by A.P. Adams
Now we will look at a passage in the New Testament; viz., that precious declaration in John 3:16, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son," etc. We will take into consideration verses 14-17 inclusive; first I will clear up several points of obscurity and error and then give the rendering as it should be. In verse 15 the words "not perish but" should be omitted; according to the best authorities they have been interpolated, probably from the following verse; they are left out from the New Version. The word "whosoever" in the l5th and l6th verses should be rendered "all"; in the original it is the word usually rendered all throughout the New Testament; it occurs hundreds of times, and it is rendered "all" in over nine hundred instances, and whosoever in only about forty; the rendering all then is plainly the usual one. The word rendered "believeth," in the original is a participle, "believing"; the clause should read, "that all, believing in him should not," etc. The words, "believing in him," are explanatory, telling us how "all" are to be saved, viz, by believing in him. In the common version it will be noticed that the participle is, without authority, rendered by the verb "believeth," and the words, "whosoever believeth in him" are thereby made to have a conditional force, as though it read, if they believe in him, implying that some will not believe in him, and hence will perish, and be lost eternally. But this is not a correct rendering of the original, as I have shown above; the clause is not conditional, but is thrown in, as a participial form, as explanatory of the manner of the world's salvation, by believing in him; this view is fully confirmed by the l9th verse; "for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved." Now I will give the whole passage as it ought to be. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up, that all, believing in him, might have ćonial life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all, believing in him, might not perish, but have ćonial life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved." Thus truthfully translated this passage is one of the grandest and most sweeping declarations of the final universal triumph of God's grace in the salvation of the world, contained in the Bible. It is positive and direct, and mighty enough, could they only appreciate it, to utterly silence all those narrow, shortsighted souls who think that God will only gain a partial victory over the devil, that he will not save the world, but only a portion of it, a vast number being eternally lost. It is very plain why the translators of the common version handled this passage as they did. Their creed would not allow them to accept it just as it reads; it required only a slight change to make it conform to their own idea. They insert the unusual rendering "whosoever," change believing to "believeth," and then, punctuating it accordingly, the passage is "tinkered" so as to harmonize with the creed. Thank God for deliverance from man made creeds! "Let God be true, though every man be false" (Rom. 3:4).