the "World"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by zrs6v4, May 7, 2009.

  1. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    I am sure this has come up before, but I personally have been wondering about this myself. What the writers were trying to say by "World" or "Whole World". I am just trying to figure out who exactly they are referring to, and maybe the orgional language explanation might be helpful. Obviously at the first glance one would think every soul who ever walked the planet when the writer refers to the "whole world". It seems to me the three options are the Body of Christ, entire race, or not just Jews.

    Scripture by John

    1 John 2:2
    "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

    1 John 5:19
    We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    Revelation 12:9
    And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

    Revelation 3:10
    Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

    3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    Scripture by Paul

    Colossians 1:6
    which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth...

    Romans 3:19
    Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

    and

    Isaiah 27:6
    In days to come[1] Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    You missed this one:

    John 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him."
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    And this one from II Cor 5:19

    "..namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

    In this context, "world" can't mean everybody.
     
  4. ~JM~

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    The Meaning of "KOSMOS" in John 3:16

    Arthur W. Pink​

    It may appear to some of our readers that the exposition we have given of John 3:16 in the chapter on "Difficulties and Objections" is a forced and unnatural one, inasmuch as our definition of the term "world" seems to be out of harmony with the meaning and scope of this word in other passages, where, to supply the world of believers (God’s elect) as a definition of "world" would make no sense. Many have said to us, "Surely, ‘world’ means world, that is, you, me, and everybody." In reply we would say: We know from experience how difficult it is to set aside the "traditions of men" and come to a passage which we have heard explained in a certain way scores of times, and study it carefully for ourselves without bias Nevertheless, this is essential if we would learn the mind of God.
    Many people suppose they already know the simple meaning of John 3:16, and therefore they conclude that no diligent study is required of them to discover the precise teaching of this verse. Needless to say, such an attitude shuts out any further light which they otherwise might obtain on the passage. Yet, if anyone will take a Concordance and read carefully the various passages in which the term "world" (as a translation of "kosmos") occurs, he will quickly perceive that to ascertain the precise meaning of, the word "world" in any given passage is not nearly so easy as is popularly supposed. The word "kosmos," and its English equivalent "world," is not used with a uniform significance in the New Testament. Very far from it. It is used in quite a number of different ways. Below we will refer to a few passages where this term occurs, suggesting a tentative definition in each case:



    "Kosmos" is used of the Universe as a whole: Acts 17: 24 - "God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth." is used of the Universe as a whole: Acts 17: 24 - "God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth."



    "Kosmos" is used of the earth: John 13:1; Eph. 1:4, etc., etc.- "When Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end." "Depart out of this world" signifies, leave this earth. "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." This expression signifies, before the earth was founded—compare Job 38:4 etc.



    "Kosmos" is used of the world-system: John 12:31 etc. "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out"— compare Matt. 4:8 and I John 5:19, R. V.



    "Kosmos" is used of the whole human race: Rom. 3: 19, etc.—"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."



    "Kosmos" is used of humanity minus believers: John 15:18; Rom. 3:6 "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." Believers do not "hate" Christ, so that "the world" here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ. "God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world." Here is another passage where "the world" cannot mean "you, me, and everybody," for believers will not be "judged" by God, see John 5:24. So that here, too, it must be the world of unbelievers which is in view. is used of humanity minus believers: John 15:18; Rom. 3:6 "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." Believers do not "hate" Christ, so that "the world" here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ. "God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world." Here is another passage where "the world" cannot mean "you, me, and everybody," for believers will not be "judged" by God, see John 5:24. So that here, too, it must be the world of unbelievers which is in view.



    "Kosmos" is used of Gentiles in contrast from Jews: Rom. 11:12 etc. "Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel’s) fulness." Note how the first clause in italics is defined by the latter clause placed in italics. Here, again, "the world" cannot signify all humanity for it excludes Israel!



    "Kosmos" is used of believers only: John 1:29; 3:16, 17; 6:33; 12;47; I Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. We leave our readers to turn to these passages, asking them to note, carefully, exactly what is said and predicated of "the world" in each place. is used of believers only: John 1:29; 3:16, 17; 6:33; 12;47; I Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. We leave our readers to turn to these passages, asking them to note, carefully, exactly what is said and predicated of "the world" in each place.



