The Gospel in a Capsule (I)

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 3:11-16

John 3:16 is probably the first Bible verse you memorized as a child, and you can still remember reciting it with your class at a Christmas or Easter program. If you watch professional football on television you’ll almost always see that verse in the end zone.

This verse has been called “the Bible in miniature” and “the gospel in a capsule.” But there’s a problem. We know it so well that, like the Lord’s Prayer, we can say it without thinking. We say it glibly, like “Good morning” and “How are you?” Our tongues move but our brains do not.

So in order to refresh our minds about the meaning of John 3:16 we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to divide the verse into five pairs of words and share a few thoughts about how the words relate to each other.

The first pair of words is GOD and SON. (Take a few minutes to reflect on or discuss the relationship of these words.) Sometimes we are given the impression that God the Father is the bad guy, ready to punish us, and that God the Son is the good guy who intervened to save us. But it’s obvious from John 3:16 that the Father and the Son work together, the one laying out the plan and the other carrying it out. (To be continued.)


Father, help us to see new meanings in the Bible verses we have known and loved since childhood. Amen.