Saying and Meaning

I am a person from a European heritage, brought up through the Australian European teaching culture in South Australia, and speaking “Strine”. A white Australian of European heritage would understand that as the English language peppered with Australian slang. When we read a book, we understood the words that we read, and perhaps enlarged on what the words said, but in general we did not understand the deeper meanings of the words and phrases read. Makes us sound ignorant, doesn’t it.

When I first started reading the Holy Bible (Authorised King James Version), it didn’t mean a lot to me. Some of it made sense, and the rest didn’t. As I kept reading I started to learn what each word described and how it related to other words around it, but it still didn’t mean a lot. So then I found an Amplified Bible and it was really good in showing what individual words and phrases meant, but one could easily get bogged down with details and technicalities, and I was just a new Christian needing to know the meaning of what I was reading.

In current Christian circles it appears to me that there are two main positions taken in the Church in general, and emphasised throughout the majority of the Church worldwide:

  1. People are encouraged to follow Jesus, and are taught a “simple, easy Gospel”, one that encourages believers to “Believe in Christ” but without having this Gospel explained and thereby their not understanding all that this entails.
  2.  Preachers become so engrossed with expounding their intricate ideas regarding what the word of God says in a chosen verse or phrase that the hearers are unable to fully understand, and are so misled that their minds are in effect traumatised and the Gospel itself becomes confusing.
 

These two basic positions are then placed at opposites to each other to the detriment of the Church, and a minority take the balanced middle ground, with its meaning revealed to the glory of God.

I will give you an example of three verses straight from the New Testament, and the reasonable meaning. If you are a Born-again Christian, or one who professes to be a Christian, you will know the verses very well, for “Christians” everywhere speak it often, relating the words verbatim or by rote. So let’s read John 3:16, 17 and 18, and see what they say.

John 3:16 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.

Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The verses of John 3:16-18 are some of the most well-known and cherished in the Bible, and unpacking their full meaning can be quite deep and nuanced. Here’s a breakdown of each verse:

Verse 16:

For God so loved the world…”: This emphasizes the immense love God has for all of humanity, regardless of individual merit or sin.

“…that he gave his only Son…”: This highlights the immense sacrifice God made by sending Jesus, his divine Son, to Earth. The word “only” emphasizes the uniqueness and value of Jesus.

“…that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”: This clarifies the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice: to offer redemption and the possibility of eternal life for those who put their faith in him. “Perish” here isn’t just physical death, but also spiritual separation from God.

Verse 17:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world…”: This reassures us that Jesus’ mission wasn’t to judge or punish humanity, but to offer them salvation.

“…but to save the world through him.”: This reiterates the purpose of Jesus’ coming: to offer a way for humanity to be reconciled with God and experience redemption.

Verse 18:

Whoever believes in him is not condemned…”: This emphasizes the importance of faith in Jesus for overcoming condemnation and experiencing salvation.

“…but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”: This introduces the concept of condemnation due to unbelief. It doesn’t suggest automatic damnation, but rather a state of separation from God due to rejecting the only path offered for reconciliation.

Here are some additional key points to consider:

These verses form part of a broader conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, about spiritual rebirth and salvation.

The nature of “belief” can be interpreted in different ways. Some emphasise personal faith and acceptance of Jesus, while others might see it as broader commitment to living according to his teachings.

The concept of “eternal life” can also be understood in diverse ways, ranging from literal afterlife to experiencing a deep connection with God in the present. Understood correctly, it means both occurring at once without being separated from each other.

Ultimately, the full meaning of John 3:16-18 is open to interpretation and personal reflection within the context of one’s faith journey. These verses have provided comfort, hope, and inspiration for countless people throughout history, and their message of God’s love and offer of salvation continues to resonate today.

To truly understand the rich, multifaceted meanings of John 3:16-18, it’s helpful to go beyond individual verses and consider them within the context of the Gospel of John and wider Christian theology. Here’s a deeper dive:

1. Love at the Core:

  • “For God so loved the world…”: This statement starts with God’s love, not humanity’s actions. God’s love is described as agape, a selfless love that transcends human understanding. It’s not based on merit, but on God’s own nature.
  • This verse then expands “world” beyond the Jewish nation to encompass all humanity, highlighting God’s universal love.
 

2. Sacrifice and Salvation:

  • “…that he gave his only Son…”: This emphasizes the immense sacrifice involved. Jesus, fully God and fully human, was sent to Earth despite the potential cost. The word “only” indicates the unique relationship between Father and Son and the value Jesus embodies.
  • “…that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”: This clarifies the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice: to offer salvation, overcoming separation from God (perishing) and granting eternal life, which can be understood as both present connection with God and future hope.
 

