What About John 3:16?

There is currently tremendous and growing interest in the impact of the familiar verse John 3:16. The relevance of the surrounding verses is explored, and many fascinating insights equip the reader to understand the true meaning and significance of the passage and its proper application.
Difficult and controversial issues are not avoided, and we are shown how powerful this passage is.

David Pawson has recently been questioning whether we have been scriptural or sentimental in focussing evangelistic preaching on the love of God and, more recently,
His ‘unconditional‘ love. He has drawn attention to some surprising biblical data:- that Jews in the Old Testament
and Christians in the New only talked about God’s love among themselves; that neither Jesus nor the apostles ever preached it publicly; and that the book of Acts contains
not a single reference to it in common with most other books in the Bible.

By contrast, the early evangelists focussed on God’s righteousness (e.g. Romans 1:16-17). People normally respond with: ‘What about John 3:16?’ which is widely assumed to be the best summary of the gospel we are able to preach. Yet it maybe a classic example of text out of context becoming a pretext, even one of the most mistranslated, misunderstood and misapplied.

Given on 19th February 2005