GOD laid down His life for us
1 John 3:16 King James Bible - “Hereby perceive we the love OF GOD, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
As it stands in the King James Bible we can clearly see a very strong testimony to the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is GOD and HE laid down His life for us.
The NKJV did NOT follow the same Greek texts in their version. They have omitted this all important word GOD and the NKJV reads like this: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Other Modern Translations
It is odd that the NIV, and the New International Reader's Version 2014 read: “This is how we know what love is: JESUS CHRIST laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. “ - even though the words “Jesus Christ” are not found in any texts at all.
The Common English Bible 2011, Expanded Bible 2011, Dan Wallace NET version 2006, Easy to Read Version 2006 New Living Translation 2013 and Contemporary English Version 1995 all say: - "This is how we know love: JESUS laid down his life for us"
International Standard Version 2014 - “This is how we have come to know love: THE MESSIAH gave his life for us.”
Worldwide English New Testament 1998 - “CHRIST died for us. That is how we know what love is.”
Names of God Bible 2011, New Life Version 1969 - “We understand what love is when we realize that CHRIST gave his life for us.
The Voice 2012 - “We know what true love looks like because of JESUS. He gave His life for us”
The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 by Vince Garcia says: “We know what God’s sort of love is like because (Jesus) showed us by laying down his life for us.”
The words “of God” ARE found in the Greek texts that underlie the King James Bible.
The entire Greek phrase “the love OF GOD” is found in Beza’s Greek texts of 1589 and 1598, the Complutensian polyglot version of 1514, the ancient Armenian bible, the Latin Clementine Vulgate - “In hoc cognovimus caritatem Dei”., Greek manuscript 52, as well as the Greek text of the Trinitarian Bible Society put out in 1894.
The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek and English Text also reads like the King James Bible - "εν τούτω εγνώκαμεν την αγάπην του θεού ότι εκείνος υπέρ ημών την ψυχήν αυτού έθηκε".
Here is the Greek Text of Scrivener 1894 put out by the Trinitarian Bible Society. You can see it online here -
εν τουτω εγνωκαμεν την αγαπην του θεου οτι εκεινος υπερ ημων την ψυχην αυτου εθηκεν και ημεις οφειλομεν υπερ των αδελφων τας ψυχας τιθεναι
When the original 1611 King James Bible came out these words "the love OF GOD" were NOT in italics because they are in the Greek text that underlies the KJB; they still are. It wasn't until 1769 that a man named Mr. Blayney had them placed in italics. Notice this article from the Christian Examiner of 1833 that is critical of the changes to italics that Blayney made in 1769. They even mention the example of 1 John 3:16 saying: “He next passes to the consideration of the unauthorized changes made in Dr. Blayney's edition in the use of italics.
"Dr. Blayney and his coadjutors employ them to express their doubts of the authenticity of particular readings,...1 John iii. 16. supplies an instance of modern italics affecting the question of the Divinity of Him, ' who laid down his life for us.' " — Existing Monopoly, pp. 59, 60.
The Christian Examiner of 1833 criticized Blayney on italics.
When Mr. Blayney updated the spelling of many English words and put the words "of God" in italics, perhaps because he thought the KJB translators had followed the Greek text of Stephanus 1550 which did not include this reading. They did not. They followed the Greek text of Beza, which DOES have the words "of God" in the text and so does the Trinitarian Bible Society copy of Scrivener, done in 1894.
The words “hereby perceive we the love OF GOD” or “charity OF GOD” ARE found in Wycliffe of 1380 and 1395, the Douay-Rheims of 1582 and the King James Bible of 1611 (in regular print, not in italics). Whiston’s Primitive New Testament 1745 - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us" (no italics), John Wesley’s translation of 1755 - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us" (no italics), The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments by Charles Thomson 1808, Webster’s 1833 translation, The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994 (no italics), the Revised Webster's Bible 1995, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Evidence Bible 2003 - "Hereby perceive we the love OF GOD, because he laid down his life for us", the Heritage Bible 2003, the English Jubilee Bible 2010, the Urim-Thummin Version of 2001 reads: “Hereby we perceive the Love of Elohim, because he laid down his Life for us”, the Bond Slave Version 2009 - "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us", Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol - NO italics) -
the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 - "Hereby perceive we the ahav (love) of ELOHIM, because he laid down his life for us", Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, Conservative Bible 2011 - “So we see the love of God, who laid down His life for us. We should lay down our lives for our brothers too.”, The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - “In this we have known THE CHARITY OF GOD, because He has laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” and The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 - “ By this we know the love OF GOD: that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (no italics)
The English Jubilee Bible 2010 says: " In this we have known the charity of God because he laid down his life for us" (no italics)
Foreign Language Bibles
The words “love of God” are also found in the Italian Diodati of 1649 - "In questo noi abbiam conosciuto l’amor di DIO; ch’esso ha posta l’anima sua per noi" (no italics), the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1865, the 2004 Reina Valera Gomez bible and the Spanish Jubilee Bible 2010 - "En esto conocemos el amor DE DIOS, en que Él puso su vida por nosotros; también nosotros debemos poner nuestras vidas por los hermanos." The Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 - “Prin aceasta pricepem dragostea lui Dumnezeu, pentru că el şi-a dat viaţa pentru noi şi noi suntem datori să ne dăm vieţile pentru fraţi.”, The Polish Updated Gdansk Bible 2013 - "Po tym poznaliśmy miłość Boga, że on oddał za nas swoje życie. My również powinniśmy oddawać życie za braci." = "the love OF GOD, in that He laid down his life for us"
When we read the King James Bible text of 1 John 3:16 it is a very strong verse for the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
As it stands in the King James Bible, it tells us that GOD laid down His life for us. Compare this verse to 1 John 5:20 - “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. THIS IS THE TRUE GOD, and eternal life.”
Compare also Acts 20:28 "Feed the church of GOD, which he hath purchased with his own blood." It was the blood of GOD that was needed to purchase "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" and clothe them in white robes of His perfect righteousness.
See this study on Acts 20:28 -
Even though many King James Bibles have the words "the love OF GOD" in italics, it is still inspired Scripture. It is in the text. If interested, see my article on the use of Italics in the King James Bible.
If the King James Bible is inspired, then Why the use of italics?
All of grace, believing The Book - the King James Holy Bible,