The Missing You’pl

The English language is both complex in its grammatical construction, and extensive in its range of vocabulary.  And yet, as is the case with any language, it falls short in some areas of lexical equivalence when compared with other languages. Thus translations into English sometimes fall short of the original meaning in the original language. One obvious area of deficit that linguists and laymen alike notice is with  English pronouns.  English is missing a word for you–plural.  The second person pronoun remains the same whether the intended meaning is singular or plural. Many colloquial substitutes have arisen, ya’ll, yins, you’ins  and yins guys to name a few. But none of these have been accepted into what might be considered mainstream American English.  Therefore, I have taken upon myself to create a word that will satisfy this grammatical deficit and meet the standard of American English speakers across the country. I call this missing pronoun, “you’pl”–which is a perfectly constructed pronoun contraction from the two words, you and people–and it can easily be remembered by thinking you plural.

But alas, my savvy with language doesn’t really solve the problem, because we are missing far more than a term. We are missing a greater community. Often in the New Testament, especially in Paul’s writings, we miss the original plural meaning of the message, and thus we function based on a singular understanding of many passages that were intended to be corporate in scope. We live independent Christian lives, claiming “personal promises” from God’s Word, overlooking the communal intent.

For example, in Philippians 2:13 Paul says, “…For God is working in you’pl giving you’pl the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” While it is true that God works in each one of us by His Spirit to give us both the desire and power to please Him, the part that is equally true, but somehow missed, is that God is working in us as a body of believers giving us corporately the desire and power to please Him. God intended for His body to function together, to build one another up and motivate to growth and glory. As His body we can do, we can be, we can experience so much more!  God designed us for community–with Him, and with His family. Sadly, so many times we relegate that community to a few hours on Sunday morning, missing the intention of body life for every minute of every day.

Recently I was reading a blog post by a Christian author I highly esteem. In no way do I mean to malign his teaching, but I was disappointed when I read the following: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Another way of saying this is, “God has already given me everything I need for life and godliness.” Actually this verse clearly says that God’s power “has given to us everything for life and godliness.” This is one more example of our egocentric focus when we read and apply Scripture.

God is intimate. God is personal. God is relational. But God is also communal. And His intention for us is that we live in intimate, personal, relational community! Let’s not miss out! Put the you’pl in its proper place in your’pl lives!


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