John 3:13 Billboard Mischaracized


There is a billboard around here. It states, “those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life”. Now, as you know, this is a bit of a stray from what John 3:13 reads. The word “will” has been substituted for “may”.

The word “may” has many forms of its definition in English. I do disagree with the use of the word “will”. Here is why:

The word “will” has a future tense. The word believe, as it is used, denotes present tense. If one believes, one would have God in him; this is not negated by the use of the word “will” in John 3:13; however, it is not explicit. On the other hand, if one believes in Jesus, and commits mortal sin in the future, that indiviudal will not have eternal life.

Therefore, the statement on a billboard by those who may have a hint of a good intention is misleading and in error and does much harm to the church!!! I am aggravated by this; yet they have a right to post what they want. There is no doubt that this is the work of the enemy of God. I have pity on those who are responsible because they don’t understand.


I say this to those who tout John 3:13: Reconcile John 3:13 with John 6.


Finally, even if the display of the wrong word were a mistake, I believe it, with a high degree of certainty, to be caused by the enemy of God.


Remember that St. Paul had great confidence in his salvation.

For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

We can worry about some Evangelical billboard on the side of the interstate but I think too many Catholics downplay the promises made by God, that if we do the best we can, frequent the sacraments, and persevere to the end we will be saved.

For every bit of effort we make to please God, he will multiply it by a factor of 10 and give us the grace to be successful. As a priest once said to me, “You are in complete control of your salvation.”




John 3:13
And no one has ever gone up to heaven but he who came down from heaven, the Son of man.


Right. I think the sign writer meant “John 3:17”.


John 3:17 – “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

There’s nothing about “may have eternal life” in that verse either.

I think you And the OP meant John 3:16 – “whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.”

I looked up several translations of that passage at this site: The most common translation appears to be “should not perish, but have eternal life,” followed by “shall…have eternal life,” “may…have eternal life,” and “will…have eternal life.”

I think this is probably a case where several translations are defensible. Re: the future tense, I don’t see a problem saying, “If you believe in Jesus, you will have eternal life,” so long as you don’t deny the clarification: “If you stop believing in Jesus, you won’t have eternal life.”


John 3:16 is an “ina” subjunctive; the verb in question “eche” does not force the English translation of “should have”, “have”, “may have” or “might have”. The Greek simply says that the acquisition, holding, possession, having (“eche”) of eternal life is the purpose (ina, “in order that”) is the purpose (or in this case, a purpose, the other being the negation of perishing/destruction) of God’s action of sending is Son.

That is a big IF, it’s really John 3:16 we’re talking about and not John 3:13, which does not have an ina subjunctive.


These billboards are normally an effort by evangelicals to over-simplify the whole witness of the New Testament by using a false assurance of salvation as bait to attract the relatively feeble-minded who know no better.

Others they use (out of context) are Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9 (NEVER including the 10th verse mind you) and a few others.

For better or worse, something like “All I have to do is believe that God exists and Jesus is His Son and I’m saved forever no matter what” has a certain appeal to a lot of folks. Personally, I think it’s a dangerous, false, minimalist, and simplistic doctrine, but it undoubtedly appeals to some.


Snake bait. LOL. Just kidding, well not exactly.

Yes, John 3:13-John 3:17 is where it is found. Somewhere in there.


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