John 3:16 Greek help please

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Puritan Sailor, Jan 7, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    John 3:16 (ESV)
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    John 3:16 (NKJV)
    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    The ESV omits begotten. I can't read greek yet. Does the greek text have "begotten" or not? Or is it a textual variant?
  2. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    The Greek word "monogene" (long e at the end) has, according to the 3 lexicons I consulted, a range of possible meanings. "Only," "One and only," or "only begotten" are most common. But all three are possible.
    "Only begotten" or "one and only" would be my choice since the word is conveying uniqueness, though "only" does so in a less (noticable) emphatic manner.

    The real difference between the Greek and the English is noted in the English phrase "For God SO LOVED..."
    For a more true-to-the-Greek translation, see the Holman Christian Standard.
  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    John 3:16 Ou[tw ga.r hvga,phsen o` Qeo.j to.n ko,smon( w[ste to.n ui`o.n auvtou/ to.n monogenh/ e;dwken( i[na pa/j o` pisteu,wn eivj auvto.n mh. avpo,lhtai( avllV e;ch| zwh.n aivw,nionÃ…

    Only begotten is a great translation, and its in there.
  4. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    Webmaster, you're typing in tongues! I'm not seeing the Greek characters.:banana:
  5. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    The issue is whether monogenh,j comes from gi,gnomai or genoj. So Thayer's Lexicon says:

    And Liddell & Scott says:

    So this is not just a linguistic issue, but a theological one as well. Especially since "only begotten" is an ancient Creedal formulation (why would we think we know Greek better than 2nd-3rd century Greeks!?), I believe that "only begotten" (so KJV, NKJV, NASB) is the proper reading (contra NIV, ESV)
  6. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

  7. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    That still didn't make Greek characters appear in your post.
  8. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    Worked for me. Did you install them using control panel?
  9. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    I clicked on them and the computer asked me if I wanted to save them so I did. Then I opened them and looked at all the characters. It never asked to install them.
  10. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    hmmmmmmm. I saved the file then unzipped it. I went to Start / settings / control panel and clicked on the fonts folder. From there I went to File / install new font. You will need to go to the folder that you saved the 2 unzipped files in (they have .ttf extension.)
  11. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    You need to do more than save them.

    You need to download them, save them to a folder on your hard drive, then go to Control Panel-->Fonts and choose install fonts. Select (or go to) the folder where you saved them, highlight the fonts and click install.
  12. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    This is akin to the Baptist argument for immersion based on the practice of the Greek church doing immersion because they know Greek "so well."
    "only begotten" certainly does convey the uniqueness being conveyed. But even in that phrase the most important word is "only." I don't mind "only begotten" but "one and only" or even "only" are all possible. I don't get too worked up about the fact that the creed uses the phrasing "only begotten" simply because they never really explained what it means to be "begotten."
    But again, if you get all warm and fuzzy saying "only begotten" then go ahead! ;)
  13. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I'm more concerned about the recent attempts (a-la Reymond) to eviscerate the Nicene Creed by denying the eternal Sonship of Christ. The removal of "only begotten" in favor of "one and only" is key to that.

    You'll also notice that Liddell & Scott, the most significant Greek lexicon (with no theological presuppositions) uses only begotten, and there are clear Classical Greek instances (Aeschylus, Xenephon) where that is the meaning.
  14. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Cool thanks. I got greek and hebrew now.
  15. martyrologist

    martyrologist Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with the idea of uniqueness...

    The word carries the idea of uniqueness, the only as the emphasis. Context ultimately decides exactly which way to go with the translation.
  16. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    God the Father has a Son. Doesn't the notion of "begetting" belong in there somehow? I can't shake the convictionthat John's choice of language reflects this very fundamental reality. And that seems to be what the Greek speaking church fathers who wrote in the immediately succeeding centuries thought as well.

