SINGULAR AND PLURAL (Galatians 3:16)
God is a DELIBERATE God. He is not frivolous in His Words or Acts. I learned that early in my walk with Him.
There are examples in Scripture that attest to this.
He told Adam in the Garden of Eden: “Do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: the day you do, YOU WILL DIE!” (Genesis 2:17). That is a very explicit instruction; no ambiguity.
But in the discussion Eve had with the Serpent on this, she somehow misquoted God. She said, “God said we should not eat of it, NEITHER SHOULD WE TOUCH IT, else we die.” She added the “touch” part to it, which was not in the original instruction God gave.
We may overlook it or explain it away, but EVE MISQUOTED GOD. The irony is, we do this often as Believers. We add or subtract from God’s words, thereby reducing its potency.
In another example, the Israelites had a water problem in the wilderness. They started murmuring and God intervened by giving Moses an instruction: “SPEAK to the Rock, water will come out of it”, God told him. Moses did not SPEAK to the Rock: he STRUCK it with his rod twice (Numbers 20: 8-11). Water came out quite all right. But God saw that act as disobedience and Moses did not enter the Promised Land as punishment for not taking God’s detailed instructions seriously.
Decades later, God gave another instruction to King Saul through Prophet Samuel: “Kill ALL the Amalekites, destroy ALL their cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, everything!” King Saul spared the Amalakite King and the best cattle. He tried to justify it, but God would have nothing of it and Saul lost the Kingdom because of it.
We MUST always know God is NEVER frivolous with His Words or Actions. He always knows and means exactly whatever He says and does. Nothing is said or done in error.
Now, going further I notice there are times God uses words in singular or plural form. This IS also deliberate! He had a conversation with Abraham: “I will bless you, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the sea shore; your seed shall possess the gates of his enemies and through your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 22: 17-18). Do you notice anything here? God used the word SEED, singular! Paul broke it down in his epistle to the Galatians: “The promises were made to Abraham and his SEED: He didn’t say SEEDS meaning MANY (plural); but SEED (singular), meaning ONE, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). See that? God knew what He was saying when He used that SINGULAR word! This is a detail we may miss when studying scripture if we are not very observant.
Jesus gave a similar singular/plural instruction to Peter: “Launch out into the deep and let down your NETS (plural) for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Peter’s response is very interesting: “Master, we have worked all night, we caught nothing. But because you say so, I will let down my NET (singular)” (Luke 5:5).
He did. And he had a large haul of fish! Now, imagine he had let down several NETS? There was capacity to do much more than he did! No wonder when next Jesus gave him fishing instruction again, He told him: “Cast your NET (singular) on the right side of the ship…” John 21:6.
Going further into the Book of Galatians, Paul brought up this singular/plural dichotomy again. He wrote, “The ACTS (plural) of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, jealousy, anger, drunkenness, orgies etc.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
The next 2 verses are quite revealing! “But the FRUIT (singular) of the Spirit IS love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (verse 22-23).
In other words, ALL these virtues are categorized as ONE FRIUT: either you have them ALL or you don’t. There are no half-measures…