John 3:16

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Archei, Jan 1, 2006.

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  1. Archei

    Archei
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    In my greek classes in college, so far, much has been made of this verse and its apparent misinterperetation based on the phrasing in almost every bible printed so far.
    I'm sure we all know it, but for reference, it has traditionally been translated,
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    But, a ways through my entry level class, my professor noted that the greek word for "so," or Houtos, is an adverb of manner, not magnitude. In layman's terms, that means it should be understood as "In this manner," or "like so," and not "so much." Now, when the KJV was translated, it was appropriate to translate that with the word, "so," such as in the constructions, "do it like so," "so speaks the Lord," "It is so," "so let it be written, so let it be done." etc...
    Technically, that's still the way it has to be understood in modern english as well.

    However, the english language has changed somewhat, and the poetic, "I love you so" with an implied "much" after "so" entered into the vernacular, confusing the matter and giving some the impression that the verse means "God loved the world so much." Some paraphrases even print it that exact way. I've only run across one translation that actually translates it "this is the way in which God loved the world:", the ISV, which defends its choice here: ISV

    So, I have two questions. First, which way have all of you understood this verse? Second, since my professors have made a seemingly ironclad case for this reading, does anyone know of a dissenting view?
     
  2. standingfirminChrist

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    Regardless if we say God loved the world so much, or we say God loved the world in such a manner, the love had to have been on of magnitudinous proportions. I mean, how many dads would send their children to die for people who did not even care to recognize him? Yet that is exactly what God did.
     
  3. russell55

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    The NET Bible translates it like this:
    but gives this translation note:
    You can read the note without the font problems by looking up John 3:16
    here.
     
  4. James_Newman

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    He loved the world more than you or I ever did. That is so.
     
  5. Keith M

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    Apparently the translators of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) had the same understanding of the passage.

     
  6. John of Japan

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    Hi, Archei.

    The problem with many Greek professors is that they have never learned a foreign language other than dead languages, and thus are not always sure how words are used in a living language.

    What must be studied (other than the immediate context) to determine the meaning of a word is the usage of it. (The etymology, or origin, of the word is helpful, but not nearly so important.) In many cases, this one included, we find that there is more than one usage or meaning of the word. We call this phenomenon (how wide a set of meanings a words has) "range of meaning" or "semantic range."

    In this case, the Greek word outws appears 206 times in the Greek TR NT. In most cases it is clearly an adverb of manner and should be translate "In this way," or something similar. However, in Rev. 16:18, the word outws is just as clearly used as an adverb of magnitude.

    So, in other words, what russell55 quoted from the notes of the Net Bible is exactly right. (Good job, russell55! [​IMG] ) The word could be translated either way in John 3:16. The context doesn't tell us, and the meaning comes clear either way. For myself, I believe the word "so" is a good one here, being an English word that can carry either meaning, and the ambiguity of the original can be preserved in the translation. [​IMG]
     
  7. robycop3

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    Looks as if Standingfirminchrist hit the nail on the head. God loved the world in a manner we aren't capable of. Nor are we capable of the magnitude of His love. This is shown by the fact that He is omnipotent, but still sent His only Son to suffer and die a painful, shameful death in OUR behalf!
     
  8. DeadMan

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    My understanding is as you have stated, Archei, but it doesn't change the point of the verse nor the Gospel message.
     
  9. TCassidy

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    I have always understood the verse to mean "in this way" and not "in this amount."
    There can be no dissenting view proffered by anyone with even a basic knowledge of Greek grammar, or English grammar, for that matter. [​IMG]
     
  10. nate

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    The ISV is a great translation and it very accurate I hope it gets a lot of usage! 2. No I don't think there is.
     
  11. Hope of Glory

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    CLV: John 3:16
    For thus God loves the world, so that He gives His only-begotten Son, that everyone who is believing in Him should not be perishing, but may be having life eonian.

    REB: John 3:16
    For God, so loved, the world, that, his Only Begotten Son, he gave,—that, whosoever believeth on him, might not perish, but have life age-abiding.
     
  12. gb93433

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    "Adverbs of manner answer the question "How?" (p. 197, Richard A. Young, Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and Exgetical Approach)
     
  13. gb93433

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    That is what I was taught too.
     
  14. Archei

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    This is interesting... I've always found that baptists have held to the "this way" position much more than other denominations, but I'm not sure exactly why...
     
  15. John of Japan

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    We Baptists like to deal in absolutes, like the "Sith" (according to George Lucas). No middle ground for us! :D
     
  16. pinoybaptist

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    Yeah, so much so that He will destroy the world one day.
    So much for that love.
     
  17. James_Newman

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    He already destroyed it once, and yes He will do it again. But He is giving every opportunity for repentance. Why would you accuse the Lord of being unloving? By all rights He should have destroyed us all long ago.

    2 Peter 3:9-10
    9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
     
  18. DesiderioDomini

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    This is an odd discussion. Honestly, I dont see a difference either way you look at it, and I am unsure as to how anyone else could either.

    So, I go against the baptist way, and I say I think it is both. He loved the world "that much" and he loved it "in that way". 6 of one, half dozen......
     
  19. TCassidy

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    If God loved the world so much (expression of quantity) He gave His only born Son, the unbeliever could claim the love of God, apart from the sacrifice of Christ, and expect heaven as his destiny.

    However, if God loved the word in this manner (expression of quality) that He gave His only born Son, then the unbeliever could not claim the love of God, for God loved the world by giving Christ, and by denying Christ the unbeliever denies the very love of God and thus has no claim.

    Christian Theology 101.
     
  20. DesiderioDomini

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    How exactly could the unbeliever claim that when the bible clearly states that "no one comes to the father except through me"?

    If we take ONE CLAUSE of the bible and divorce it from the rest, we can claim whatever we want. It doesnt make it so.

    The unbeliever can claim whatever he wishes about God's love from this reading. However, in order to claim what you propose, he must ignore God's justice. This is usually the problem with bad theology, it usually ignores one passage in favor of those which more closely align with the theologian's beliefs.

    God loved (and loves) the world with amazing passion. He does not wish that any perish. What part of this guarantees eternal life for the unbeliever?
     
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