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Author Topic: Orthodox Opinion for John 3:16  (Read 3849 times) Average Rating: 0
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James the Just
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« on: April 26, 2003, 12:58:47 AM »

I've read in various threads concerning Roman Catholic bibles not being literal or literal translations and was wondering what is the Orthodox opinion regarding John 3:16 2nd verse:

Catholic > "that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life. That just belief in our Lord does not necessary guarantee eternal life.

The majority of bibles do not use *may* and I was curious on how the Orthodox Christians view it.

In Christ,
James
« Last Edit: April 26, 2003, 01:00:15 AM by Jakub » Logged
Lavis Knight
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2003, 09:20:51 AM »

Actually i was curious about John 3:16 and what it said, like how it was written originally, it would seem that some translations favor different theologies.. am i right in that?
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If the best thing one can do is point out what they believe darkness be... then how will anyone find light?

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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2003, 09:42:11 AM »

The Orthodox New Testament from Holy Apostles Convent translates it should and may.


For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotton Son, that everyone who believeth in Him should not perish, but may have everlasting life.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2003, 12:00:18 PM »

I think the Bible--and the Church Fathers for that matter--often speaks in seemingly absolute terms, but that such texts are only speaking in such a way for emphasis (a rhetorical device), and are not meant to be taken in a woodenly literal way. When verses like this come up, I usually point out other passages that, if interpreted in as literal a way as Jn. 3:16 is sometimes interpreted, wouldn't make sense. For instance, the Bible clearly says that "those who acknowledge Jesus with their lips... will be saved". Well then, are mutes eternally damned? In answer to how one may inherit eternal life, Jesus first lists some of the 10 commandments (and gives a summary statement for some of them). After this he proceeds to instruct someone to sell all that they have and give the money to the poor. Does this mean that we must all obey the 10 commandments fully, and also sell all that we have and give the money to the poor? James asks "Can faith alone save?" and his obvious answer is in the negative. Does that mean that we should discount bedside conversions the moment before death since they had not way to "demonstrate their faith by their works"? Jesus said "be ye perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect". Obviously we can't be perfect just like God, but can only approach his perfection via His uncreated grace, being a partaker of the divine nature.

We find the same types of things in the Fathers, and even in the liturgy. We say in St. John Chrysostom's liturgy: "holy things are for the holy," and then a moment later "one is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ"; so, we need to be careful about taking things woodenly literally, and we need to remember that sometimes what a text says at face value, even if it sounds final or absolute, is not in fact final or absolute. A few other examples can be seen in how the Fathers speak of salvation. Some Fathers have said that "without toil, there is no salvation," others that "without fasting, one can hardly be a Christian," and so on. These statements can't be taken as absolutely as they are being stated.

So, 1) even when this verse is translated in a more absolute way, I don't believe it is consistent (with the rest of scripture or tradition) to interpret it in an absolute way; and 2) the verse should be translated, IMO, as closely following the MSS being used as possible, and words shouldn't be added to "make the passage more clear". The Church's teaching is clear enough, we shouldn't tamper with the Bible. Now, on the other hand, if there are MSS that justify a certain rendering, then there's certainly nothing wrong with choosing the rendering that you believe most faithfully represents the truth being expressed by the author of the passage. There are many many variants readings for the NT text, and not just unimportant ones (there were crucial theological arguments about which variant to use a thousand years ago, things are no different today). I hope I didn't delve too much into things not asked in this post.

Justin
« Last Edit: April 26, 2003, 12:05:29 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2003, 04:20:57 PM »

One could also argue that "that everyone who believeth in Him " means a lot more than saying "I believe in you, Jesus!"
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James the Just
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2003, 06:00:37 PM »

Brother Paradosis,

Your statement is quite correct, I don'nt think everything in scripture is ridgid but slightly flexible depending on the application, a flowing living word which the Holy Spirit and the Church assists us with. I get tired of debating which bible is correct,which text etc. I want to be comfortable reading scripture, learning and increasing my faith. I've seen and heard it said that the best bible is the one you will use/read.

James
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James the Just
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2003, 09:02:01 PM »

I have & use 6 different bibles KJV,NKJV,RSV(ecumenical),NAB(1st edition),JB(1st edition),Douay/Confraternity and none read like Oblio's,which reads the best to me. Of course the KJV/NKJV/RSV have should but lack may or might. The JB/NAB/Confraternity have the may's so its a RC "thingism".

Guess I'll wait for the complete Orthodox Bible,have room for one more, I think.

James
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2003, 11:48:05 PM »

It all still confuses me a little.. how is one supposed to read the bible?

I believe Oblio posted something for me at CBBS, and alot of the things it said could be seen as subjective. I wish i could find the document.
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If the best thing one can do is point out what they believe darkness be... then how will anyone find light?

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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2003, 12:27:44 AM »

Perhaps this will help: How To Read the Bible.  :reading:
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2003, 01:15:43 PM »

John 3:16 is part of the priest's silent prayers for either Basil's or Chrysostom's liturgy.  AFAIK, it's consistent with translations such as the KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, etc.

The word "believe" comes from the same word for "faith".

This came from the OCF site:
Quote
Priest (in a low voice):
    Together with these blessed powers, merciful Master, we also proclaim and say: You are holy and most holy, You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You are holy and most holy, and sublime is Your glory. You so loved Your world that You gave Your only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He came and fulfilled the divine plan for us. On the night when He was delivered up, or rather when He gave Himself up for the life of the world, He took bread in His holy, pure, and blameless hands, gave thanks, blessed, sanctified, broke and gave it to His holy disciples and apostles, saying:

Priest:
    Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2003, 01:19:00 PM by moronikos » Logged
Linus7
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2003, 06:58:09 PM »

I believe that the words of John 3:16 are literally true, which is not to imply that no one else who has posted here does, as well.

But each passage of Scripture must be viewed within the context of everything else in Scripture and in the rest of the Apostolic Tradition.

Jesus and the Apostles did not have the time to give a full exposition of theology with every utterance. They made remarks that, taken as stand-alone pronouncements, can and have been used to justify almost any sort of strange doctrine.

Of course he who believes in Jesus should not perish but have everlasting life.

But who is it that believes, I mean really believes in Jesus?

Is it not he whose faith gives evidence of itself in good works?

Good works are to faith in Christ like rays of light to the sun. Without the sun there can be no rays.

But if there are no rays then the sun is absent.

Only God will judge who has the kind of belief Jesus spoke of in John 3:16.

John 3:16 cannot be used as some sort of guarantee of a salvation automatically "in the bag" at the instant of a flicker of faith in Christ. The rest of Scripture makes it clear that mere belief, of itself and alone, is not enough.

The kind of belief spoken of John 3:16 is the kind that makes the believer one of the Sheep in Matthew 25:31-46.

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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2003, 07:05:06 PM »

Quote
Good works are to faith in Christ like rays of light to the sun. Without the sun there can be no rays.

Good stuff Smiley  /  <--thumbs up
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2003, 08:21:54 PM »

For those sola scriptura types, there's always the passage in the letter of James wherein it says that "Faith without works is dead."
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2003, 09:08:56 PM »

For those sola scriptura types, there's always the passage in the letter of James wherein it says that "Faith without works is dead."


Correct. James 2:17.

I have argued myself blue in the face with the Fundies, the Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide-ites on just that point.

They usually will not deal with St. James, preferring to respond with their favorite prooftexts from the Pauline epistles (ripped out of context) instead.
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2003, 05:08:40 PM »

It seems that most of the problems I'm reading here with regard to Jn 3:16 relates to its grammar, not so much it's translation.

The statement is a conditional sentence (subjunctive tense), that is, God gave his Son for the purpose that everyone believing might . . . etc.

It's not more definite because of the indefinite nature of "all the ones believing."

Disclaimer: It should be noted I'm not a Greek scholar, however.
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2003, 06:21:06 PM »

John 3:16-7 uses two purpose clauses, which both employ the primary sequence of moods by means of the subjunctive. Thus, "may" should be used rather than "might" as the King James Version does in 3:17.  They're not conditional sentences, though. What all that means for theology, I dunno. But that's the Greek grammar/syntax.

I remember the day our professor handed out copies of the Nativity in St. Luke's gospel with about 12 footnotes on the bottom of the page and said that our Greek work was child's play compared to it. Tongue

Matt
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