Text:   John 3:1-17 (focus on 3:16)

Date:   February 24, 2002




Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance
A.        Comparison of English or other published translations

·        V: 16  - “he gave” (NIV, KJV, NAS, New Jerusalem, NRSV, Promise)

·        “only son” (NRSV, New Jerusalem) vs. “one and only son” (NIV) vs. “only begotten son” (KJV, NAS)

B.         Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism

·        verb translated “give”

·        didomi

·         in contrast to concept of “sent,” which is more common expression in John’s gospel

·        basic motive for incarnation

·        give – gift

·        love

·        send

·        accomplishment

·        “World”

·        kosmos

·        John uses term often to refer to those in conflict with God and/or Jesus

·        Loving gift is for everyone, but only some accept gift (“believers”)



C.                 One's Own Rough Translation

·        “For thus loved God the world, so as the only begotten Son he gave that everyone believing in him may not perish but have life eternal.”

Step II - Disposition
A.        Genre - How the text says what it says

·        Expression of God’s love

·        A gift statement

·        God giving a basic reason for the incarnation


B.         Personal Interaction - Questions and observations

·        Does God give us Jesus or send us Jesus?

·        Doe it make any difference?

·        Why is Jesus given?

·        Justice

·        Salvation

·        Implementation of God’s will

·        Are all these basic assumptions of a foundational love?

·        Difference between “give” and “send” (“send” in v. 17 a different emphasis?)


C.                 Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located



Step III - Composition
A.        Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope

·        John 3:16 follows the discussion with Nicodemus and precedes further conversation about light and dark; people loving darkness rather than light, because of their evil deeds

·        Verse 16 links salvific dimensions of v. 14-15 with true motive for Jesus’ incarnation

·        Love

·        Love of the world


B.                 Organization of the Compositional Whole

·        This reading found early in Book of Signs

·        John’s gospel’s central claim;

·        God revealed in Jesus Christ

·        Incarnational


C.                 Issues of Authorship

·        Pempo and apostello used elsewhere by author as representations of God’s will

·        Jesus sent to accomplish something


Step IV - Context
A.        Primitive Christianity

·        This entire chapter (including discourse with Nicodemus, John’s testimony regarding Christ) not found in the synoptic Gospels


B.                 Old Testament and Judaism

·        “only son” sacrifice

·        Genesis 22:2 – Abraham and Isaac

·        God “testing” God’s own love for the world?

·        Does not spare Jesus as Isaac is spared


C.                 Hellenistic World



Step V - Distillation
A.        Summary of Salient Features

·        Incarnation

·        Happens for a reason?

·        What is the reason?

·        Accomplish goal

·        Implement God’s will

·        Establish God’s kingdom

·        Q:  Is there an even more foundational reason?

·        Love

·        Give vs. send

·        Prevalence of this particular verse in modern society

·        Signs

·        Billboards

·        Greeting cards

·        Have we lost the intent of the gift?


B.                 Smooth Translation



C.                 Hermeneutical Bridge

·        The sign

·        Ballgames, big crowds

·        “John 3:16”

·        Do we rush to look it up?

·        Do we already know it?

·        Do we care anymore?


Step VI - Contemporary Address
A.        Description of Audience

·        UM congregation preparing for Lenten season


B.                 Intended Goals for the Address

·        Reclaim watered-down meaning of the gift

·        It’s cost

·        The real reason it’s given


C.                 Address