Aug 14, 2006
John 3:16: Jesus Christ: God's Unique Son
This is probably the most widely recognized bible verse on the planet:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not die, but should have eternal life."
Yet as familiar as it is to most people, there is still a golden Greek "nugget" embedded within this verse.
Once again, by observing a single Greek word, a beautifully clear truth can be recognized. Our attention should center on the word commonly translated as "only begotten." The Greek word is from μονογενής (only, only begotten). Even the casual non-Greek student observer can readily discern from a phonetic spelling of this word ("mono-genēs") that there's more going on here than initially meets the eye. It's easy to spot English derivatives that occur from this Greek compound word. "Mono" is the root for many familiar words like monologue or monotone. In each of these words is the idea of "solitude" or "singleness." The second half of this Greek compound (root: γένος - race, type, kind) is the root for the English "genus" (i.e., "species"). And, here we have our "nugget" revealed. Jesus is God's "only begotten Son;" true enough. More precisely, Jesus is God's "unique" Son. He is the only One of His species. There is no other. Being fully God and fully man all at the same time and in the same Person, Jesus truly is the "unique" Son of God. So, the clearer, more preferable rendering of this verse very plausibly is:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His unique Son, that whoever believes in Him should not die, but should have eternal life."
Go to: "It's All Greek to YOU!" (Wermuth's Greek Blog)
Posted by Robert Wermuth at 22:18:0
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