So I’m going to start using the blog to write up grammatical analyses. It’s mostly for my own benefit to make sure I’m as thorough as I should be when I am working through a passage for sermon prep. But it also means I have the benefit of the wisdom of any of my readers – you can comment/correct my analysis as appropriate.
So, next Sunday (20th June 2010) I’m preaching on John 3:16-21 at my old church (Holy Cross, Hove). I’ve pretty much written the sermon already, so I’m writing this stuff retrospectively.
The initial γαρ of v16 shows that what follows builds on what precedes (i.e. vv14-15).
[This is significant as this verse is mostly found outside of its context. But in order to order to understand what John means by “believe” and “life” the context of John’s reference to Numbers and the bronze snake needs to be kept in mind.]
Οὕτως is an indeclineable adverb. It means “thusly, in this way.” It does not mean “God soooooo loved…”! It is modified by an unusual construction: ὡστε + indicative (see Burton, Moods and Tenses, §236). According to Burton this clause demonstrates the “actual result” of the independent clause. ἔδωκεν 3s aor act indic, with preceding accusative direct object; subject implied in verb and context. The term μονογενής indicates that these verses are the words of John, not Jesus, since Jesus never applies this vocabulary to himself.
The subordinate οὕτως result clause is further modified by a ἵνα purpose clause. Πας, as always, in predicative position modifying a nominal participial clause. The subject has two subjunctive verb phrases in a “not…but” form (μη…ἀλλα).
ἠγαπησεν – 3s aor act indic ἀγαπαω. The lengthened connecting vowel η is due to the fact that ἀγαπαω is an -αω verb. ὁ θεος – subject of preceding verb. τον κοσμον accusative direct object of ἀγαπαω.
A second γαρ introduction means v17 provides support. I have taken it (and diagrammed it) as coordinate to v16 and therefore modifying what precedes, as a whole. It is possible that it is to be taken as subordinate to v16 providing supportive information for that verse specifically.
The main clause is simple enough: negated 3s aor act indic verb, explicit subject, direct object and prepositional phrase. The subject and prepositional phrase have counterparts in v16 (hence why I have taken v17 as coordinate to v16).
There are two parallel subordinate ἵνα clauses (ἵνα…ἀλλ’ ἵνα…, cf. v16cd). Both have subjunctive verbs, the first being active, the second passive. If v17c were active rather than passive, ὁ κοσμος would be the direct object (i.e. “Jesus saves the world” rather than “the world is saved through Jesus”).
[ Why does John say “but so that the world might be saved through him” rather than “but to save the word”? The latter would be a more obvious parallel to the first ἵνα clause. ]
V18 is comprised primarily of two parallel contrasting clauses. The first is positive and the second negative and is further explained by an ὅτι clause. The nominative participle is the same as in v16c (ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν). In the second clause (18b) it is negated and abbreviated to simply (ὁ πιστεύων). The same verb is used in each clause. Firstly it is 3s pres pass indic, second it is 3s perf pass indic.
The subordinate ὅτι clause of v18c is causal: explaining the reason why the one who doesn’t trust is already judged. 18c features the fourth and final occurrence of πιστευω in three verses. The majority of the clause is a right-branching prepositional phrase.
V19 introduces the final cola of this section which spans through to v21. The repetition of κριν* roots suggests that vv17, 18 and 19 are parallel. V19b introduces the first occurrence of φως which continues through to v21a, with σκοτος in 19c too. Similarly to with ἐργα* (19d, 20c, 21b, c).
The postpositive δε seems to introduce a conclusion-type clause (note the asyndeton of v22).
The main clause is brief, but the demonstrative pronoun αὕτα introduces a complex series of subordinate clauses. The following ὅτι introduces two και coordinated clauses. το φως is in focus position (known information placed before the verb). Note the repetition of ἀγαπαω (still aor act indic, but 3p here instead of 3s in v16) contrasting God’s love of the world with mankind’s (= the world’s) love of darkness.
The final γαρ introduces two further parallel clauses headed by comparable participial phrases contrasting the one who does evil and the one who does truth/good (which, in context, = trusting in Christ). The three main verbs (μισει, ἔρχεται x2) are all present tense-form. Each has an attached ἵνα purpose clause reference to ἐργα.
The final ὅτι is nominal. The closing reference to θεος may be an inclusio (cf. v16a).
There’s more that could be written, but that’s enough for now.