555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

320. Are the Verses "For God So Loved the World,' Etc, the Words of Christ or John?

Some scholars have thought that John wrote those verses as a commentary and that they were not spoken by Christ; but the number of such scholars was small and has become smaller as the discussion proceeded. Their theory was based on the fact that there is a change of tense in the verses in question; that the phrase "onlybegotten" was a favorite one with John; and that no further interruption from Nicodemus is reported. These reasons do not appear to us of serious weight The change of tense occurs only when the topic requires it, and if the words are Christ's the change would occur as certainly as if they were John's. The phrase, "only begotten" was, it is true, a favorite one with John, but probably because he had heard it so frequently from his Master. And as to the third reason, it is not likely that Nicodemus broke in on that wonderful revelation, or that if he did, John would interrupt it to report his questions. We cannot believe that Christ ended his talk with the fifteenth verse, because if he had done so, Nicodemus would not have heard the essential facts. Neither would statements so authoritative have been made by John, unless he had distinctly indicated that it was he and not Christ who was speaking. The subject was fully discussed some years ago and scholars so eminent as Alford, Lange and Stier then expressed their conviction that the whole passage, from the beginning of the tenth to the end of the twenty-first verse, was spoken by Christ.