December 21, 2022 – Wednesday
Why Jesus Came – 10
John 3:16 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 KJV
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 RGT
16 For God so loves the world, that He has given His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I believe this is the best-known verse of the Bible throughout the world. So, imagine my surprise when one Friday at work a co-worker asks me about John 3:16. Turns out she was dating a man who was attending either an Ohio State Buckeye or Cincinnati Bengals football game and told her he would be the one holding up a sign that said, John 3:16. Her question was, “What is John 3:16?” At first, I was shocked and then wondered if she was putting me on with the question. With some discernment I asked, “You really don’t know?”
She did not, so I gave her my memory version, “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” And then explained His only begotten Son was Jesus who died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. She looked at me curiously, thanked me, and returned to her work area. We never spoke of it again.
Today, I would like to speak about this verse. The KJV above is how I remembered it and how I think most people know it. However most modern versions like the NIV, ESV, the NASB and the NET use He gave His only Son or He gave His one and only Son. From the NET translation note c: It turns out the translation “only begotten,” is misleading, since in English it appears to express a metaphysical relationship. The word in Greek was used of an only child (a son as in Luke 7:12; 9:39 or a daughter as in Luke 8:42). It was also used of something unique (only one of its kind). Four translations actually use the word unique.
Included the Revised Geneva Translation (RGT) above as it has not loved, but loves. Only one other translation has loves, the New Matthew Bible. Curious I went here and found loved/loves is the Greek ἠγάπησεν (ēgapēsen) where it given as a verb, Aorist Indicative Active. Hmmm, googled aorist indicative active and found, the aorist indicative is also used to express things that happen in general, without asserting a time. I am not clear on how this should be technically read, but I like the idea that God loved us so much He gave His only Son and loves us so much the gift of His Son is still offered to this very day. MacLaren’s Expositions makes the point, Before Jesus Christ came into this world no one ever dreamt of saying ‘God loves.’ And later he adds, He loves all because He loves each. And when we say, ‘God so loved the world,’ we have to break up the mass into its atoms, and to think of each atom as being an object of His love. He loves us individually!
Bottom Line: It is God’s sacrifice of His Son, not our sacrifices that tell us the truth of God’s love for us and how much He seeks us through His Son.
Prayer: Almighty God, Your love, as so much about You, knows no bounds. We are so thankful that You love us so greatly and so deeply. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton