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 GREEKBOOK.com

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  1. […] **Not only is Christ God’s “only begotten” son (incarnate by woman through the Holy Spirit), He is more significantly, as one of the three “persons” of the Trinitarian Godhead, the “unique” Son of God. For more on the “uniqueness” (uniqenitum) of Christ as the “God-Man,” see:  Jesus Christ: God’s “Unique” Son (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:9 Greek & Latin). […]


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