    (An aside--However ancient the E.O. method of baptism is, it certainly isn't connected with a linguistic argument for the practice that bears a sustained examination :2cents: )
  17. New wine skin

    New wine skin Puritan Board Freshman

    Here are some thoughts I had on the issue. Hope they help.

    With using the word "only" in place of "begotten", the text still implies the uniqueness of Christ as the "way" of Salvation. We also see the word (Monogenes) again in verse 3:18 which provides another qualification by repetition in case we didn´t get it in 3:16. This time John phrases it in the negative, thus saying what happens to those that "do not believe in the only or (begotten) Son of God". If we don´t claify the word "only" w begotton then emphasis is put on our understanding of the "Son of God". Regardless, 3:18 supports 3:16 with the discrimination of whom righteousness is applied and whom it is Not applied. Even if we don´t use the word begotten in the English, I argue that the text still implies Christ is the only name (onoma) and He is with out question, by context of John's use of language associated w Christ as the Son of God. John's letters and other the other Epistles support the "Son of God" as begotten in relation to the Trinity (We already know this, so I wont argue it here). I say this to say, John no where implies that any mortal man could be THE "Son of God" in this sense when you read the whole gospel account. Another item I wanted to point out is how John uses analogous language to carry his thought from 3:16 in 3:19, referring to the "light" in the world, which ties back to John 1:5. The light of course is the Word, the Word is Christ incarnate etc... The point here is that John uses synonyms when speaking of Christ the Son of God, thus as a warp and weft of a rug, the deity of Christ and His position and title as Son of God permeates this gospel letter. I say all this to argue that even if "only" is used in place of "begotten" (although I prefer Begotten), the text implies begotten, when taken in context of the gospel, so that if anyone argued that a textual variant didn´t include it or it was vague it wouldn´t matter. Hope that makes sense. I wrote this response quickly, so please correct or highlight or build on my exegesis as needed.
  18. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    That word is where Monogenous/monogenesis is derived from. It means asexual reproduction (fission, gemmation, sporulation).

    The way it was explained to me was the idea of an acorn tree dropping an acorn. That acorn will be the same image as the tree that it came from - it will not grow into an oak tree.
  19. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Thought this was helpful...

    From Kittel's Theological Dictionary:

    B. The Use in the New Testament.

    1. In the NT monogenhv" occurs only in Lk., Jn. and Hb., not Mk., Mt. or Pl. It is thus found only in later writings. It means "œonly-begotten." Thus in Hb. Isaac is the monogenhv" of Abraham ( 11:17 ), in Lk. the dead man raised up again at Nain is the only son of his mother ( 7:12 ), the daughter of Jairus is the only child ( 8:42 ), and the demoniac boy is the only son of his father ( 8:42 ). 11

