John 3:16 is arguably the most famous verse in all of the Bible. But because it is so familiar to us, this well-known passage may have lost some of its original power. What does it really mean to say that God loves the world? And if he loves everyone, then why do so many people perish? On this episode, the hosts will discuss some of their differences on this issue as they attempt to interpret this section of the Gospel of John.
“This is probably the most famous verse of all the Bible—John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” It’s a powerful verse, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s like one of those songs that you know is great—like Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, but you can’t always play it over and over. And sometimes we think about this too little because we think we’ve heard it.”
“In some ways it’s too familiar, and so, it’s lost some of its power—but let’s talk about the power.”
Term to Learn
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
(1 Corinthians 15:3-6)
(Scripture taken from the English Standard Version)