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John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 17:9

9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

It is commonly believed, among many, that the word World in John 3:16, indicates that God loves all men and offers them salvation. Yet in John 17:9 Jesus says "I am not praying for the World".

How are these two sayings of Jesus reconciled ?

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The word "world" (κοσμος) can have a number of meanings other than "every human being without exception," which is how it is often taken. A.W. Pink maintained that there are 7 uses for the word "world" and John Own offered (I believe) 16. In John's gospel there are a few meanings present, ranging from "every human being without exception" to "all nations of the earth" to "non-elect humanity." In John 3:16, I believe John is referring to this first use, reflecting a real love of God for all that he has made, and to the universal call to repentance and faith in Christ. In John 17:9, however, he is speaking about the world which does not (and will not–John 17:20) believe in him for salvation, or "non-elect humanity." The importance of this is that Jesus intercession and prayer are tied to his sacrifice. As the High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1), his prayers for his own will be as effective as his sacrifice for them. Jesus prays for his own, and not the world, and his prayer is heard.

Does that help?

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Good start. Not looking for a biblical theology of the word nor are we looking for an overview of word uses –  swasheck Nov 12 '13 at 2:27
You're right. To answer the actual question, I'd just say that we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory statements in John by examining their contexts. Upon doing so, I think the answer that emerges is that in John 3, Jesus is speaking about God's love for all mankind which moved him to send his Son as a real offer of love and salvation to all who would receive him. In John 17, Jesus is not praying for the world, that is, those whom he knows will not receive him because they are not his; they were not given to him by the Father and in that sense do not belong to him (cf. John 10). –  Daniel Stanley Nov 12 '13 at 2:38
@Daniel Stanley Yes Thanks for your time and welcome .! I believe the word that is often used as regards John 3:16 and the word "World" is the word Hyperbole a word you are familiar with no doubt. Hyperbole can be used as a figure of speech! The emphasis here, in John 3:16, is the Love of God. So great it is, that we cannot fathom its depths and no words can describe its fullness not even with the use of Hyperbole. That one sinner was saved would fully warrant the use of hyperbole in John 3:16. Another example... Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away –  John Unsworth Nov 12 '13 at 12:30
Thanks for your contributions Daniel and welcome to the site. Judging by your comment above, it may be good to edit the contents of your comment into the answer you've given, are you willing to take the time to do that? –  Jack Douglas Nov 15 '13 at 17:18
@Daniel Stanley..I would argue, that the word 'World' in John 3:16. means the elect specifically. God did not love the world universally as seen by john 17:9 Given there is a definite sense, of a love to people in all nations, but this seemingly general terminology can only be defined by scripture which explains the purpose of God in Election. The 'world' here must mean the elect, as God cannot love any outside of Christ and His eternal purpose. The 'World' that God loved, was the 'World' of the elect, for which this world was created! –  John Unsworth Nov 19 '13 at 17:46

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