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Regarding John 3:16, which is it? Should not perish or shall not perish?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by mailmandan, Feb 15, 2020 at 5:15 AM.

  1. mailmandan

    mailmandan Active Member

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    John 3:16 (KJV) - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    John 3:16 (NASB) - For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

    Some people are quick to argue that the verbs 'should not perish' and 'have everlasting life' are in the subjunctive mood, the mood of uncertainty.

    Definition of "Subjunctive"..the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances.

    If that's the case, then what are the circumstances? Some would argue the circumstances are whether or not someone continues to believe, yet others argue that believing alone is not enough and other requirements need to be met, yet others argue that the circumstances are simply whether or not one truly believes in the first place.
     
  2. McCree79

    McCree79 Well-Known Member
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    They are part of a hina (ίνα) clause. It indicates puporse. The subjunctives are not uncertain in this ίνα clause(or any hina clause that I have seen). It is a standard purpose clause construction. The "condition" to make the subjunctives a reality occured on the other side of ίνα.

    The NET captures the ίνα clause well.

    "For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life"

    As does the CSB

    "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"



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  3. mailmandan

    mailmandan Active Member

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    Thank you for that insightful post. Actually, half or more of the English translations of John 3:16 do not use the word should, and maybe because the translators felt that might confuse people. The NASB and NIV read, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The NET Bible, LEB, and HCSB use "will" instead of shall - will not perish.
     
  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Apparently the idea is to question the certainty of the salvation that is bestowed upon "everyone believing into Him" As McCree79 explained, not everyone believes into Him, but God gave His one of a kind Son so that everyone who does has been placed in Christ by God, and thus they will not perish but have everlasting life. This fact is certain.
     
  5. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    Given that μη αποληται is subjunctive within a ινα clause, the "shall not" is more grammatically correct in English than the simple future "will not."
     
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