If I were to ask you how many Bible verses you could quote, what would your number be? You’d say, well you know thinking about maybe 10 good verses may be a lot more than that among those you could quote with John 3:16 be one of those verses you know almost everybody can quote in John 3:16 for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life it’s a favorite verse among those that are quoted from the Bible but you know sometimes in verses that we quote often maybe we fail to really slow down to stop and really think about the words that are used in those verses have you ever been quoting John 3:16 and thought I wonder what the term or the terms only-begotten mean in relation to Jesus Christ only begotten with you today now in our popular translation only begotten is the best translation that you could put in the text I know some modern speech translations are moving away from the beginning part of that word and then you get translations like the only Son and that really creates a problem when you consider that other people can be sons of god only begotten is really the best sense of the term but did you know in the original language it’s just one term and it’s a compound word the first of those words mono is the word that means one only it even carries the sense of unique and then the second part of that Ganesh is the word that means born it is the the word that means offspring it carries the sense of a child and when they are combined together it has reference to the fact of the only begotten a’somethin who’s under consideration and in the Bible especially in the New Testament we see this word being used for example in John 1:14 and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth how about John 1:18 no man hath seen God at any time the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father he hath declared him now it’s interesting because in both those verses we’re only exclusively talking about Jesus Christ the only time I know in the New Testament where it’s not talking about Jesus Christ would be in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 17 when it talks about the son of Abraham Isaac and Isaac offering up upon that altar on one of those mountains of Moriah his only begotten son and that certainly gives us a help and assistance when we look for the definition of the term but it’s used of Jesus primarily and so really there are two senses in which that word is intended to be conveyed that idea of only begotten in the New Testament first and foremost obviously it’s used with reference to Jesus and the Virgin conception of Jesus it is a reference to the miraculous nature of his birth in genesis 3:15 we can go back in the Bible and read that protoevangelium we can read that first glimpse of the gospel in the Bible we can read that God said to Satan that he would put enmity between him and his seed and between the and there would be enmity and it would result in the the bruising of the heel of Jesus and the crushing of the head of Satan and from there we would get a sense that you know here is the woman from whom the seed would come who would crush the head of Satan and we learn even from that passage that there would be a virgin conception and then you move all the way up through history and through the Bible to Matthew chapter one and you read of Jesus who was born of Mary without the help of a man and you read of that virgin conception so when the Bible speaks of Jesus as the only begotten Son well clearly it’s a reference to his miraculous birth it’s a reference to the Virgin Conception but there is another sense in which it’s used too since it refers to the uniqueness of the Son of God that he is the unique son of God for example Isaac was the unique son of Abraham in the sense that he was the son of promise well in the same way that uniqueness is applied to Jesus and it also carries the sense of his divinity when you’re talking about Jesus as the only begotten son of the Father it clearly references the fact that the son and the father are of the same nature while we can be sons of God we are not of the same nature as God because we’re not in divine beings we are human beings but Jesus himself while human was at the same time divine he was divine in his nature and so clearly he is unique in that sense and we are eternally grateful we are so grateful that we can read in the Bible of the unique relationship that existed between Jesus and the father in one of the ways that the Bible writers by inspiration describe that was by the term only begotten he was born of a virgin his divine nature he is unique above all sons of God his the only unique son of God and so when you’re reading your Bible and you’re quoting those favorite verses like John 3:16 slow down a little bit and take some time to really reflect on that word only begotten that’s been our word for the day I’m David Smith and this is in a word
What Does “Only Begotten” Mean?
the Bible writers, by inspiration, describe that the term only begotten means that he was born of a virgin. His divine nature, he is unique above all sons. Of God, he is the only unique son of God.