Original Research

For God did not so love the whole world – only Israel! John 3:16 revisited

J.E. Botha, P.A. Rousseau
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 61, No 4 | a479 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v61i4.479 | © 2005 J.E. Botha, P.A. Rousseau | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2005 | Published: 13 October 2005

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J.E. Botha, University of South Africa, South Africa
P.A. Rousseau, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Abstract

John 3:16 is probably the most popular and widely proclaimed proof-text for God’s love for all of humankind – the “world”. This interpretation of the verse is based on a meaning for which the Greek word cosmos can be used, but the word is used to denote many other meanings as well. The one interpretation of cosmos as “world” is then read into all instances where cosmos appears, including John 3:16. This position is held and defended by some in an almost fanatical manner by some. However, if this verse is exegetically considered in its primary context, the Fourth Gospel, it becomes clear that John 3:16 does not speak of God’s universal love of all of human kind. Far from it. The verse indeed has a completely different meaning.

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