Are these the words of Jesus or a narrative that was added?

I have heard that many bible scholars agree that these verses are not what Jesus said; just wanted to clarify this.

John 3:16 - 21

ESV - 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 28 2015 Dsc 0043 Tim Collinson

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Kodak camera 851 John Anderson
The Bible is quite clear that all scripture is God breathed. I often hear people say "The Bible is full of lies, superstitions or mistakes". I always ask them to show me one, they can't. People have been trying for 1,000's of years to disprove the Bible. Now, did Jesus say it? I believe he did since it says he did in the Bible. Again, all scripture is God breathed and Jesus is fully God.

March 29 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Galen 2 Galen Smith Retired from Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary
If I knew who said that John 3:16-21 was not what Jesus actually said and why they think that way, your question would be easier to address. Not knowing that, I can think of a couple reasons why people might possibly make such a claim.

Many years ago I had a college professor who made a statement close to this: "Because the synoptic gospels all generally agree over the details of Jesus' life and ministry, and John is so different, many scholars discount the entire gospel of John. It's a simple matter of believing three witnesses over one." If you are dealing with such a liberal view as this, the problem is that they do not understand the nature of "gospel" as a literary style. A gospel is not a biography, but it is a document that draws from biographical elements to make a theological statement. We cannot simply "toss out" John's gospel because it is different than the synoptic gospels.

It may be possible that whoever said this may have been under the impression that this passage has poor manuscript evidence. There are a few passages in some older translations that are not included in others because some of the older manuscripts were discovered that omit these passages. But if this is the reason anyone believes John 3:16-21 wasn't spoken by Jesus, they are mistaken. The manuscript evidence for these verses is very strong. There is a passage in John 8 that is in doubt, but not this one.

I suspect, Tim, that you've heard some statement of the views of those who are part of "The Jesus Seminar." This is a group of extremely liberal scholars who met twice each year to vote on how authentic the sayings of Jesus in the gospels really are. Robert Funk first convened this group in 1985, and in 1995 they published their findings in "The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say?" It is printed in four colors: red means Jesus almost surely said this; pink means he probably said something like this; gray means he did not say this, but his ideas are close to this; black means there is no way Jesus said this. In John's gospel, there are no red verses, one pink verse, a few gray verses, and no black verses.

A fuller discussion of The Jesus Seminar is beyond the scope of this answer, but they do have "seven pillars" they follow as interpretive assumptions, which are not accepted by the preponderance of New Testament scholars. Most biblical scholars consider those of The Jesus Seminar to be far beyond the liberal extreme of sound biblical scholarship.

If none of these are the reasons those you've heard made their claim, I'm not sure what their basis is, or how to respond to it. I hope these comments are of help to you.

March 31 2015 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

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