John 3 16 and Whomsoever

From Whoever Reads John 3:16 Can Know that “Whoever” Is Really There:

The meaning of “whoever” is actually quite strong in the construction used in John 3:16. First, it utilizes a substantival participle, which itself can convey conditionality.4 And this is the type of context in which substantival participles do typically convey conditionality—generic statements. The conditional sense it yields for the sentence carries a generic idea that conveys that if anyone believes, whoever it might be, then that person will not perish but have eternal life. Second, the addition of the adjective πᾶς (‘every, all’), which modifies the substantival participle, strengthens the generic conditional. As Daniel Wallace observes, “The πᾶς ὁ ἀκούων(or ἀγαπῶν, ποιῶν, etc.) formula is always or almost always generic. As such it is expected to involve agnomic idea. Most of these instances involve the present participle.”5 Wallace goes on to specifically identifyπᾶς ὁ πιστεύων in John 3:16 as gnomic6 and elsewhere notes that a substantival participle with πᾶς, which is what we have in John 3:16, is especially indicative of a generic subject.7

This is such an obvious aspect of the grammar that Greek scholar William Mounce declares that it is a fact that “whoever” is in John 3:16.8 When challenged on this in the comment section on his post by someone who seemed to be taking the same position as Bignon, Gibson, Anderson, and White, Mounce replied that the translation “whoever believes” “is a translation of πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων, which is an indefinite contstruction [sic]. I think you are missing that the πᾶς means any and every. THat [sic] is the function of the indefinite use of the word.” And that is the simple statement of why John 3:16 really does include the sense of “whoever:” while there may not be one single word in the Greek text for “whoever,” the Greek construction used (πᾶς + ὁ + present participle) is an indefinite construction that conveys the meaning “whoever.”

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