John 3:16 is one of the dearest of all Bible verses for many Christians. It is a great summary statement of the Gospel. But all too often the verse is miscited, misquoted, and mistranslated. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) provides a clear reading of what the Greek text is communicating.
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
The point of the text is that God showed his love by giving his son as the means of salvation to all who believe in him. However, this is not how many laymen and pastors alike understand the verse. Too often it is preached as, “For God so intensely loves you that He gave His only Son.” I suspect the New Living Translation (NLT) Bible has some responsibility in the matter. The NLT completely mistranslates the Greek:
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Beyond the NLT’s influence is most likely a deep seated sentimentalism and/or emotionalism pushed upon the very Word of God whereby the verse loses its intended meaning. In this month’s edition of SBC Life, the journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, former SBC President Dr. Frank Page misses the mark in quoting John 3:16. In the section, “A Word From Frank S. Page,” Dr. Page writes: Continue Reading…