Thursday, September 25, 2008

What in the World is "World"?

This post was inspired by Alan's blog which I highly recommend reading. It is full of intelligent questions and Alan demonstrates eloquence and humility in posting and responding.

John 3:16, in my humble opinion is one of the most recklessly thrown around verses in the Bible. This short post will focus on one word. I have been most heavily influenced by James White, Jim McClarty, Arthur Pink, and John Owens, in the forming of how I interpret "world" in that famous verse. After much research, it is a plain as day what the verse means.

We must interpret the Bible with the Bible. James White outlined my first scripture reference quite nicely and I use his technique.(see his website) Let us compare John 3:16 to 1Jn 4:9

John 3:16- For God so loved the world
1 John 4:9- By this the love of God was manifested in us

John 3:16- that He gave His only begotten Son
1 John 4:9- that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world

John 3:16- that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life
1 John 4:9- so that we might live through Him

Both verses were written by John and I think this gives great insight in to "world". (find out who "us" is)

Next let us look at what the John says of God the Son in John 13:1 "...His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."

Who is "His own"? This verse gives good insight into the "world" God loves.

Let us look at John 3:17....yes the next verse. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved"

Unless one believes in universalism, I think the very next verse gives wonderful clarity.

John 14:21 reads "..And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father.."

One more verse for now: 2 Cor 5:19 "that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself..." Unless one believes in universalism I also think this helps define world.

I would recommend reading or listening to the men I mentioned earlier for in depth exegesis, and to see why those who believe "world" in Jn 3:16 is the "believing" world, are not reading something into the passage that is not there.

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