3. Not Condemnation, but Reconciliation:

  • “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world…”: This reassures us that Jesus’ mission was not about punishment, but about offering a path back to God.
  • “…but to save the world through him.”: This reiterates the focus on redemption and reconciliation through Jesus, who bridges the gap between humanity and God.
 

4. Faith and the Choice of Reconciliation:

  • “Whoever believes in him is not condemned…”: This emphasizes the importance of personal faith in Jesus as the key to overcoming separation from God. However, interpretations of “belief” vary from emphasising acceptance of Jesus as Lord to living according to his teachings.
  • “…but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”: This introduces the concept of condemnation due to unbelief. It doesn’t necessarily imply automatic damnation, but rather a state of separation from God due to rejecting the path offered for reconciliation.
 

5. Context and Interpretation:

  • These verses are part of a conversation about spiritual rebirth and salvation. Understanding the wider context of John’s Gospel is crucial for interpretation.
  • Different theological interpretations emphasise various aspects. Some focus on individual salvation through faith, while others highlight social justice and living out Christ’s teachings.
 

Ultimately, the rich and complex meanings of John 3:16-18 invite ongoing reflection and interpretation within individual faith journeys. These verses continue to offer hope, comfort, and a call to respond to God’s love through faith and action.

Remember, there’s no single “correct” interpretation. Engage with different perspectives, delve deeper into scholarly resources, and most importantly, reflect on how these verses speak to your own understanding of God and your place in the world.

Having heard the way we should consider these wonderful verses, let us now take to heart their full meanings.

I am a person from a European heritage, brought up through the Australian European teaching culture in South Australia, and speaking “Strine”. A white Australian of European heritage would understand that as the English language peppered with Australian slang. When we read a book, we understood the words that we read, and perhaps enlarged on what the words said, but in general we did not understand the deeper meanings of the words and phrases read. Makes us sound ignorant, doesn’t it.

When I first started reading the Holy Bible (Authorised King James Version), it didn’t mean a lot to me. Some of it made sense, and the rest didn’t. As I kept reading I started to learn what each word described and how it related to other words around it, but it still didn’t mean a lot. So then I found an Amplified Bible and it was really good in showing what individual words and phrases meant, but one could easily get bogged down with details and technicalities, and I was just a new Christian needing to know the meaning of what I was reading.

In current Christian circles it appears to me that there are two main positions taken in the Church in general, and emphasised throughout the majority of the Church worldwide:

  1. People are encouraged to follow Jesus, and are taught a “simple, easy Gospel”, one that encourages believers to “Believe in Christ” but without having this Gospel explained and thereby their not understanding all that this entails.
  2.  Preachers become so engrossed with expounding their intricate ideas regarding what the word of God says in a chosen verse or phrase that the hearers are unable to fully understand, and are so misled that their minds are in effect traumatised and the Gospel itself becomes confusing.
 

These two basic positions are then placed at opposites to each other to the detriment of the Church, and a minority take the balanced middle ground, with its meaning revealed to the glory of God.

I will give you an example of three verses straight from the New Testament, and the reasonable meaning. If you are a Born-again Christian, or one who professes to be a Christian, you will know the verses very well, for “Christians” everywhere speak it often, relating the words verbatim or by rote. So let’s read John 3:16, 17 and 18, and see what they say.

John 3:16 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.

Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The verses of John 3:16-18 are some of the most well-known and cherished in the Bible, and unpacking their full meaning can be quite deep and nuanced. Here’s a breakdown of each verse:

Verse 16:

For God so loved the world…”: This emphasizes the immense love God has for all of humanity, regardless of individual merit or sin.

“…that he gave his only Son…”: This highlights the immense sacrifice God made by sending Jesus, his divine Son, to Earth. The word “only” emphasizes the uniqueness and value of Jesus.

“…that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”: This clarifies the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice: to offer redemption and the possibility of eternal life for those who put their faith in him. “Perish” here isn’t just physical death, but also spiritual separation from God.

Verse 17:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world…”: This reassures us that Jesus’ mission wasn’t to judge or punish humanity, but to offer them salvation.

“…but to save the world through him.”: This reiterates the purpose of Jesus’ coming: to offer a way for humanity to be reconciled with God and experience redemption.

Verse 18:

Whoever believes in him is not condemned…”: This emphasizes the importance of faith in Jesus for overcoming condemnation and experiencing salvation.

“…but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”: This introduces the concept of condemnation due to unbelief. It doesn’t suggest automatic damnation, but rather a state of separation from God due to rejecting the only path offered for reconciliation.

Here are some additional key points to consider:

These verses form part of a broader conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, about spiritual rebirth and salvation.

The nature of “belief” can be interpreted in different ways. Some emphasise personal faith and acceptance of Jesus, while others might see it as broader commitment to living according to his teachings.

The concept of “eternal life” can also be understood in diverse ways, ranging from literal afterlife to experiencing a deep connection with God in the present. Understood correctly, it means both occurring at once without being separated from each other.