    2. Only Jn. uses monogenhv" to describe the relation of Jesus to God. Mk. and Mt. have oJ uiJov" mou oJ ajgaphtov" ; Pl. uses to;n eJautou` uiJovn at R. 8:3 , tou` ijdivou uiJou` at R. 8:32 , and prwtovtoko" at R. 8:29 ; Col. 1:15 , 18 , but not monogenhv" . The further step taken by Jn. to describe Jesus corresponds to the fact that believers who as children of God are called uiJoi; qeou` "”the same word as is applied to Jesus"”in Mt., Pl. etc., are always called tevkna qeou` in Jn., 1:12 ; 11:52 ; 1 Jn. 3:1 , 2 , 10 ; 5:2 , while uiJov" is reserved for Jesus. Jn. emphasises more strongly the distinction between Jesus and believers and the uniqueness of Jesus in His divine sonship. It is not that Jesus is not unique in this sonship for Mt., Pl. etc. also. His Messiahship proves this. But Jn. puts it in an illuminating and easily remembered formula which was taken up into the baptismal confession and which ever since has formed an inalienable part of the creed of the Church. 12 To monogenhv" as a designation of Jesus corresponds the fact that God is the path;r i[dio" of Jesus, Jn. 5:18 ; for i[dio" means to be in a special relation to Jesus which excludes the same relation to others. 13 monogenhv" occurs in Jn. 1:14 , 18 ; 3:16 , 18 ; 1 Jn. 4:9 . What is meant is plainest in Jn. 3:16 and 1 Jn. 4:9
    . Because Jesus is the only Son of God, His sending into the world is the supreme proof of God´s love for the world. On the other side, it is only as the only-begotten Son of God that Jesus can mediate life and salvation from perdition. For life is given only in Him, Jn. 5:26 . But the fact that He is the only-begotten Son means also that men are obligated to believe in Him, and that they come under judgment, indeed, have done so already, if they withhold faith from Him, 3:18 . monogenhv" is thus a predicate of majesty. This is true in Jn. 1:18 . Here we are to read oJ monogenh;" uiJov" . 14 As the only-begotten Son Jesus is in the closest intimacy with God. There is no other with whom God can have similar fellowship. He shares everything with this Son. For this reason Jesus can give what no man can give, namely, the fullest possible eye-witness account of God. He knows God, not just from hearsay, but from incomparably close intercourse with Him. In 3:16 , 18 ; 1 Jn. 4:9 ; 1:18 the relation of Jesus is not just compared to that of an only child to its father. It is the relation of the only-begotten to the Father. Similarly in Jn. 1:14 : dovxan wJ" monogenou`" para; patro;" , His glory is not just compared with that of an only child; it is described as that of the only-begotten Son. Grammatically both interpretations are justifiable. 15 But the total usage of monogenhv" is very emphatically against taking wJ" monogenou`" as a mere comparison.

    In Jn. 1:14 , 18 ; 3:16 , 18 ; 1 Jn. 4:9 monogenhv" denotes more than the uniqueness or incomparability of Jesus. In all these verses He is expressly called the Son, and He is regarded as such in 1:14 . In Jn. monogenhv" denotes the origin of Jesus. He is monogenhv" as the only-begotten.

    What Jn. means by oJ monogenh;" uiJov" in detail can be known in its full import only in the light of the whole of John´s proclamation. For oJ monogenh;" uiJov" is simply a special form of oJ uiJo;" tou` qeou` . When Jn. speaks of the Son of God, he has primarily in view the man Jesus Christ, though not exclusively the man, but also the risen and pre-existent Lord. The relation of the pre-existent Lord to God is that of Son to Father. This comes out indisputably in 17:5 , 24 . Jesus is aware that He was with God, and was loved by Him, and endued with glory, before the foundation of the world. This is personal fellowship with God, divine sonship. It is true that neither in the prologue, nor 8:58 , nor c. 17 does Jn. use the term "œson" for the pre-existent Lord. But He describes His relation to God as that of a son. 16 To maintain that in Jn. the pre-existent Lord is only the Word, and that the Son is only the historical and risen Lord, 17 is to draw too sharp a line between the pre-existence on the one side and the historical and post-historical life on the other. In Jn. the Lord is always the Son. Because He alone was God´s Son before the foundation of the world, because the whole love of the Father is for Him alone, because He alone is one with God, because the title God may be ascribed to Him alone, He is the only-begotten Son of God.

    It is not wholly clear whether monogenhv" in Jn. denotes also the birth or begetting from God; it probably does, Jn. calls Jesus oJ gennhqei;" ejk tou` qeou` , 1 Jn. 5:18 . 18 Though many will not accept this, he here understands the concept of sonship in terms of begetting. For him to be the Son of God is not just to be the recipient of God´s love. It is to be begotten of God. This is true both of believers and also of Jesus. 19 For this reason monogenhv" probably includes also begetting by God. 20 To be sure, Jn. does not lift the veil of mystery which lies over the eternal begetting. But this does not entitle us to assume that he had no awareness of it. Johannine preaching and doctrine is designed to awaken faith, 20:30f ., not to give full and systematic knowledge. Hence it does not have to dispel all mysteries.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page