Saturday, May 28, 2011
Saturday Scripture Speaks
"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." John 3:16 (KJV)
This afternoon I read a friend's status on Facebook, and the consequent comments, and I immediately thought of John 3:16. You see, my friend is a staunch Calvinist and he was talking about his belief that man has no free will. In other words, a person becomes a Christian because God ordained before He ever created the world that he would do so. In essence, he has no choice whatsoever in the matter. Conversely, another man rejects God because God ordained that man's destiny as well.
As I was reading the Facebook comments, I was reminded of a previous pastor who told his congregation that, in John 3:16, God does not mean He loves the whole world, that the word "world" is actually talking about those He chose to love, not those He chose to hate. Hmm.
If you know me, you know that I can't just accept that without checking it out for myself. I bought a book called The Other Side of Calvinism by Laurence M. Vance and I read that very large book (more than 700 pages) cover to cover. It's fascinating reading, by the way.
I spent a little time tonight studying and searching out the Greek words used in John 3:16. The Greek word used for "world" in John 3:16 is kosmos. Sound a little like our English word for universe, cosmos? It should, because, basically, it's talking about the same thing, the orderly universe created by God. God the Father loves each and every person and He does not want any of them to perish - to say that He only loves a small select few is false.
Here is what John 3:16 means, using the original Greek:
Gar (for - a conjunction used to explain a foregoing statement) Theos (God - the Father, the Savior, the One Who gave His Son) houtos (so - a tremendous degree) agapao (loved - a love so deep that only God could give it, a love that causes one to seek out the grace of God) kosmos (the world - His created universe) hoste (that - inasmuch as) didome (He gave - He delivered, gave, brought forth, committed) autos (His - Himself)
monogenes (only begotten - child) huios (Son - child, son), albeit (that - because) pas (whosoever - all, any) pisteuo (believeth - commit to, put in trust) eis (in - abundantly) autos (Him - the same, Himself) apollumi (should perish - destroy, die, perish) me (not - never) alla (but - nevertheless) echo (have - be possessed with) aionios (everlasting - forever) zoe (life - lifetime).
However, God is a just God and He punishes sin. Those who refuse to "believeth in Him" will face that judgment.
*Most info taken from: The Golden Text and Scripture Text.