God's Only Son!

Tim Brown

READ : John 3:11-21

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son . . . (v. 16)

Some translators of the Bible render the word only in John 3:16 as only-begotten. Why the difference? Each version is translating a single Greek word, monogenes. Literally it does mean only in the sense that there were no others, but theologically it means something much more. The Gospel writer is telling us that Jesus is of the same substance with the Father. You can see the critical difference. We are not merely being told that Jesus had no brothers or sisters; in the strictest sense we are being told that he is God! I think those who render monogenes “only-begotten” have the better claim.

And what is at stake here? In our world of multiple- choice gods there is really only one: Jesus Christ alone! This is the way that John Calvin, spiritual forbear to so many of the reformed faith, puts it: “We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. . . . In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other.” Jesus Christ is God’s only-begotten Son!


For the gift of this mighty Savior we bless you, O God. Amen.