John 3:16 Is Great, But What About Another?

God wants us to consider every verse in the Bible with equal awe and reverence.

The fact is, most folks know the basic gist of John 3:16 because they’ve seen it constantly promoted as Christianity’s go-to catchphrase. They know it’s an advertisement slogan for Jesus as much as “Just Do It” is a pithy salute to Nike. And therein lies the problem. In some ways, “John 3:16” has become just another billboard cliché in a sea of American consumerism that has blended into the cluttered landscape as a benign symbol of conventional Christianity.

 

I’m sure you’ve seen the phenomenon before. You’re sitting there watching a baseball game on TV when all of a sudden a large sign pops up in the stands behind the batter’s box reading, “JOHN 3:16.” It’s a well-known technique of stealth evangelism and quick-strike Gospel proclamation that’s been around for decades at various televised sporting events. As soon as that sign appears, no doubt thousands of unsaved viewers are sent scrambling for a Bible to see what the hubbub is all about.

But do they really?

It makes me wonder what would happen if someone decided to really shake things up by holding a sign that read (for no particular reason), “HABAKKUK 3:8.” Hoo, boy, I bet a good number of folks would be suddenly Googling THAT peculiar reference on their smartphones—just to get some sort of informational closure. A “John 3:16” sign? Not so much.

The fact is, most folks know the basic gist of John 3:16 because they’ve seen it constantly promoted as Christianity’s go-to catchphrase. They know it’s an advertisement slogan for Jesus as much as “Just Do It” is a pithy salute to Nike. And therein lies the problem. In some ways, “John 3:16” has become just another billboard cliché in a sea of American consumerism that has blended into the cluttered landscape as a benign symbol of conventional Christianity.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the quick spark of a succinct Bible verse. I’ve always thought highly of John 3:16. I even enjoy Acts 13:48 as an interesting follow-up. A few years back, I was waffling between a special fondness for 2 Timothy 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8. Then I had some friends who turned me on to Romans 1:16 and John 14:6.

Recently, however, I’ve zeroed in on a new favorite Bible verse to put on public display. It’s 2 Kings 11:2. Yeah, that’s right: Second Kings. It comes right after First Kings when you’re flipping past the “tedious” Old Testament to get to the cool parts about Jesus. For those silly Christians out there who have failed to memorize this pivotal verse (wink), here it is with the preceding sentence thrown in for context:

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she rose and destroyed all the royal offspring. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and placed him and his nurse in the bedroom. So they hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death.

Rather obscure, isn’t it? You better believe it. Bold choice, you say? Hey, that’s just how I roll. This passage involves some heavy lifting, too. Not only will the long string of biblical names give you a Charley horse in the tongue when you try to pronounce them, but there is some serious drama going on here that will probably make you cringe.

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