Every Tuesday night I go to church for Intermediate Doctrine II which is a class where my pastor teaches us different aspects of the Bible and how to look for things that may not be in plain sight, etc.
Last night we focused on one verse and we examined it to see what it was saying “between the lines.” The verse was John 3:16 which says:
“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
The point of the class was to go over each word, or group of words, and see what exactly it was talking about and what it referred to; and not only making salvation the main point but understanding how they all connected. So my pastor took each word, gave it a “definition” as to what it referred to, and showed us how each word represented a major occurrence or accomplishment in a Christian’s walk and life.
- “For” : This word is the biggest explanation ever given as to why the sacrifice happened which was hidden for many years and was revealed through Jesus Christ.
- “God” : The biggest divine being. No one in all of the universe could ever compare to His magnificence.
- “so“ : The biggest intensity. In another version, The Living Bible, it says “for God loved the world SO MUCH…” This goes to show the intensity of God’s love for humanity.
- “loved“ : The biggest commandment. God commands us to love one another the way we love ourselves; 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. Everywhere in the Bible you can see God’s love being mentioned, His immense love for us, our love for Him and for one another. In this context the word love is “agape,” which literally means love for God.
- “the world“ : The biggest objective. The word world is “kosmos,” which not only refers to our earth, but to the whole universe and everything else that lives in it. Of course we, as humans, have the biggest privilege to marry Jesus Christ and become His Bride, but there are other celestial beings (1 Corinthians 15:40) that will know about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. But, thankfully, He chose us to be his objective for sacrificing His own life and saving us.
- “that He gave” : The biggest virtue. Acts 20:35 talks about how it is better to give than to receive. God let go a part of Himself, gave up his only begotten Son, for us. If that isn’t the biggest act of giving, then I dont know what is.
- “His one and only Son” : The biggest sacrifice. One can understand, and maybe even sympathize with God, that giving up your only son must be a terribly difficult thing to do. But Jesus wasn’t just His only Son, He was the only one in His kind. In The King James Version it says He gave His “only begotten son;” the word “begotten” is past tense for “beget” which means to bring about. But in Spanish the verse says “dio a su hijo unigenito,” that word unigenito literally means “one gene.” This means that Jesus wasn’t just God’s only Son, but the only one who had one specific, or special, set of genes. Jesus was not born from man and woman, He is one with God, He IS God. But in order to be able to sacrifice His own life, He must have taken another form, another gene in his being to be able to give up His celestial body for a human one. But even as he was human, he still remained the only begotten, “monogened” being in the universe. In this context the word son is “huios” which means son, but a matured son.
- “that” : The biggest achievement. God didn’t just give up Jesus for fun, or because He wanted to prove anything, he did it so THAT we could come to Him and be saved.
- “whoever” : The biggest intention. Jesus’ intention for His sacrifice was so that anyone who believes in Him can be saved. He didn’t specify or mention a certain group of people, His sacrifice was dedicated for everyone, everywhere.
- “believes in Him” : The biggest condition. Jesus gave up His life to save us, the only condition, or catch if you wanna be more modern, is that we have to believe in Him in order to receive that beautiful gift. We need to have FAITH.
- “shall not perish” : The biggest punishment. This word perish doesn’t only mean dying in flesh but it mostly refers to death in the spirit. We can be healthy, alive, active, etc. but if our spirit is dead then it is of no use because, ultimately, the place where we will end up in is not Heaven. That is why we have to receive Jesus Christ in our hearts, so that we won’t perish spiritually and live in Him.
- “but have eternal life” : The biggest gift. Seriously, who can argue with this one? There is no greater gift than the one Jesus gave us, which is to live eternally with Him through His sacrifice. In this context, the word life means “zoe” and according to New testament Greek Lexicon and Strong Dictionary it means “of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God…”
This is such a small part of this verse, it has so much more meaning and depth to it. It truly encompasses every aspect of a Christian’s life and walk with God. Now all we have to do is receive Him in our hearts and grow in our relationship with Him, and await His return for us.