Jesus Christ: God’s “Unique” Son (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:9 Greek & Latin)

John 3:16 — This is probably the most widely recognized bible verse on the planet: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not die, but should have eternal life.” Yet, as familiar as it is to most people, there is still a golden Greek nugget embedded within this verse. Once again, by observing a single Greek word, a beautifully clear truth can be recognized. Our attention should center on the word commonly translated as “only begotten.” The Greek word is from μονογενής (“monogenēs” = only, only begotten). Even the casual non-Greek student observer can readily discern from the phonetic spelling of this word that there’s more going on here than initially meets the eye. It’s easy to spot English derivatives that occur from this Greek compound word. “Mono” is the root for many familiar words like monologue or monotone. In each of these words is the idea of “solitude” or “singleness.”    The second half of this Greek compound (root: γένοςrace, type, kind) is the root for the English “genus” (i.e., “species”).  And, here we have our “nugget” revealed. Jesus is God’s “only begotten Son;”—true enough. More precisely, Jesus is God’s “unique” Son (Lat. unigenitum).  He is the only one of His species. There is no other. Being fully God and fully man all at the same time and in the same Person, Jesus truly is the “unique” Son of God. So, the clearer (more preferable?) rendering of this verse very plausibly is:” For God so loved the world, that He gave His unique Son, that whoever believes in Him should not die, but should have eternal life.

Go to: Wermuth’s

“Christian Love’s Crowning Touch: Loving One Another” (1 John 4:12, Greek & Latin)

Interestingly, on this Sunday of my first post, I found the Greek and the Latin complementing each other quite well as I observed during today’s worship service the Greek and Latin (side-by-side) text of 1 John 4:12b. In the context of the entire verse, Christians, obligated by the love that God has shown to us in Christ, are told that “if we should love one another, God’s love has been fulfilled/made perfect (τελειόω) in us.” The Latin Vulgate closely parallels the Greek here, using a verbal form (consummata est) from which one can easily recognize the roots of our English word “consummation.” Among the lexical Latin definitions of the root word (including: add/reckon/total/sum/make up; finish off, end; bring about, achieve/accomplish; bring to perfection; be grown) is to “put the finishing/crowning touch.” Broken down even further, the student of Latin (or English) can readily spot the basis for the English word “summit” within this Latin word. So, like water increasingly poured into a previously empty glass, or as one standing upon a mountain’s “summit,” God’s love is “fulfilled,” in us, matured to the “crowning touch” when we love one another in Christ.

Go to: Wermuth’s