Read His Words Before Ours!
Confession: I can recite John 3:16 in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, but I am pretty sure I could not share from memory any other verse in that version. The other verses I have memorized and catalogued in my brain are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) version.
I grew up learning verses and the practice of memorizing the Word has proven it’s worth to me over and over and over again throughout my life. Verses tucked into the recesses of my mind have been breathed upon by the Holy Spirit at just the moment when I needed to hear His voice of truth. They have been guideposts, brought conviction, given hope, and provided solid lifelines. It is in the midst of these sweet reflections of the value of memorizing I am also challenged to remember to interact with the memorized verses and not just be able to recite them.
These are the words of life,
not simply a set of words attached to a place in the Bible.
As I slow down and ponder the words of John 3:16, I’m reading it in different versions as well. Today I’m focusing on the word “whosoever.” I don’t know about you, but since I am not in the legal field or one who uses the KJV routinely, “whosoever” has become more of a transition word between the beginning and end of the verse rather than a key component of the verse. However, reading the different versions have reminded me of the significance of “whosoever.”
Christian Standard Bible (CSB): everyone
The Message (MSG): anyone
The Amplified Classic (AMPC): whoever
New International Version (NIV): whoever
The promise found in John 3:16 is for everyone, anyone, and whoever.
While the other translations of the Bible help me grasp a better awareness of who is included, the KJV caused me to think of the entire verse from a legal perspective, and the covenantal love found in John 3:16 came to life: the covenant between God the Father and whosoever. He gives His son, Jesus, and eternal life through Him to whosoever believes in Him.
Many have stepped into this covenant with the Lord and been rescued from the consequences of sin, which is eternal death and separation from God. And just in case someone reading this might be disqualifying herself as a “whosoever” due to her history, let’s review a few noted individuals in Scripture.
The Woman at the Well
Are you a “whosoever” actively avoiding life currently?
So was she.
This woman went to the well during the heat of midday just to avoid interacting with others. She wore the identity of outcast based on her sordid past. Her history may well have been caused by her own choices, yet the Lord offered His relentless, covenant love. She willingly believed, surrendered her will to His, and joined the ranks of the “whosoever.”
Thief on the Cross
Are you a “whosoever” currently feeling like she is beyond redemption?
The thief on the cross literally had moments to live after living a life that led him to death by crucifixion. Yet, despite a lifetime of guilt and shame, there he encountered the Savior. After that brief interaction, he received the promise of living in Paradise with Christ on that very day!
Are you a “whosoever” battling the need to earn your relationship with the Lord?
Maybe you feel “not good enough”. Maybe you wonder if you’ll ever be enough. Maybe the burden of trying is becoming too heavy?
Saul, not yet Paul, lived a life that earned him rank and prestige among the religious leaders of the day. He had the upbringing and connections that enabled him to walk with power and impact. He met the mark for being a member of the religious community. However, it was not until his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus that he truly experienced a relationship with Him and discovered that it’s not about doing for the Lord but being with Him.
These are just three examples of people found in the Word who chose to believe in the Lord. “Whosoevers” who made a decision forever changing their lives and their eternities.
Where do you find yourself today?
What is your whosoever story?
I encourage you to boldly acknowledge where you are today and ask the Lord to meet you there. He has proven faithful to His covenant with us over and over and over again through Scripture.
He will extend that faithful love to any whosoever who believes in Him.
I know “this whosoever” (raising my hand) writing today needed this reminder of His faithfulness to all those who came before me as I talk to God about my current whosoever status.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!