January 7, 2011

A Different View of The Most Popular Verse In The Bible

John 3:16 is perhaps the most popular Bible verse within Christianity.. and in my opinion, it is one of the most misunderstood as well. So here's my take on this verse... 

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The "world' isn't always planet earth as we tend to think of it in our modern day views, but rather is speaking of Old Covenant Israel. This is the same "world" that Jesus came to... He was the Jewish Messiah after all, right? 

The second part of that verse, I believe deals with 2 things or should I say 2 levels of understanding. 

1st Level: The people of Israel were being warned about the impending destruction of "their Covenant world"... which came in AD70 when the Romans invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the temple and killed most of the Jews in what many see as the judgment of God. 

2nd Level: Most Christians know the phrase... "My people perish for lack of knowledge" found in Hosea 4:6 - Ironically enough, most preachers don't say the rest of the verse... 

(Speaking of the Jews!) Hosea 4:6 my people perish from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priestsbecause you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. 

Did you know that's why the Jews were God's chosen people... they were chosen as "priests" / interceders to the rest of mankind! (On a side note, this is the same assignment Christians have now... to be "Priests" / interceders (be the physical manifestation of God to the rest of mankind!)

Back on point... Israel (Christianity as well) perishes for lack of knowledge... did this lack of knowledge or insight make them die literally in an instant... NO, but it did cause them to not know God personally or see Him as He really is... which brings us to the last part of the verse. 

That whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not "perish" (be far from God), but have everlasting / eternal life... so what is eternal life? 

John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

So let's take another look at that verse now.... John 3:16 - For God so loved Old Covenant Israel (World) that He gave His only Son (Jesus as Messiah), that whoever believes in Him, shall not Perish (be ignorant of what God is really like), but have everlasting / eternal life (shall know God personally). 

That in a nutshell, is how I see this verse... it's primarily speaking about Old Covenant Israel, however "Christianity" (the system) shares many many attributes to Old Covenant Israel, so we can apply it to Christianity as well. Either way, you can now see that "perish" and eternal life" have completely different meanings then what we have been taught from the "system"... Jesus words were / are spiritual and truth... what we see in our literal understanding and modern mindsets is often not what the texts are really talking about!

Truth is everywhere in the Bible, but the Lord must teach it to us & we must dig for it, not us learning from preachers and teachers. 

That being said, please don't agree with my posts, I'm not your teacher, God IS!
Seek the Lord for yourself... He may show you even deeper levels of truth then what He has taught me. 

Dave :-)


Jimmy Tan said...

Good post. I have shared your insight about the word "world" in John 3:16 in my first video message on the gospel.


Grace and peace,

Dave Lewerenz said...

Cool... good to see you, Jimmy :-)

Marsha Gibson said...

This is some heavy stuff! I have read several of your posts which have had to do with heaven being inside yourself, etc. I haven't dug into it for myself yet so I really can't say what my beliefs are on the subject as of yet. But I will say this: I have experienced the hell of constantly feeling condemned, not good enough, displeasing to God. It is why I left the church, and for awhile, turned away from God. Where was the joy in being a child of God!?... so although I need to study to see if God gives me the same truth He shared with you on many of your topics, I did find something in your posts that moved me and I thank you for sharing...And you are so right about studying for ourselves; its the only way to go! God Bless!

Dave Lewerenz said...

God bless you Marsha... May the Lord show you even deeper truths then I :-)

Byron Carroll said...

Good job Dave.

Old Pete said...

I agree that John 3.16 is seriously misunderstood.
For another viewpoint see