Thursday, December 22, 2005

John 3:16


Some argue that the term “world” here simply has neutral connotations—the created human world. But the characteristic use of “the world” (ho kosmos) elsewhere in the narrative is with negative overtones—the world in its alienation from and hostility to its creator’s purposes. It makes better sense in a soteriological context to see the latter notion as in view. God loves that which has become hostile to God. The force is not, then, that the world is so vast that it takes a great deal of love to embrace it, but rather that the world has become so alienated from God that it takes an exceedingly great kind of love to love it at all.

A. Lincoln, The Gospel According to St. John (Henrickson 2005), 154.



  1. Right on.

    My Pastor used that very quote in a recent sermon.

    Another thing people get hung-up on in John 3:16 is the word "so." They seem to think it's some kind of measure of love like, "so much."

    A more accurate translation might be: "In this way God loved the world..."

  2. I agree. "Enmity" in the heart of man. God is willing to reconcile rebels to himself.


  3. John Rush said that, "God is willing to reconcile rebels to Himself."

    And while that is oh so very true, it does not explain what is meant by the word 'world' in John 3:16.

    And while it is true as well that "God loves that which has become hostile to God," such a statement, like the one above first quoted, still does not explain the love of God as demonstrated by the cross, i.e., who the 'world' is in John 3:16.

    For if one means all the people, then how is Calvary an act of love for those God has not chosen? If God gave up His own Son to death, how will He not freely also give all else along with the Son to those He loves?

    The word 'world' then is a general term, meant to imply people from all over the world and in contrast, not just the Jewish people and not specifically any person.