14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness,(A) so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[a](B) 15 that everyone who believes(C) may have eternal life in him.”[b](D)

16 For God so loved(E) the world that he gave(F) his one and only Son,(G) that whoever believes(H) in him shall not perish but have eternal life.(I) 17 For God did not send his Son into the world(J) to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.(K)

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Footnotes

  1. John 3:14 The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.
  2. John 3:15 Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 21.

13-15 “No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

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God’s Love for Everyone

14 “And just as Moses in the desert lifted up the brass replica of a venomous snake on a pole for all the people to see and be healed,[a] so the Son of Man is ready to be lifted up, 15 so that those who truly believe in him[b] will not perish but be given eternal life. 16 For here is the way God loved the world—he gave his only, unique Son as a gift.[c] So now everyone who believes in him[d] will never perish but experience everlasting life.

17 “God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it![e]

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Footnotes

  1. 3:14 See Num. 21:8–9. The brass snake symbolizes sin and disease. The Hebrew uses a word, seraph, which means a fiery one (fiery serpent). All of humanity has been bitten by the “snake of sin,” but Jesus was raised up on a cross for all people to see. We only need to look to him and believe, and we are healed and saved from sin.
  2. 3:15 The Aramaic participle can also be “believe on him” or “believe into him,” which could explain the variations found in the Greek text.
  3. 3:16 Or “God proved he loved the world by giving his Son.”
  4. 3:16 Or “believe into him.” Salvation and regeneration come only by faith. True faith (Gr. pistis) contains a number of components: acceptance, embracing something (someone) as truth, union with God and his Word, and an inner confidence that God alone is enough.
  5. 3:17 The Aramaic is “so that they shall live by his hand” (of power).