The Power Of Little Words

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.


This little word ties every verse in which it is used to the previous verses. Bauer-Danker, the great scholarly Greek language lexicon, says it was used here as a “marker for clarification.” Which means what follows was intended by Jesus to give Nicodemus and the modern reader a more in-depth understanding of what was stated in the previous verses. This word marks the beginning of a journey to a place where only Jesus could take us: into the mind and motive of the Godhead.


“So” is an adverb used by Jesus to modify love. “So” means: in this way or in this manner. This is the setup for the expression of a result of God’s love which demonstrates the manner or way God loved. That expression will help clarify the salvation Jesus introduced in the previous verses by highlighting the intensity of God’s love. It placed God’s love as the root motive behind everything Nicodemus had ever been taught from the Holy Scriptures.

First “that”

This conjunction was used to introduce an actual result. One language scholar said this word was used in John 3:16 to introduce the only possible result. This means that God’s love was of such intensity and nature that the action following this word was not one among many options. It was the only action His perfect nature would consider or allow. The words that follow describe the singular result intended by the little word so... here is the way God loved: “he gave his only begotten Son.”

Second “that”

This conjunction, which is different from the first “that”, was used to “show a purpose or goal.” So here we see the ultimate purpose or goal flowing from God’s love which produced the result of God giving His only begotten Son. We were the objects of His love... it was us... It was His love for us which passionately forced Him to create a way to be eternally, legally reconciled to us, the people He so loved... even though we were His enemies by nature. And... He did it! This astounding everlasting reconciliation which was secured by love is ours by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Amen Brother Larry! Some words are deep enough for theologians to swim in, yet shallow enough for little children to play in! Keep up the great work!



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