John 3:1-13, Countdown # 1, 88: John 3:16, 3:17 – Part 1 (7/11/12)
For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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Countdown Verse #1
John 3:1-13, Countdown # 1, 88: John 3:16, 3:17 – Part 1
John 3:14-21, Countdown # 1, 88: John 3:16, 3:17 – Part 2
John 21:20-25, Countdown # 1, 88: John 3:16, 3:17 – Part 3
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You may be surprised at how I’ve translated John 3:8; this is a perfectly valid translation of the Greek. Of course, what the Greek means
could be something entirely different, because this verse is a wonderful pun. If you are interested, you can see my more detailed discussion
What I want to talk about today is quotation marks. Notice that when Jesus and Nicodemus are talking back and forth, I’ve put quotation marks at the beginning and the end of what they say. But at the end of today’s reading, I haven’t put in any quotation marks, because I’m not sure where they go. This is because Greek has beginning
markers, but not an ending
marker. Jesus is mentioned by name in verse 10, and he says “I told you” in verse 11 and both “I told you” and “if I tell you” in verse 12. But then neither speaker is mentioned again in this conversation, and the words “I” and “you” are not used. Verse 13 uses the words “has gone up into heaven” – and remember that this conversation took place before the ascension.
If you have a red-letter edition of the Bible, the verses are probably red all the way through verse 21. But some scholars believe that Jesus stopped talking with verse 12, and that John – who had thought for a long time about the pun, the strange conversation with Nicodemus, and the ascension – started explaining in verse 13. Read it carefully for yourself and see what you think.
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus who was a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, because no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with him.”
John 3:14-21, Countdown # 1, 88: John 3:16, 3:17 – Part 2 (7/12/12)
Jesus answered, “I tell you for sure, unless someone is born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus says to him, “How is an old person able to be born? He can’t enter into the womb of his mother a second time and be born, can he?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you for sure, unless someone is born by water and spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God. What is born from the flesh is flesh, and what is born from the spirit is spirit. Don’t be amazed that I said to you, ‘It is necessary for you to be born from above.’ (8) The spirit breathes where he wishes, and you hear his voice, but you do not know whence he comes or where he goes. Thus it is for all who have been born from the spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
(10) Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel, and you don’t know these things?? (11) I tell you for sure that we speak about what we know, and we testify about what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. (12) If I told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? (13) And no one has gone up into heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man.
I used to work for a fellow who always thought about possible courses of action at work this way: “Do I want to see this on the front page of the New York Times
tomorrow?” Sometimes it was The Washington Post
, but the point was the same. Would I be embarrassed, ashamed, or indicted if my actions became public knowledge? Or would my co-workers and my mother be proud of me? This is exactly the point of the last couple of verses below.
But meantime, we have finally gotten to the Most Searched For, Most Popular, Best Known Bible Verse, BibleGateway.com’s Countdown Verse Number 1
John 3:16 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.
And the next verse is also in the top 100: Countdown Verse #88, John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Those are the only two Bible verses that I can recite from memory, and I think they are enough.
[my own translation]
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that every one who believes in him might have eternal life. For God loved the world this way: he gave his unique Son, in order that every one who believes in him should not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him.
John 21:20-25, Countdown # 1, 88: John 3:16, 3:17 – Part 3 (7/13/12)
The one who believes in him is not condemned, but the one who does not believe in him has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the unique son of God. And this is the judgment: that the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil.
Everyone who practices wickedness hates the light and stays out of the light, in order that their deeds will not be exposed. But the one who does what is true comes to the light, so that his deeds are shown – and shown to be done for God.
We’ve finished reading the 100 most-searched-for scripture verses, and we even read the passage that each one appears in, for a total of perhaps 2000 verses. Our Bible contains about 31,000 verses, however, so we’ve barely touched the surface of all the scripture available to us. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” We shouldn’t think that just because we’ve read the top 100, we’ve read everything that’s important.
Even if we’ve read the entire Bible, we don’t know everything there is to know about God. The world isn’t big enough to hold, and our brains aren’t big enough understand, all the books that could be written about Jesus, let alone about God the Father, the Holy Spirit, or the Trinity.
Nevertheless, we can be confident that the Bible tells us everything we need
to know about God’s love for us and his plan of salvation.
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Countdown Verses #43 - #39
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Countdown Verses #21 - #15
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Countdown Verses #2 - #1a
Countdown Verse #1
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