Reflection and response questions:
1) The phrase “so loved the world” means “loved the world in this way” rather than “loved so much that…” in v.16.* In your experience, what do people (Christians and non-Christians) usually point to when they wonder or talk about how loving and good (or not) God is? How does v.16 color those thoughts and conversations?
*The Greek word translated “so” is houtos, which means “in this way”, not “to such degree/so much.”
2) “Eternal life” is a phrase with particular meaning for Jesus in John’s gospel. It has primarily a relational meaning for Jesus according to John 17:3 (you can read it together); “eternal life” is a life of oneness with God. If we understand “eternal life” this way, when does eternal life begin—when we die? How might you describe what eternal life looks like?
3) You may have heard the question, “Will you go to heaven when you die?”, as a sort of bottom-line self-diagnosis question that makes us turn to Jesus. What other questions could we ask to help ourselves and others turn to Jesus, questions that are perhaps better and more faithful to Jesus’ mission and teaching? As you answer, try to refer to Bible verses that contain Jesus’ teaching or explanations of his mission.