A Defense of Unlimited Atonement


An Analysis Of Key Scripture Passages

Hebrews 2:9

The translators of the Authorized Version (KJV) rendered this phrase, "that He...should taste death for every man." Other standard versions have done likewise: "for every one" (NASV); "for everyone" (NIV); "for every individual person" (Amplified); "for every man" (R.V.); "for every one" (RSV), etc. This is a case where those holding to a limited atonement are forced to re-translate. For example, in The Christian Counselor’s New Testament by Jay Adams, a reformed Christian, the passage is rendered: "that...He might taste death for all sorts of persons." This is a case of amending the text in order to fit one’s theology. Likewise the New Geneva Study Bible says that "every man" (v.9) refers to the "many sons" of verse 10. This would mean that "every man" does not really mean "every man," but it refers only to the elect. Why do Reformed scholars insist upon this? Because their theological system demands it.

The Greek scholar, Dean Alford, explains the true significance of this term: "If it be asked, why pantos (each) rather than panton (all), we may safely say that the singular brings out, far more strongly than the plural would, the applicability of Christ’s death to each individual man" (New Testament for English Readers, p. 1459). Westcott agrees: "Christ tasted death not only for all but for each" (The Epistle to the Hebrews, p.46).

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