    Jan 29, 2020 at 6:23
  • Your answer raises several questions: If Christ's blood was shed for all (not just many) men, unto remission(forgiveness?) of sins, and all the sins of everybody are remitted/forgiven/covered by the shed blood of Christ (even blasphemy & rejection of Christ's once and forever blood sacrifice), how can a righteous God ever consider any previously remitted/forgiven sins as worthy of His righteous wrath? Wasn't Christ's shed blood sufficient to propitiate all the wrath of God?, or were only some sins remitted? And where in the Bible does it reveal this?
    – AFL
    Jan 29, 2020 at 6:57
  • @AFL It's not true that "all the sins of everybody are remitted/forgiven/covered by the shed blood of Christ" because people have freewill some do not ask for nor receive forgiveness. Christ's blood redeemed us (more-than-sufficiently paid the debt incurred by sin), but that does not mean all men are forgiven and saved.
    – Geremia
    Jan 29, 2020 at 19:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .