Answering John 3:16

By Nick Bibile




John 3:16 says; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This means God sent his Son to die for everyone as it says God loved everyone, that he gave his Son to all men.  This is my pastor is teaching and also I heard over the radio many pastors are preaching this message. Is this correct?




This is not correct. We will not hold to the popular view but to the correct view. When interpreting scripture it is very important to know the background of the passage, to whom it is being addressed and the context of the scripture, these are the most important issues a word study on a word cannot interpret the scripture unless you have what I have mentioned.  Now let’s look at John 3:16


The background.


Jesus the Savior is speaking to Nicodemus, highly respect Jewish leader and a rabbi. Nicodemus have seen the miracles of Jesus regarded him as a divine messenger or a prophet. He was not looking for a spiritual Savior who can deliver him from personal guilt and sin but like all Jews was looking for a  deliverer from the foreign yoke of the Romans. We are not sure if Nicodemus came to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah but he saw that Jesus was no ordinary man. He came in the night to have a private conversation with Jesus. He came in the night to avoid any fear of being noticed by his colleagues.


Nicodemus believed that the Messiah’s mission is only for Israel. But here in John 3:16 said, God so loved the world. What does it world mean? Every single individual living on earth, including mountains, trees, rivers, sea, rocks, animals and everything in the world that you see? No. Remember Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, how does a Jew, a ruler of Israel understand the meaning of the world.


To Nicodemus the world means Gentiles. A good example is when we are in the church we say we are of Christ but those outside are of the world, it is the same concept the Jews had. They were the children of Abraham and the world was the Gentiles.


The nations or the world was distinct from the Jews. Let’s see this very clearly. Matthew was a Jew and Luke was a Gentile. Let’s take a verse what Jesus said of the Gentiles and how Matthew being a Jew and Luke being a Gentile wrote on this verse.

Lu 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

Luke was a Gentile and writing not from a Jewish mind but from a Gentile mind. For the Gentile mind it is the unbelievers are nations of the world. Now Matthew who was Jew writes on the same scripture.

Mt 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. To Matthew there are two people, Jews and Gentiles, he would not tell the Jews nations of the world.


When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He is speaking to the believers, Jews and Gentiles scattered all over the world.


See the fulfillment of this scripture.

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (C/F Ephesians 1:4; 2 Tim 2:9)


Now let us see in context. To get the context you need to go before and after. Let’s begin with verse 14.


Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.


Here we see the picture of salvation, it is Jesus that can take away our guilt and sin and bring healing of salvation to our souls.


Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.


Whosoever believe in him is a Christian.


Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


For God so loved, not only Israel merely, but the world, all believers scattered around the world.  God did not sent not his Son to destroy the Gentile nations but to be the Savior of men.


Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


God could have condemned all of us and send us to hell as God is not obligated save anyone, he did not pardon angels when they sinned in heaven but there is salvation for the chosen ones.


Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


Do all people believe? No only he that believe on him, and only a Christian can believe.


Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.


Here we see in context, all men will not believe as the natural man the fallen man would love their sins rather than coming to Christ unless God will regenerate them first by his grace.


When you see the word world does it mean believers? No.

Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Here the world are the unbelievers

Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Here again we see the believers are taken out of the world by Christ and the world hates the true believers.

Joh 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Jesus was manifested or came to those who were elected by God and they came out of the world, means there is a separation from the others.

Joh 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

We need to take John 3:16 in context, we see Jesus saying God so loved the world and in John  as we see 17:9 He is not praying for the world.  If God loves everyone then how come Jesus is not praying for all but only to the believers?  Jesus did not pray only for his disciples but for all the believers.

Joh 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.

However he did not pray for those who will not believe. Does it mean that God hates unbelievers?

God does not hate all men as creatures but as sinners. God has a general love to all his creatures as he gives the rain, the sunshine to all. But Gods particular, intimate love is with the true believers.

Mt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

There are two parties angry God and Man. On mans part he is angry with God there is enmity due to sin. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God (Ro 8:7) And from Gods part he is angry with the sinner.

Ps 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

The world does not mean every single individual.

Joh 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Ro 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Did all men believe that Christ came to bear witness? Including king Herod, the Scribes and the Pharisees? Did they believe that Christ came to die for them? No. They did not believe that Christ died for them, they did not believe him to be God, the Son of God, the Messiah, and the Savior of men.

Who are the all men who believe in him, whom he will draw and all men whom he will justify? Are they the unbelievers or the believers? Yes believers, because unbelievers cannot believe in him. These scriptures are referring only to the elect.

When Christ died, did he draw all men to him? After he was resurrected, did he appear to all men? Are all men justified? The answer is obvious, No. Then the word all is to be taken in limited sense. It does not mean every single individual.

If we say that Christ came and died for all men, meaning every single individual but every single individual is not saved, then Christ did not die for all. He died only for the true believers. Now we when we preach the gospel we do not know who is elect and who is not. If God put a yellow stripe on the face of all the elect who will hear the gospel and respond, we not waste our time in preaching the gospel to everyone as we know the people who have a yellow strip on their face will respond and we will preach the gospel only to them as we know they will be saved. However, God did not put a yellow stripe on the faces of the elect, so we are commanded to preach the gospel to every creature, however only the elect will respond.

