What If We Got John 3:16 Wrong?

I was reading a post written by my friend Ian Paul on his fantastic blog today as I prepare for my talk on Sunday night where I’ve been going through the Lord’s Prayer.

At theological college Ian was always the smartest guy in the room, and I highly commend you subscribe to the blog as I do. There’s always so much to think about even in the throwaway lines, as he boldly goes where Anglicans usually fear to tread.

In this example, Ian mentions as a Greek scholar something which has quite profound implications that I want to ponder. Ready?

“John 3.16 does not mean what most people think: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son…’ but rather ‘God loved the world in this way that he gave his only Son…’ That was the meaning of ‘so’ in 1611 but is no longer today—but the traditional rendition is so powerful that even Bible translators have lacked the courage to make this clear.”

I love it!

It’s the manner of love that’s being described and not the measure. The word ‘so’ is not saying ‘how much’, but acting as an adjective, helping us understand and describing how the Father loves the world. It’s quality, not quantity.

Brilliant. Isn’t the Bible amazing?

I so love John 3:16 even more now! Thanks Ian.