I’m excited to share this post with you, and not just because it has to do with Texas. John Dyer, who is an excellent Bible scholar and technological thinker, has created a web plug-in that solves a problem that has plagued Bible readers for centuries.
In English, there is no difference between “you” (singular, referring to one person, as in “will you marry me?”) and “you” (plural, referring to multiple people, as in “would you like a table for four?”).
Interestingly, Texas (where John Dyer is from), solves this problem with “y’all.” Y’all provides a different word that refers to the plural you. This is quite handy, eliminating confusion.
So what does this have to do with the Bible? Well, quite a bit. In English Bibles, it is often hard to know when a command or a statement refers to just one person (“you”) or multiple people (“you”). Take for example 1 Corinthians 3, which we recently studied in our Under Construction sermon series. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” If this is singular you, then this becomes a statement about individual believers. Yet, as we learned in that series, this is a plural you, referring to the church as God’s temple. That changes the meaning. Yet without knowing Greek, there is no easy way for a Bible reader to know if this is referring to one person or to multiple people. Until now.
John Dyer has created a web plug-in that converts all of the plural “you” in the Bible to “y’all.” It might seem a bit silly at first, but this is a very helpful way to read passages and understand if they are individual commands/directives or if they are communal. You can also modify the word “y’all” to match your own regional dialect (such as “you guys,” “you lot,” or “yinz.”)
Find out more and download the plug in here: http://donteatthefruit.com/2013/05/texas-bible-second-person-plural-chrome-extension/
Let me know what you think of it. This is sure to take y’alls Bible study to the next level.
As a side note, for any of you who are interested in technology, I’d highly recommend John’s book From the Garden to the City. It is a thought provoking look at the intersection between technology and theology.