Ah, John 3:16. The most often quoted of all verses of the Bible. It is the “Good News” of eternal salvation offered by God to believers. I grew up deaf and hearing impaired, not Hearing. Church did not appeal to me. Because of my deafness and hearing impairment, I did not learn much or understand much. But, John 3:16 was one of the very few verses I learned to memorize.
When people say it is best to memorize Bible verses when young, they are right. It is so hard for me to memorize new verses now that I’m old. But I do enjoy technology and smart phone Bible apps. Bible reading apps help me search the Bible to find the “missing verse” I need. I recommend trying out the YouVersion Bible app available for smart phones and tablets.
Perhaps the most beautiful translation of John 3:16 is found in the King James Version of the Bible. The KJV Bible was completed in 1611 during the the reign of King James who was first King James VI of Scotland before he also became King James I of England, Ireland, and of all Great Britain. In those days, the King was also the head of the Church of England. King James was known for his scholarly life. He wanted to update the Bible for the English people of his day. The KJV is noted for its “majesty of style” prose. For today’s students of English, it requires a 11th grade level of understanding. This translation poses a serious challenge for Deaf to understanding God’s Word. A modern English translation such as Easy Reading Version (ERV) is a good read for Deaf believers. It also happens to be my favorite translation.
It’s important to know what God means in verse John 3:16 and Colossians 2:14. John 3:16 is saying God gave up his only Son. Gave up meaning Jesus died on the cross. Crucifixion (death on a cross) was the usual death penalty in the Roman Empire, and a horrible way to die. Why did Jesus have to die? And why do we need to believe in Jesus? The answer in KJV is that so we do not perish and have everlasting life. If that’s not clear enough for you, a clarification is found in verse Colossians 2:14.
Colossians 2:14 says we broke God’s laws. Like all sinners (criminals) there is a price to be paid. For criminals in today’s society they may have to spend time in jail or face the death penalty. In God’s eyes, as sinners we have to pay the penalty of death. His gift to us is through faith in His only Son Jesus. Jesus gave Himself up on the cross, and died to pay the price for our sins. God will forget our sins and “pardon” us. Why? Our sins required the death penalty. Not the earthly death we all face, but the second death of going to eternal Hell. In Jesus we are saved from our sins and go to eternal Heaven. God the Father forgave our sins by giving up His only Son Jesus Christ. Believe in Jesus, and He will forgive us, and we will go to Heaven when we leave this earth.
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.” (KJV)
Colossians 2:14 “wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross” (WEB)
[End of Part Four of Eight Part Series]