Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Importance of "YA'LL"


One of the unfortunate problems of the English Language is how the word “you” can be either singular or plural.  This usually doesn’t present itself as much of a problem in our daily lives but can really skew our understanding of many verses in the Bible and thus cause a lot of misunderstanding of important passages.   For instance, most of the times that Paul uses “you” in his letters to various churches it is of the “you” plural variety.  This means that Paul was addressing people in community.  He was speaking not simply to individuals privately trying to work out their faith alone but to a community of people who were following Christ together.  There is a big difference between these two approaches! 

So when Paul says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own (1Cor 6:19)” he is saying “you community of people in Corinth who are following Jesus together are the temple of the Holy Spirit.”  Shane Hipps, author of Flickering Pixels, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, offers a great solution to this problem, a solution which is right in front of our faces, at least here in the South—YA’LL.  People in the South have come up with a way of differentiating between you singular and you plural by using ya’ll (I use it all the time myself without thinking much about it).  “Ya’ll” hasn’t really caught on in the rest of the country but I think it should.  In fact I think it would do us good to have all of the “you” plurals of the Bible changed to “ya’lls”.  It seems that this would do a lot more for helping us to live a faith that is connected with others in the journey.  So if any Bible translators out there are reading this blog, that’s my vote!  Ya’ll come back and read this blog again!

1 comment:

Peter said...

I remember reading a critique of the NIV for that reason, and it's something I hadn't thought much about before. As one who grew up in Houston, I second the vote for y'all to make its way into a translation ;-). Cowboy International Version?