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John 3:What?

21 February, 2003 3:08 PM

Rachel's latest post about a Christian Billboard with the reference to John 3:16 got me thinking about the whole John 3:16 phenomena. Yep - the verse that was drummed into all of us who went to church from year dot that we were told sums up the whole gospel in a nutshell. I can remember saying it over and over again before Sunday School one week in the hope that I'd be chosen to resite it for the class and get my reward (chocolate)!

Recently someone asked me why this verse was so popular - why it was chosen to sum up the whole gospel? Does it sum up the whole gospel? The more I began to think about it the more I began to wonder if perhaps we've got it all wrong! What single verse would Jesus leave with us to sum up the gospel message if he had a say in it?

Now before I continue I will say that I think Jn 3:16 is pretty good - it says a profound thing. I will also say its pretty hard to sum up something so profound as the gospel with just a few simple words. However i want to put forward an alternative verse and want to ask you to put forward yours!

The suggestion I have is that we keep Jn 3:16, but we don't go to the Gospel of John, but rather the first letter of John. Yes - 1 John 3:16. For those of you with memories like mine it says:

We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

To me this not only encapsulates what Christ did, but points us onwards to what our response should be. The call of Jesus is not simply to get people saved - it encompassed that, but it was so much more. It was (is) a call to a life of making a difference in our world, in the lives of those around us. Its a call to love. If the gospel stops with God's love for us then its only half the picture - its an incomplete gospel.

Interested in your opinion - what verse would you suggest that sums it all up?



Here, here! That's better than the one I posted at Rachael's.

JJ » 21 February, 2003 8:22 PM

Gosh, I hope this doesn't sound too cheesy...

I'm not sure putting emphasis on one verse, or putting a verse or saying on a billboard influences too many. I am encouraged by the '-signed God' billboards because they're not pushy and are sort of humorous. I'm not sure if any of this reaches unbelievers, or significantly changes anything.

What if we, who have been chewing on His Word, most of our adult lives anyway, were 'human billboards?' I mean we are, right? So then it is the entirety of His Word. Not that we do works to be seen, but we just live differently, we just do...

Laura » 23 February, 2003 8:08 PM

Great question... linking to it.

Mike Todd » 23 February, 2003 8:09 PM

"Jesus went to Galillee preaching the Message of God: 'Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message." - Mark 1:15

Mike Bishop » 23 February, 2003 8:10 PM

"Jesus went to Galillee preaching the Message of God: 'Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message." - Mark 1:15

Mike Bishop » 23 February, 2003 8:10 PM

Romans 5:8
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

» 23 February, 2003 8:10 PM

Here's my favorite (It's kinda long--sorry), 2 Cor. 5:17-21: "What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, "Be reconciled to God!" For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." (NLT)

Debi » 23 February, 2003 8:11 PM

I was taught John 3.16 "summed it up" not 'cause it was the most important verse necessarily, but it's an acronym literally for the Gospel -
You're right there are probalby others that hold more of Christ's message for us now...

alice » 25 February, 2003 1:32 AM

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