I was asked about the subjunctive in John 3:16. The concern was that the NIV/NLT reads “shall,” which makes it a promise of salvation. His contention is that the subjunctive makes it a “condition of salvation” and it should be translated as “may,” and the Greek grammar does not “allow” the translation “shall.”
First of all, let’s have a little humility. To say that two major translations mistranslate a famous verse, choosing a translation that the Greek does not “allow,” is quite a claim.
Is it possible for two major translations to make a major mistake? Sure. I think that translating οὕτως in John 3:16 as “so” is precisely that. But is it possible that two major translations violate Greek grammar in the same verse? Highly unlikely.