John 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."

There is actually a lot going on in John 3:16. First the love of God is proclaimed to the world, not just the nation of Israel. In the Jewish mindset God only loved the nation of Israel, which I believe was true in the OT. So now Jesus being a Jew talking to "a ruler of the Jews" (v.1) and this book written by a Jew to Jews. This divine truth is revealed to them, God not only loves Jews but all nations. Which is clear also from Rev. 5:9, which is one of my favorite verses.

"Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."

    Now to the giving of His Son. It's quite clear from the text that the giving is limited in scope, from what follows. It says that, "he gave his only begotten Son, THAT" or "in order that." So there was a specific purpose in God giving His Son and He tells us what that purpose is.

"that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    I hear this verse so abused to try to teach too many things that I will not begin to list. Mostly though I think people hang onto "Whosoever" and say Jesus was given for everybody and died for everybody. By simply looking into the original language though we can see that there would be a better translation for this word. I will show two literal translations which I think would be better.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

"For God did so love the world, that His Son--the only begotten--He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during."

    So according to these two translations we see it doesn't say, "whosoever" but "everyone." There is a reason for this and the reason is the Greek word means "one" or "everyone." (it can be translated in different ways though) The Greek construct is, "pas ho pisteuon" which is literally "the believing one." So God gave His Son in order that the believing one should not perish, but have everlasting life. Which fits perfect with John 6, which teaches that the one's that the Father gives the Son will not perish but be raised up at the last day.