“Many” means “All” in Romans 5:15

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (ESV)


As much as I like the ESV, I suspect the Calvinistic bias of the translators and publisher (Crossway) is showing up here. The reason why I think that, is because the ESV is stated as:
“if many”
“abounded for many”
The Greek manuscripts has the word “the” before “many” in both cases. The following literal translations confirm this to be true:
15 {But the gift is not like the trespass}, for if by the trespass of the one, the many died, by much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, multiply to the many. (LEB)


15 But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many. (ASV)
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. (NASB)


15 But, not as the offence so also [is] the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many; (YLT)


15 But the free gift is not also like the deviation. For if by the deviation of the one the many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift in grace, which is of the one Man, Jesus Christ, did abound to the many. (Green’s Lit Trans)


The following translations also include the “the” before “many”: NET, NIV, CSB.


Furthermore, Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament confirms the inclusion of “the” before “many.”
Let’s compare the two readings:


“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” ESV
“But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” NASB
In the ESV rendering, “abounding for many” could be used to support limited atonement that Christ only died for the “elect” (as weak as that argument would be within the context of this passage). But as the Greek supports, “the many” who died obviously refers to all mankind, for “all have sinned” (Ro 3:23). Therefore, “the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many,referring to all mankind.


Therefore, what the Greek is saying is, that all have sinned, and therefore all have died, and so the grace of God extends to all mankind.


I need to point out, that even though the ESV is incorrect in this verse, still using their rendering, it can still be shown from the text, that the grace of God extends to all:
Verse 18 says:
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” ESV


We are all condemned because we are all sinners, thus we have all have died spiritually. Therefore, “justification and life” extends to “all men.” The Bible obviously does not teach universal salvation, where everyone gets saved. This verse is simply declaring that “justification and life” has been provided for everyone through the sacrifice of Christ. In other words, salvation is available to all mankind.
Verse 19:
“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” ESV


Here the ESV includes “the” before “many,” as they should have done in verse 15. Again, Paul is not teaching that everyone will get saved. It supports what he said in the previous verse, that salvation has been provided for everyone.
All (the many) were made sinners by the disobedience of one man (Adam), and righteousness (salvation) has been provided for and available to all (the many) by the obedience of one man (Jesus).


This passage (Romans 5:12-21) provides one of the clearest statements of unlimited atonement in the Bible. Limited atonement has to be forced into it in order to get it to conform to Calvinistic/Reformed theology.