Thoughts on John 3:16

Everybody probably knows John 3:16 by memory. But here is the question: do we really know it by heart? I mean do we really understand the essence of what that verse is saying, the real true definition of that verse?

I think that it is my nature when I hear that verse, since it is such a “commonly used” verse to kind of overlook it at times, or not really take to heart the true message behind that verse. I am finishing up my series on “What Is The Gospel?” and I think John 3:16 is truly the gospel message. Even though everyone knows the verse, here it is again:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (NASB)

To really understand that verse, I think we have to define some terms. First, look at the word perish. Perish, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means to become destroyed or ruined; cease to exist. Wow, now look at John 3:16 and replace the word perish with that definition:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not [become destroyed or ruined; cease to exist], but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Second, look at the word eternal. Eternal, according to Merriam-Webster, means having infinite duration; continued without intermission. Now, put that definition with the definition of perish in the context of John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not [become destroyed or ruined; cease to exist], but have [infinite duration; continued without intermission] life.” – John 3:16

The third and final word for this post is the word begotten. Begotten comes from the Greek word monogenes, which is an adjective from monos meaning only and genos meaning kind. In John’s writings, the word means the only begotten Son of God in the highest sense, as alone knowing and revealing the essence of the Father. So now, put this in the context of the verse with the other definitions:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His [only kind] Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not [become destroyed or ruined; cease to exist], but have [infinite duration; continued without intermission] life.” – John 3:16

I realize that when you put in all those definitions and meanings that it may not make much sense, but I just wanted to illustrate the reality of that verse a little deeper. Here is what the Amplified Bible says:

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” – John 3:16 (Amplified)

That pretty much sums it up right there. I think when we fully understand that verse, it can truly be life altering. Even though I only concentrated on verse 16, I urge you to read the context surrounding that verse in John 3 – it is equally amazing.

May God bless you in all that you do, and may you fully trust in Him alone.

– Adam Smith

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