    Thus it will be seen that "kosmos" has at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the New Testament. It may be asked, Has then God used a word thus to confuse and confound those who read the Scriptures? We answer, No! nor has He written His Word for lazy people who are too dilatory, or too busy with the things of this world, or, like Martha, so much occupied with "serving," they have no time and no heart to "search" and "study" Holy Writ! Should it be asked further, But how is a searcher of the Scriptures to know which of the above meanings the term "world" has in any given passage? The answer is: This may be ascertained by a careful study of the context, by diligently noting what is predicated of "the world" in each passage, and by prayer fully consulting other parallel passages to the one being studied. The principal subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the Gift of God. The first clause tells us what moved God to "give" His only begotten Son, and that was His great "love;" the second clause informs us for whom God "gave" His Son, and that is for, "whosoever (or, better, ‘every one’) believeth;" while the last clause makes known why God "gave" His Son (His purpose), and that is, that everyone that believeth "should not perish but have everlasting life." That "the world" in John 3:16 refers to the world of believers (God’s elect), in contradistinction from "the world of the ungodly" (2 Pet. 2:5), is established, unequivocally established, by a comparison of the other passages which speak of God’s "love." "God commendeth His love toward US"—the saints, Rom. 5:8. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth"—every son, Heb. 12:6. "We love Him, because He first loved US"—believers, I John 4:19. The wicked God "pities" (see Matt. 18:33). Unto the unthankful and evil God is "kind" (see Luke 6:35). The vessels of wrath He endures "with much long-suffering" (see Rom. 9:22). But "His own" God "loves"!!
     
  5. zrs6v4

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    thanks guys this seems to quickly answer my question for now. It was kind of bothering me.
     
  6. Allan

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    Pink is woefully and absolutely incorrect in this portion. No where in scripture is the "World" ever used or ascribed specifically to believers but in fact is consistantly used to the contrary. Scripture states that we are called out of the world, to be in the world but not of the world, seperated from the world, ect.. To try to state that world mean both the lost AND ALSO the saved in non-sensical. The term world in the OT is never used to describe God's people but the lost and sinful Gentile 'world', and since the word's definition was already established in the OT the NT would and does not make a new one for it. Everything that is defined in the OT maintains it's defintion in the NT. The NT calls us a Nation, a parcular people, ect.. These show a distinct difference being that we are in but not of the large whole. Thus we (believers) are not ever called the 'world' nor are we ever identified as the world since it's definition is already defined as being all sinful mankind - as Pink previously stated:
    It is a classic example of redefining words to prop up certain aspects of our (as in general and not just one specific group) theologies were weakness in our arguments lie.

    John 1:29 is not refering to believers as Pink wrongly assumes but is a reference to mankind in general of all ages and thus called the 'world' because we are all sinful and lost without Christ. He had come to take way the sin of the world (in general not specific as in every single person).

    John 3:16 again is used a general way of mankind for all ages. God so love the world (sinfilled people), thus His love for His creation even though seperated by sin cause Him to send His only begotten Son THAT .. So far general in terms of what He loved and now it moves into a specificness of who He will place His love upon - That whosoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. Thus the opposite is true for those who will not believe. So world still is maintaining it defintion of being of that group who is not believers. World is all encompassing (no one apart from Christ is sinless), just as 'whosoever' is all encompassing of those in the world. Where as 'believes' limits the group from all to something different and distinct FROM THE WORLD.

    Vs 17 just shouts what I said in volumes because Jesus did not come to bring judgment to the world yet, that was not His Fathers mandate yet, but bring grace and light.

    All the rest you can see it is the same thing. It is a redefined defintion of the words usage and one you will never find in any lexicon anywhere regarding biblical words and their meanings.
     
    #6 Allan, May 7, 2009
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  7. Allan

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    Actually brother it does :)

    God is 'reconciling' the 'world' meaning He is continuing to do this.
    It does not state that God has 'reconciled' the world to Himself.

    World here is a general term referencing sinful mankind, and God is going out and into every culture and people group there is (still even today).

    Thus Paul was stating God is continuing to reconcil men even now (through our ministry of reconciliation) and here after till all of His are accounted for.
     
  8. Allan

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    This statement is an exagerated statement of all men, not only Jews.
     
  9. Allan

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    Actaully John tells us 'exactly' what he means when he uses the term 'whole world' and that is specifially all lost and sinfilled man. You quoted the passages, look at them in the context they were written. The main issue here with John telling us exactly how he defines the phrase 'whole world' (and does so consistently) is when we see what John states in 1 John 2:
    Kinda throws in a small wrench, unless you try to redefine it.

    Already covered this one previously.

     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Well, if you're going to define world in this context as sinful mankind, and people groups, then I agree. I was making two points, obviously not very well. One, that the context determines the meaning. And two, in this context, world cannot be defined as every person without exception. Not all will be reconciled. You are correct, that he will reconcile those who are his from every tongue and race throughout the world.

    And we have been given the marching orders to do the ministry of reconciliation by taking it to as many as will listen.
     
