I see where you are coming from and your concern. It is a concern of many. However I think you need to be careful when you say this is what it should say. I noticed you are taking aim at the NIV, the version some critics call the nearly inspired version. What version was your old Bible that are you correcting the language too?
Have you ever looked at this website that show versions side by side http://biblehub.com/john/3-16.htm
Have you ever used the English Standard Version of the Bible?
Dear J L.D,
I found your article very helpful and was reminded that we do need to take the words of scripture seriously. Good translations do matter when we are getting down to details. The Jehovah's Witnesses translation of John 1:1 teaches that Jesus 'was a god' not 'was God' Paraphrases like the MESSAGE can be very helpful, but sometimes they can miss important details.
BUT, we also need to take care when we write about and interpret the scriptures. Something you wrote in the last paragraph could be taken the wrong way. I quote, "..stop focusing on physical things and to stop perceiving Christ as a physical person who concerns Himself with physical things"
As I am sure you know, John wanted to help us to see that Jesus was far more than a man; and yet He also went to great pains to refute an early form of Gnosticism which tried to teach that Jesus didn't really come in the flesh - because the flesh was evil. But John 1:14 says "The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us." Also, 1 John 4:2 says, "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God."
Scripture makes a clear distinction between our physical flesh and the fleshly life.