Greetings, friends. Quite often, when I’m reading Scripture, I have a ‘wow’ moment when a passage speaks to me in a way it didn’t previously. Today I’d like to share a new understanding I came to of perhaps the most quoted verse in the Christian Bible, John 3:16.
The ESV translation says this:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
There are other translations that say ‘everlasting life’, ‘only begotten Son’, ‘whosoever believeth’ and other slight variations, but the meaning tends to be the same.
However! There’s a footnote in the ESV version (my favourite translation) which says that the first phrase, ‘For God so loved the world‘ can just as well be translated from the Greek as ‘For this is how God loved the world‘.
The difference may seem minor, but this blew my mind! You see, my whole blogging life I have written about the absolute sovereignty of God, and the understanding of Christianity that I have come to embrace depicts God as the author of creation, who is animating and unfolding all events (hence the title of my book, God’s Grand Game).
The alternative translation of the Greek, quoted above, perfectly aligns with my worldview. The difference is significant; instead of the meaning being ‘God loved the world to such an extent that he gave his only Son…‘, the meaning becomes ‘God chose to express his love for the world by giving his only Son…‘. I feel this is a significant difference because it puts God more firmly in the creatorial driving seat.
If any scholars of Greek would like to shed further light on the verse in a way that my limited education does not allow, please feel free to leave a comment below. God bless you all and thank you for reading.