  11. Allan

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    Yes, I agree.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    What a bizzare thread. It went from a discussion of "whole world" to "world," and even the writer of the OP didn't notice. These words represent linguistically two different meanings.

    I haven't posted on the BB for a while, and don't plan to, but I just dropped in for a minute, noticed this, and couldn't resist a comment. I suspect the thread will continue with "world" and ignore the "whole world" passages (Well, maybe Allan gets it), and it's already turned into a Cal/Arm discussion, so I'll just quietly slip away....
     
    #12 John of Japan, May 8, 2009
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  13. zrs6v4

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    Just for an idea of where Im at Ill give my say on John 3:1-21

    Jesus tells Nicodemus about rebirth. Then Jesus tells how he is to be resurrected and that whoever believes will be saved. The world here seeming to imply sinners. The verses that seem to define Jesus' point 19-21. He seems to be saying that everyone does evil and does not come, lest his deeds should be exposed. From what I see Jesus is saying that without rebirth, which is when exposure comes, one will continue hating the light. So again, in this case the "World" means all sinners but none come unless born again. So it seems God's love and invite is extended to all, but people are all blind due to their sin.
    My only issue is that in verse 17 Jesus says he is not sent to condemn but rather to save the world, but that they "might" be saved. If the word "might" is a definite rather than a possibility then the "world" has to mean the elect only or universalism is around the corner again.

    John of Japan is right about the Calvin/arminian debate always coming up, and I am not trying to defend either viewpoint just to let that be clear. At least I hope Im not..
     
  14. Me4Him

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    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

    1Jo 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    From what I've seen, Defining words out of context is the reason for most incorrect interpretations.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Exactly. It shows that "world" does not always mean "all men without exception." Obviously the "world" includes less than everybody in this verse.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    No, the OP stipulated (to quote): I am sure this has come up before, but I personally have been wondering about this myself. What the writers were trying to say by "World" or "Whole World".

    Most would disagree with you here. For instance John 3:16 is often cited as referring "whole world" even though "world" is used.

    Each must be taken in context to determine what is meant.
    I am sure this has come up before, but I personally have been wondering about this myself. What the writers were trying to say by "World" or "Whole World".
     
  17. Shortandy

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    These are the passages that can cause a fit. If "world' means every single person then why would Jesus instruct us to not love something that He loves? It makes little since.
     
  18. ~JM~

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    Propitiated sins cannot be punished.
     
    #18 ~JM~, May 8, 2009
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  19. DeafPosttrib

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    John of Japan is correct, this thread could turn into C/A debate on defintion of 'world'.

    I am not Calvinist, I am more likely Arminian.

    Arminians saying of John 3:16 that God loves the world that He sent His Son Jesus to earth, died for the world. They say, 'world' means all nations -sinners.

    Calvinists saying of John 3:16 that God loves the world-Christians, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." That they say, God knew 'world'(Christians) will be saved, that He sent His Son Jesus, before the creation, that anyone who will BELIEVING on Jesus, will not go hell, but have eternal life.

    How about 1 John 2:2 says: "And he is the propitation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD."?

    This verse is very good. This verse was written to Christians, both Jews and Gentiles. Beloved John said, "and NOT for OURS only." It clearly refer to us as Christians, John doesn't saying toward to Jews. As many Calvinists argued.

    Beloved John tells us very clear that Christ died NOT just for us only(Christians), also, He died for the "B]SIN OF THE WHOLE WORLD[/B]."

    This verse proves us that Christ died for all sinners. That God shows His Love to toward us that Christ for us.

    Even, in Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, Christ died for us."

    This verse tells us very clear that, God show of his love toward us, while we WERE sinners(not yet saved), that Christ died for us. That means, God show Calvary to the whole world, that God love ALL sinners, that Christ died for us.

    In the next post, I will discuss on 1 John 2:15 of 'world'.

    To be continued...

    In Christ
    Rev. 22:20 -Amen!
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Now there's what I mean. You've started talking about what people say about the Bible instead of what the Bible says.

    The word "world" has a large range of meaning in both English and Greek (kosmos). My BAGD lexicon has three full columns for the Greek word. So the word "world" by itself must always be interpreted by context. But in any language, adding an adjective narrows the meaning of the noun. That's what adjectives do, that's what they are supposed to do.

    In the case of "whole world" in the Bible, the phrase occurs 10 times in the NT. The Greek is the same in each case. With the adjective, most meanings of kosmos are eliminated. What is left are two possible meanings: the literal meaning of "whole world" as meaning everything and/or everybody, and the hyperbolic meaning. An hyperbole is an exaggeration used for literary effect. Context determines which meaning to take. The problem here is that people will follow their own presuppositions instead of taking the literal meaning as is, when the literal meaning is what is meant.
     

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