Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

John 3:16

For so (outwv gar).
This use of gar is quite in John's style in introducing his comments (2:25; 4:8; 5:13, etc.). This "Little Gospel" as it is often called, this "comfortable word" (the Anglican Liturgy), while not a quotation from Jesus is a just and marvellous interpretation of the mission and message of our Lord. In verses 16-21 John recapitulates in summary fashion the teaching of Jesus to Nicodemus.

Loved (hgaphsen).
First aorist active indicative of agapaw, the noble word so common in the Gospels for the highest form of love, used here as often in John (14:23; 17:23; 1 John 3:1; 4:10) of God's love for man (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4). In 21:15 John presents a distinction between agapaw and pilew. Agapaw is used also for love of men for men (13:34), for Jesus (8:42), for God (1 John 4:10).

The world (ton kosmon).
The whole cosmos of men, including Gentiles, the whole human race. This universal aspect of God's love appears also in 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 5:8.

That he gave (wste edwken).
The usual classical construction with wste and the indicative (first aorist active) practical result, the only example in the N.T. save that in Galatians 2:13. Elsewhere wste with the infinitive occurs for actual result (Matthew 13:32) as well as purpose (Matthew 10:1), though even this is rare.

His only begotten Son (ton uion ton monogenh).
"The Son the only begotten." For this word see on 1:14,18; 3:18. The rest of the sentence, the purpose clause with ina-exhi precisely reproduces the close of 3:15 save that eiv auton takes the place of en autwi (see 1:12) and goes certainly with pisteuwn (not with exhi as en autwi in verse 3:15) and the added clause "should not perish but" (mh apolhtai alla, second aorist middle subjunctive, intransitive, of apollumi, to destroy). The same contrast between "perish" and "eternal life" (for this world and the next) appears also in 10:28. On "perish" see also 17:12.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 3:16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.