3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • John 3:16

“He who did it first must do it again.  The original creator recreates the creation.  This is the act that Jesus describes.
“Born: God exerts the effort.
“Again: God restores the beauty.

“We don’t try again.  We need, not the muscle of self, but a miracle of God.
“The thought coldcocks Nicodemus.  ‘How can this be?’ (v.9).  Jesus answers by leading him to the Hope diamond of the Bible.


“For God
so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have
eternal life.”


“A twenty-six-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same.  Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions.  If you know nothing of the Bible, start here.  If you know everything in the Bible, return here.  We all need the reminder.  The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human.  And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16.”

  • Max Lucado, 3:16

What prompted this post is an old memory.  I was teaching the “Video College of Biblical Knowledge,” my whimsical name for the Sunday school class that my wife and I taught.  Right after the book, 3:16 by Max Lucado, came out, along with a video, I went through the six-week Bible study with the Sunday school class.  Of all the videos that we had ever done, the class said that this one, 3:16, had to be shared with others.

I was in charge of the Evangelism Team at the church, so I pitched that we do the series during Lent, a perfect six weeks.  They were all for it.  We advertised.  We sent our fliers.  We plastered bulletin boards.  We ended up with more people from other churches than our own, except for the last week when it was to be a catered dinner – with half the crowd not having a clue what was going on, since attending the last discussion without the previous five was a bit confusing, more than a bit.  They were just there for free food.

But what struck me as odd was one of the elders that wanted to block using the name of the video as our advertisement.  I was perplexed.  I had already gotten the promotion information from Max Lucado’s website and the material that came with the video and book.  All we added were the dates and times.  Now, to assuage one person with ruffled feathers, I had to create new artwork because the name had to be changed?

So, I asked the guy what he disliked about possibly the most famous verse in the Bible.  He said, “There are a lot of verses with the reference of 3:16.  I have no clue which one you are talking about.”

I suddenly had to sit down.  What was going through my mind was watching football games and every time you saw a field goal or an extra point scored, regardless of which end of the field and regardless of which stadium, someone was there with a sign that said, “JOHN 3:16.”  How could this guy be that dull?  So, I mentioned that the number has transcended to the point that just saying 3:16 was enough for people to know that we are talking about John 3:16.

He then said that all 3:16s in the Bible were significant verses.  He removed his objection, but I was so irritated that I never checked.  Sure, I knew 2 Timothy 3:16, but come on!  They cannot all be gems, but if 2 Timothy 3:16 is put to such a harsh test, could it stand up?  Even 2 Timothy 3:16 ends in a comma, not a complete sentence.

Frankly, I could think of many verses that, by themselves, might not even make a complete thought.  Maybe every paragraph could be useful for instruction, but every verse?  It took me 12 and a half years to find out, just in the New Testament.  Genesis 3:16 is part of Eve’s punishment after eating the apple, saying that she must submit herself to her husband.  Maybe a good verse, but I might get letters.  There are six New Testament books without a 3:16, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude are only one chapter long.  1 Thessalonians and Titus do not have a verse 16 in the third chapter.  But the following are ten of the 3:16s, with two more quoted above.  What do you think?

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
– Matthew 3:16

These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter),
– Mark 3:16

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water.  But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
– Luke 3:16

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
– Acts 3:16

ruin and misery mark their ways,
-Romans 3:16

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
– 1 Corinthians 3:16

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, he veil is taken away.
– 2 Corinthians 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.  Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
– Galatians 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
– Ephesians 3:16

Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
– Philippians 3:16

There are nine more 3:16s in the New Testament books.  Some of these verses, like in Mark, Romans, and 2 Timothy do not end with a period, not a complete sentence.  But do they speak to us?  In the case of Mark 3:16, it starts a wonderful list, but only the first name.  A few of these verses cause me to wonder what the context is.  The verse begs me to read more.

I still do not think that any of them compare to John 3:16 in completely stating one of the greatest statements ever made.

God loves us so much that He sent His Son to earth, and we know now for what purpose, to die so that we might live.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

6 Comments

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  1. there’s always one… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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