Understanding John 3:16

from John Samson at  Reformation Theology

I wrote a short article on this verse some time back. In one section I wrote: It may come as a big surprise to learn that in the original Greek of John 3:16, there is no word “whoever.” The word “whoever” is expressing a phrase in Greek which is difficult to express smoothly in English.
Literally, the text reads “in order that every the one believing in Him, not to perish, but have everlasting life.” It says “every” or “all the one believing…” That’s hard to express in English, but in essence, it is saying “all the believing ones.” That’s what is being communicated. It is saying that there is no such thing as a believing one who does not receive eternal life, but who perishes. Though our English translation says “whoever believes” the literal rendering is accurately translated as “every believing one” and the emphasis is NOT AT ALL on the “whosoever” but on the belief. The ones BELIEVING will not have one consequence but will have another. They will not perish but will have everlasting life.

Why? Because of the main verb – because God GAVE His Son. God gave His Son for the purpose (Greek: hina) that every believing one should not perish, but that every believing one should have everlasting life.

The text (John 3:16) actually speaks of a limitation of a particular rather than a universal redemption, for clearly, not everyone will be saved, but only those who believe in Christ. The Father gave His Son for the purpose of those who believe. The Son is given so that the believing ones will not perish, but opposite to that, have eternal life. That is the purpose of the giving.

So, what John 3:16 teaches is:
ALL who do A (believe in Him)
will not B (perish)
but will have C (everlasting life)

What does this text tell us about who WILL believe or who CAN believe? The answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! The text does not address the issue of who WILL believe or who CAN believe.

However, if you do want to know John’s view on who CAN exercise faith, he does deal with that question – just not in this text. If you go back a few verses in the chapter to John 3:3, John quotes Jesus as saying “unless a man is born again he CANNOT enter the kingdom of God.” That’s clear isn’t it?….

full article here

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: