The "John 3:16" you may see from time to time in
unexpected places refers to the portion of scripture found
in the 16th verse of the 3rd chapter
of the book of
14: Andas Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,* even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. 15: Thatwhosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16: ForGod so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17: ForGod sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:14-17
* Num 21:4-9
A reference to the Messiah
On the cross
Taking John 3:16 Apart Word by Word
The popularity of John 3:16 is due to its concise encapsulation of the good news contained in the Bible. As such, a clear understanding of its exact meaning is essential to understanding it.
The word love in this case is an unconditional love, like that of a good parent for a child.
The word world in this case doesn't
mean the planet earth or the "worldly world"
To reject love is to reject the one who loves. God loves them, He may even pursue them, but if they reject Him, He will not force Himself upon them.
The word gave shows this is a gift, given because He loves us, and not something that was owed to us. In this case, God has provided the way for us to be saved from the fate we deserve.
His only begotten Son refers to Jesus, who was born to a virgin woman, Mary. All the rest who can be called the sons or daughters of God are more like adopted sons or daughters.
The word whosoever refers again to all of human population: you, me, and anyone you can think of, including that nasty one you thought of earlier.
The word believeth is the same as believes. It means to trust something, in this case the trustworthiness of God.
Should not perish means that by accepting God's gift, the believer will avoid being separated from God when they die.
Have everlasting life does not mean that
the believer will never physically
So here's the meaning, a summary in one verse
of a central theme of Christianity:
We mortal humans are loved by a just and holy God who has, through the death of the only Son ever born to Him, made the way for any sinful men and women who turn to Him to avoid the everlasting punishment they deserve, and, through His Son's resurrection, made it possible to come to live forever with Him in heaven.
So am I saying that if Adolph Hitler had accepted Jesus as his
savior, he would have gone to heaven? Yes
although I seriously doubt he did.
Am I saying that good people that don't happen to be Christians are going to hell? God is Just and Loving and a whole lot smarter than we are, so I trust Him to have a Just and Loving solution for this perplexing problem. But I think it's clear that if any person has rejected God, He will not force Himself on them.
Does the Bible really say that believing and trusting Jesus
is the only way to get to Heaven?
Jesus Himself put it plainly.