" The whole world has gone after him" Did all the world go after Christ? "then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? "Ye are of God, little children", and the whole world lieth in the wicked one". Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words "world" and "all" are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the "all" means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ... (C.H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption)

Let us see more on the word all

Lu 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The good news and the great joy is only for the elect of God. This refers again to his people.

Mt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

He came as the mediator for his people, his people like any other were the children of wrath, and enemies of God and Christ came to save them.

Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

First, the gospel is preached to them, and then they realize that they are lost and perishing and they need a Savior. Then they are convicted of their sins and they will repent and be converted. The Philippian jailor cried out to Paul and Silas, sir, what must I do to be saved? There was an urgency of the wrath of God that is coming, how can I be saved from this danger? Three thousand people were converted under Peter’s sermon as they saw the danger and were convicted by their sins

1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Some say it was the will of God that all men should be saved, and he died for all.

In this context, the will of God is efficacious, meaning effectual and productive. His will is for his good pleasure. It is based on thy will be done. Therefore, what is accomplished is his effectual will. ," Ps. 115:3. "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth," If all, then, here be to be understood of all men universally, then God failed on his purpose of his will.

If it was the will of God for all men, that is including every single individual to be saved, then they will be saved. Because who can resist his will? However, it is a fact that all are not saved. Because it is very certain it is not the will of God for all to be saved. The Antichrist is not saved and his followers are not saved. It was the will of God not to reveal the gospel truths to everyone. It was his will that it should be so.

Mt 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Therefore, it is not his will to save everyone. Then what about 1 Tim 2:4? Read carefully from the beginning.

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Apostle says that prayers and thanksgivings be made for all men, then he goes on to say for kings, and for all in authority. This means not men who are only in low class of life but also to men who are in high class of life. It is clear that the word all here is to be interpreted as not every single individual but different classes of people. Let me give a good scripture that goes along with this to understand.

Ge 7:14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.

When Noah and family went to the Ark, did he take every beast to the ark, every cattle, every creeping thing, every fowl and every bird? No, but every animal after his kind. This is speaking of not all the animals but only the different classes of animals. In the same way, Gods desire, his will is that not all men will be saved but all classes of men, men who are in high authority, low authority and different positions to be saved. The power of the gospel is not only to the Jew but also to the Gentile. Therefore, prayers and thanksgiving should be made to the Gentiles too who are in all classes of life.

If someone still does not believe then he has a problem with verse five. The mediator came only for his people. If the all people are not saved then the mediator failed in his work to save his people. On the other hand we received the promised of eternal inheritance because of our mediator.

1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

By the way this confirms even more if you read I Tim 2:6

1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Again, we know that Christ did not pay the ransom price for every single individual, if all would be ransomed then all would be saved. Again, the context of this passage is all classes of people. The ransom price was paid for all classes of people. We notice that Paul was ordained to preach for the Gentiles. The ransom price was paid not only to the believing Jew but also for the believing Gentile. If the ransom price is paid for every single individual and if they are not saved, then the price that was paid is in vain, it has no value, as they are not all ransomed. The ransom price that Christ paid has infinite value as it satisfied the Father. The ransom price was paid for many for a limited number of people of all classes including the Gentiles.

Mt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

What about 1 Tim 4:10?

1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

First, I would like you to see how Paul made it clear as he distinguished between two. The word specially in Greek here is malista It means chiefly or above all.

1.            Savior of all men.

2.          Specially of those that believe.

I would like you to use common logic that both cannot be the same and true. If he is the Savior of all men, then why did Paul say specially of those that believe? They should be included in Savior of all men, because he is the Savior of those believe. However, Paul distinguished by saying specially of those that believe that means there is a difference of those that believe and the first statement Savior of all men. The meaning Savior of all men should be different or else it does not make any sense. If Christ is the Savior of all people, including all unbelievers then all must be saved, but some are lost and go to hell so he cannot be the Savior of all people.








Who are HIS people?

Lu 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. This is in reference to what happened in the garden of Eden. We know that everybody had sinned and all are lost but all are not saved.  Mt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Only his people will be saved.

His people are called:

The seed of the woman -  Genesis 3:15. (Note, not all mankind as there is a difference between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.)

The seed of Abraham - Ge 9:9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

God remembered the elect seed when they were in Egypt.

Isa 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Elect of God - Isa 65:9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

Mr 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

My People - Ro 9:25  As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

 Ro 9:26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Peculiar People - Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

My Sheep - Joh 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Body of Christ - 1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ…

Lamb’s wife - Re 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

Holy nation - 1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:


Jesus Commanded to preach the gospel. The gospel call is universal to every creature as we do not know who is elect and who is not, so we are to preach the gospel to everyone. The elect will hear and will respond, as Jesus said, “My sheep hears my voice.”

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: