In a talk I heard yesterday, the speaker said “In the Bible the word ‘saint’ never occurs in the singular, only in the plural.” To some extent this sounded (unfortunately, and I think unintentionally) a little like one of those clichés beloved of Protestant polemics.
It is, of course, true in the senses that a) the Bible isn’t written in English, so neither the singular nor plural of the word ‘saint’ is found therein; and b) no English translation uses the word ‘saint’ in the singular. However, it is not true that the Greek word whose plural is often translated “saints” never occurs in the singular.
The word, an adjective used as a noun, is regularly used as an appellation of God in the Greek Old Testament. Daniel uses it to refer to an angel (Dan 8:13), but the main singular use for someone other than YHWH seems to be as some kind of title ascribed to Jesus. He is the “holy one of God” (Mk 1:24 = Lk 4:34; Jn 6:69), “your [God’s] holy one” (Ac 2:27, 13:35) or simply “the holy one” (Rev 3:7).
The translating tradition has made a decision here. That decision is to treat the singular title ho hagios (ὁ ἅγιος) used of Jesus as having more in common with the title used of God in the OT than with the plural title hoi hagioi (οἱ ἅγιοι) used by Paul (following some other OT precedents) of the members of his churches.
The statement I started with, “In the Bible the word ‘saint’ never occurs in the singular, only in the plural.” is truly a matter of interpretation. Saint Jesus, anyone?