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Re: John 3:16 - is it important what the average Joe understands by 'world'?

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by janxharris, Jan 3, 2014.

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  1. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    janxharris:
    If 'world' doesn't mean what the average Joe would think it means then there is a disjunct between what is preached and what is understood.

    Skala:
    It's not important what the average Joe thinks it means. It's important what the Apostle John intended for it to mean (authorial intent).

    (http://www.christianforums.com/t7795099-65/#post64770472)

    Since it was not fully discussed, I thought it would be worthwhile giving this it's own thread.

    I remain shocked by Skala's response and I am not aware that any Calvinist has reproved him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
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  2. Kings servant

    Kings servant GOD'S WARRIOR.

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    Not trying to be disrespectful here but I would think that John 3:16 should be pretty much self explanatory to everyone, saint and sinner alike.
     
  3. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Okay...and I would have thought so too, but that that does not seem to be the case, for the meaning of 'world' is contested, as is 'whoever', and therefore the entire verse has become polemical.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    What does it mean to you, especially when it is used as a means to present the Gospel to an unbeliever?
     
  4. Skala

    Skala I'm a Saint. Not because of me, but because of Him

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    I think you may be misunderstanding my statement, Janx. I was arguing that what is important is what the writer of the verse intended for it to mean, not what someone else might think it mean (if the two differ).

    In otherwords I am arguing for authorial intent.

    Let me give you some examples.

    If you walk by a conversation where you overhear a man say "I beat my wife last night", you might conclude he was talking about physically abusing her. But in reality, if you had heard the before and after (ie, the context), you would know that he was talking about playing board games.

    Thus, what matters here is what the speaker intended, not what the hearer understood.

    Another example is the famous song "Puff the magic dragon". Many people accused Peter, Paul, and Mary (the band) of writing a song about smoking pot. When asked about this, they said "No, the song is about a magic dragon". The song had nothing to do with smoking drugs. So what matters is here authorial intent (ie, what the author intended, not what the hearers understood)

    This is lesson 101 in hermeneutics. (ie, the art of interpreting text)

    So, regarding John 3:16, I stand by my statement: What matters is what the Apostle John intended not what the reader understands. It is the duty of any reader to pay attention to context and try to understand what John meant. It is intellectually dishonest and lazy to take his words (or any words) at face value and assume a surface-level meaning.

    The fact that this is "shocking" to you is mind blowing to me.
     
  5. bling

    bling Regular Member Supporter

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    What I learned in “hermeneutics 101”, was to try and understand it the way the audience being addressed by the author would understand it, since that was the intent of the author that was being guided by the Holy Spirit. So you are correct to say: “It's not important what the average Joe thinks it means.”

    But it is not correct to exclude the audience being addressed and just limit us to the understanding of the earthly author. John in this case might be scholarly versed in a multitude of definitions, but John with the help of the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to first century Christians living in the Roman Empire, so how would they have understood “world” in the context.
     
  6. Kings servant

    Kings servant GOD'S WARRIOR.

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    It means exactly what it says but if it needs an explanation to an unbeliever, one who has never set foot in a church then this is how I would do it.

    For God so loved the world-every single last person on earth. Not just these guys or those but every last one. Even the ones who spit on Christ before His crucifixion, even the people who spit on His name today. He loves you regardless of the things you have done in your life and wants you to understand that He has not given up on you and He never will which is why He sent His Son knowing full well what was going to happen to Him. Knowing that the world would hate Him for the truth.

    That He gave His only Son - This should be a sign to everyone of the greatness of His love for us, to show us that God loved us even when we hated Him. Think about it. Would you allow your one and only Son to die for the very people who nailed Him to the Cross? God did. Would you give up your own life for the very people who despised you? Christ did! There is no greater definition of love anywhere.

    That whoever believes in Him should not die but have eternal life - all we have to do is believe that Christ died for us in spite of our sins,that He came to this world not for the saints but the sinners, that while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us.
    Believe in the truth of these words and you shall be forgiven.


