Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Matthew Poole on John 3:16

In the following passage, extracted from the abbreviated form of his exhaustive commentaries, the noted commentator Matthew Poole expounds on John 3:16.

John 3:16
For God the Father, who is the Lord of all, debtor to none, sufficient to himself, so loved the world, that is, Gentiles as well as Jews. There is a great contest about the signification of the term, betwixt those who contend for or against the point of universal redemption; but certain it is, that from this term no more can be solidly concluded, than from the terms all and every, which in multitudes of places are taken in a restrained sense for many, or all of such a nation or kind. As this term sometimes signifies all persons, so, in 1 John 2:21, the Gentiles in opposition to the Jews. Nor, admitting that the world should signify here every living soul in the place called the world, will any thing follow from it. It is proper enough to say, A man loved such a family to such a degree that he gave his estate to it, though he never intended such a thing to every child or branch of it. So as what is truth in that so vexed a question cannot be determined from any of these universal terms; which must, when all is said that can be said, be expounded by what follows them, and by their reconcilableness to other doctrines of faith. God so loved the world that he gave his Son to die for a sacrifice for their sins, to die in their stead, and give a satisfaction for them to his justice. And this Son was not any of his sons by adoption, but his only begotten Son; not so called (as Socinians would have it) because of his singular generation of the virgin without help of man, but from his eternal generation, in whom the Gentiles should trust, Psalm 2:12, which none ought to do, but in God alone, Deuteronomy 6:13; Jeremiah 17:5. That whosoever, etc.: the term all is spoken to above; these words restrain the universal term world, and all, to let us know that Christ only died for some in the world, viz. such as should believe in him. Some judge, not improbably, that Christ useth the term world in this verse in the same sense as in 1 John 2:2. Our evangelist useth to take down the pride of the Jews, who dreamed that the Messiah came only for the benefit of the seed of Abraham, not for the nations of the world, he only came to destroy them; which notion also very well fitteth what we have in the next verse.


UPDATE: Andrew Meyers informs us that the above passage, while in Poole's commentary, is actually a posthumous addition by Collinges. Mr. Meyers is associated with (part of?) the Matthew Poole Project, so we're willing to take his word for it.


Anonymous said...

Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Here again?

I heard this most interesting "take" on that verse this morning second hand, so I might change a bit once I have the reply I will seek from him on his take.

The take:

this is not a gracious gift at all, John 3:16, and the Evangelical world has taken it quite away from it's purpose; it is a law that is given, that is, this is a command given with an imperative so obviously not able, no one does, so that God's Grace is necessary for anyone to Believe!

The imperative?

WHOSOEVER believes.

Who believe? Now how can you believe in Him you know not? You cannot.

Here's my new interpretive take:

God "so" Loved the world, that is, He brought His LOVE into action in His world that the god of this world still thinks he is ruling, in such a way that all His enemies MISSED it, that is, missed His active Love, so that to those He reveals Christ too, and Christ then reveals Him too, they will actively LOVE the ACT in such a way that God is able to acquit them of their guilt and bring them back into the relationship lost by Adam's act in the Garden, Whom God had to reveal to "him" as He had to reveal Job to "him" to incite Him against him, that is Job, too.

God did not "love" the world fully. He sent Christ to "give" Life to "His" world. He, God Our Father, through Christ, Our Savior and God the Holy Ghost so "loved" the world particularly, especially, namely and electively through His Only Begotten Son in such a Way that He gives to us, who, we, the Elect, who now have had revealed to our hearts "Who" is Our Savior, Life, so that we are now continually forsaking all foolishness and lies about the Truth and now cling to Him, the Truth, daily and continually to the end of our natural days enjoying Him, His Grace, His Mercy and His Peace from now on and forever.

Psa 12:5 "Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise," says the LORD; "I will place him in the safety for which he longs."

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Michael!

Even if it is not explicitly a command here, Repent and Believe is a command.


Andrew Myers said...

Just for purposes of clarification, the above text was not written by Matthew Poole but rather by John Collinges, who was one of the men who completed Poole's Annotations after his death.

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for the clarification!

Your kind correction is much appreciated.