Ultimately, the full meaning of John 3:16-18 is open to interpretation and personal reflection within the context of one’s faith journey. These verses have provided comfort, hope, and inspiration for countless people throughout history, and their message of God’s love and offer of salvation continues to resonate today.

To truly understand the rich, multifaceted meanings of John 3:16-18, it’s helpful to go beyond individual verses and consider them within the context of the Gospel of John and wider Christian theology. Here’s a deeper dive:

1. Love at the Core:

  • “For God so loved the world…”: This statement starts with God’s love, not humanity’s actions. God’s love is described as agape, a selfless love that transcends human understanding. It’s not based on merit, but on God’s own nature.
  • This verse then expands “world” beyond the Jewish nation to encompass all humanity, highlighting God’s universal love.
 

2. Sacrifice and Salvation:

  • “…that he gave his only Son…”: This emphasizes the immense sacrifice involved. Jesus, fully God and fully human, was sent to Earth despite the potential cost. The word “only” indicates the unique relationship between Father and Son and the value Jesus embodies.
  • “…that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”: This clarifies the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice: to offer salvation, overcoming separation from God (perishing) and granting eternal life, which can be understood as both present connection with God and future hope.
 

3. Not Condemnation, but Reconciliation:

  • “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world…”: This reassures us that Jesus’ mission was not about punishment, but about offering a path back to God.
  • “…but to save the world through him.”: This reiterates the focus on redemption and reconciliation through Jesus, who bridges the gap between humanity and God.
 

4. Faith and the Choice of Reconciliation:

  • “Whoever believes in him is not condemned…”: This emphasizes the importance of personal faith in Jesus as the key to overcoming separation from God. However, interpretations of “belief” vary from emphasising acceptance of Jesus as Lord to living according to his teachings.
  • “…but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”: This introduces the concept of condemnation due to unbelief. It doesn’t necessarily imply automatic damnation, but rather a state of separation from God due to rejecting the path offered for reconciliation.
 

5. Context and Interpretation:

  • These verses are part of a conversation about spiritual rebirth and salvation. Understanding the wider context of John’s Gospel is crucial for interpretation.
  • Different theological interpretations emphasise various aspects. Some focus on individual salvation through faith, while others highlight social justice and living out Christ’s teachings.
 

Ultimately, the rich and complex meanings of John 3:16-18 invite ongoing reflection and interpretation within individual faith journeys. These verses continue to offer hope, comfort, and a call to respond to God’s love through faith and action.

Remember, there’s no single “correct” interpretation. Engage with different perspectives, delve deeper into scholarly resources, and most importantly, reflect on how these verses speak to your own understanding of God and your place in the world.

Having heard the way we should consider these wonderful verses, let us now take to heart their full meanings.

For God

[the Supreme Spirit Being, the Almighty God, the Holy Trinity, He who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, our Saviour; He who does His Will in the army of Heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth, and NO-ONE is able to stop Him or question what He does! His Name is “He causes to Become”, or “I will be because I will be”, not incorrectly “I am that I am”)]

loved

[loved with ALL His being, is Benevolent to, wants the very best for us regardless of our religious, political, and personal beliefs, our colour of skin, our facial features, our quirks and foibles, the way we dress, and our height, width, weight, and colour of hair and eyes]

the world

[the complete world, being human and animal, solid, liquid and gas, vegetable and mineral]

so much

[so completely, with great desire, above all other things]

that He gave

[freely gave, dispatched without cost, transmitted with both hands, made to go without charge]

His only

[one and only, without any others]

begotten

[conceived by the Holy Spirit and born as a man-child]

Son

[male next of kin, honoured above all others, He who inherits all things great and small before all others]

that whosoever believeth in Him

[anyone at all, whoever makes a decision, whoever comprehends the truth, whoever has Faith (Absolute Trust in Jesus Christ and His Good News and Gospel, so that he/she continually seeks the Will of God and how it is to be done, and obeys it!) in Him and only Him, for there is no other name given among mankind whereby we are able to be saved]

should not perish

[die, expire, be eternally destroyed, die spiritually and physically decompose]

but shall have everlasting life

[receive, be given without cost or charge, inherit as a brother or sister, eternal, everlasting, physically, spiritually and completely aware, able to fully comprehend the truth of both eternal and unchanging physical and spiritual life].
[Please note smaller Point Size used from here. Should be same as previously].For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world

[to pass judgment on the people, inhabitants and dwelling places of the world];

but that the world through him might be saved

[born again, brought from death to life by the power of the eternally living Son of God, saved from death and all its evil deserts].

He that believeth on him

[has absolute Faith and Trust in Him and believes (see above) and obeys His commandments]

is not condemned

[judged guilty and condemned to die]:

but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”