I find it strange that some of Christendom’s favourite memory verses also tend to be misunderstood. My favourite example is John 3:16, because it is perhaps the world’s #1 Bible verse™, and also because the mistake is a benign one. Few translations are willing to break with the tradition of rendering it, ‘For God so loved the world…,’ but this archaic construction drives us to read it as ‘for God loved the world so much‘. In fact, we would do better to translate it, ‘For so God loved the world…,’ because it is actually talking about the way in which God has loved us, not the extent. Fortunately both points are well established elsewhere, so it’s not important.
Because the greatest Bible passages get so over-quoted, we tend to glaze over when they’re read, and their impact is diluted or lost entirely. Philippians yields its fair share of these, and it’s a shame, because the one in chapter 3:1-11 is a cracker. Continue reading