    I have yet to understand why people feel the need to tear apart The Word just to try and gain something from it that was never intended. Why can't people just read the Bible and except it for what it says rather than what they want it to say.
     
  7. Hammster

    Hammster Who has believed our report? Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Of the 10+ uses of "world" that John uses in his writings, why did you pick that one?
     
  8. Hammster

    Hammster Who has believed our report? Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Your response is spot on.
     
  9. Skala

    Skala I'm a Saint. Not because of me, but because of Him

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    Fun fact: did you know that the word "so" (in the phrase "..so loved the world..") means "In this manner", not "intensely" or "very much"?

    It means "in this way" or "in this manner", not "soooooo", the way you might say "I love my wife soooo much".

    Fun fact #2: did you know that the phrase "whosoever believes" simply means "the believing ones" or "Those who believe", etc.

    Fun exercise: knowing that, consider the ways it might affect your understanding of the verse

    Give it a try: In this manner God loved the world, He gave His one and only son, so that those who believe will not perish, but have everlasting life
     
  10. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Fun fact #3: the phrase "those who believe" means the same thing as "whosoever believes". which means the same thing as "anyone who believes".
     
  11. Skala

    Skala I'm a Saint. Not because of me, but because of Him

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    Yes, good job for repeating what I already said!

    :thumbsup:
     
  12. nobdysfool

    nobdysfool The original! Accept no substitutes!

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    Whoever believes has eternal life. Simple. But the sentence doesn't say anything about the ability to believe. It simply makes a simple statement in the form of "If A, then B". "Whoever" or "Whosoever" is not some magical catch-all word that ends all discussion, although there are some who try to make it that. The ability to believe is addressed elsewhere in Scripture. It's not here.
     
  13. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    A very common defense from RT. But if the sentence says nothing about ability to believe, then the sentence is simply irrelevant. Has no meaning whatsoever.

    If no one has the ability to believe, why bother making such a statement as "whosoever believes has eternal life". It's meaningless to say that, if no one has the ability.

    Yet Paul clearly assumes that "whosoever" does have the ability, as seen in his answer to the jailer who asked "what must I DO to be saved?" Paul's answer: believe…and you will be saved.

    It is clear that Paul had no misconception about the jailer's ability to believe.

    Actually, there is no Scripture that tells us that man has no ability to believe. In fact, the entire thrust of Scripture is to believe the gospel to be saved. Rather meaningless if no one has the ability to believe.

    And why can people believe anything else except the gospel? Where is that differentiation found in Scripture? It isn't.
     
  14. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    That thrust as in when the apostles preached to the world to tell them repent and believe the gospel?
    Still does not mean they can believe if they try hard enough to believe.
    Just a command from Jesus to tell people every where, and nothing to do with ability to believe of a certain individual, the truth.

    Acts 14
    What did Paul see, Paul saw the man's faith as an outward working gift from the Holy Spirit in that man's life.
     
  15. Kings servant

    Kings servant GOD'S WARRIOR.

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    I picked that one because the discussion is about John 3:16 and, as I said in my last post. I have yet to understand why people feel the need to tear apart The Word just to try and gain something from it that was never intended. Why can't people just read the Bible and except it for what it says rather than what they want it to say.

    Well?
     
  16. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    But the monergist preacher would have a duty to explain to the unversed unbeliever since John 3:16 would not be understood correctly otherwise. Yes, no?

    So a lengthy explanation would be required...I would be interested to know how the monergist preacher might go about this.

    Okay, it does seem there was some misunderstanding.
     
  17. Hammster

    Hammster Who has believed our report? Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    I guess you misunderstood the question. Of the 10+ uses of "world" that John uses in his writings, you chose the one that means every person who's every lived. Why is that?
     
  18. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Which is an admission that the monergist preacher using Jn 3:16 would have a lot of explaining to do. How would you do so?
     
  19. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Correct. God would be at work on all men.
     
  20. Hammster

    Hammster Who has believed our report? Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    On what basis are you assuming this?
     
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