July 16, 2019

The Golden Verse of the Bible

I think it is safe to say, in our modern culture we demand brevity. We don"t like long books; baseball games are too long; we criticize our preachers if they preach over thirty minutes. We don't like long winded speakers or sales presentations or negotiations. The head of a company to whom I was making a presentation say, "Stop, tell me in ten words or less, 'What is your point?'"

The task of reading the Bible through requires a great deal of patience particularly when you get to books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy with all those laws and rules. Half way through you want to plead with God, "What's the point? Can you tell me in as few words as possible?"

Brevity has another benefit, perhaps it's most beneficial. Once in our history, people, having few books, committed things to memory; family linage, historical events, important documents, anything worthy of remembering. With the advent of the printing press, these things could be written and copied and recorded and saved. There was not need for memorization. Frankly, our attention span grew shorted. We no longer memorized long passages; brevity became the key to memorization.

So, you ask, what does all this have to do with the title of this article? In God's infinite wisdom, the problem is solved by the inclusion of a single verse in the Bible which is short and to the point and is easy to memorize.  That verse I call the Golden Verse of the Bible. It is in John 3:16.

"For God so loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but the world through him might be saved." King James Version

Now do not get hung up on the unfamiliar words like  "begotten" and "whosoever" and "believeth".
Their meanings are obvious. Focus on the idea, the simple but complex ideas involved.

God; there is a supreme being we call God. Not only is there a God, but this God actually loves the world. This love extends to the plants and animals and dirt and rocks and oceans and, wonder of wonders, this love extends to the humans, you and me and our brothers and sisters. God loves us so much, he is involved with the world and with our lives. Read the Old Testament with this thought in mind, God loves us so much he is involved in our lives, giving rules to live by, rescuing us from damage, developing a culture, preparing us for the time when we will have a chance to live with him in his heavenly home. It is the story of God's love persisting over our disobedience and rebellion.

The OT is the story of God preparing the earth to be reconciled with himself so we might live eternally with him. His Son, Jesus, would be the way to keep us from perishing into nothingness. To be saved. (As an aside, this suggest we needed saving. We had fallen out of favor with God and needed a way to be brought back into favor with God.) All we had to do was believe in the Son! How hard is that?

John 3:16 is the Golden Verse of the Bible, it contains all we need to know. The rest of the stuff is important, it all revolves around 3:16. (Please read verses 17 through 21. They amplify 16.)

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