have come to enjoy talking football with Mark Womack, and he recently
shared an article with me updating the efforts of Tim Tebow to make it in
the NFL. Tebow was an outstanding college quarterback at Florida,
sandwiching the 2007 Heisman Trophy between national championships in 2006
and 2008. But despite a winning record (better than many current starters)
he has had trouble remaining on an NFL roster. The common criticisms
leveled against him are that even though he wins his technique is faulty,
and his professed faith in God is a distraction that most organizations
would rather not deal with.
article reminded readers of the 2008 championship game when Tebow wore
eye-black (makeup under the eyes to reduce glare) that had “John 3:16”
written on it. Not the verse, but simply the reference. This is where the
report really became interesting; Google reported that there were 94
million searches that day to find out what John 3:16 said.
state of Tebow’s career took a back seat in my mind to the sad spiritual
state of our country. I know as well as any that the ideas of “one
nation under God” and “in God we trust” are fading. But I was
stunned to realize that many people didn’t know such a basic passage of
remember learning John 3:16 as a child who did not go to church that
often. Some of you will recall the guy in the rainbow wig who seemed able
to get tickets to every major sporting event on television. The wig drew
attention to him, and when the cameras focused on him he held up a sign
that simply said, “John 3:16”. I was young or dumb enough to not even
recognize it as a Bible reference. I remember asking my mother about it,
and how she was able to immediately quote the verse without looking it up.
I may not have known much, but I knew enough to be impressed with my
mother! Today as I consider the 94 million, three ideas come to me.
the church know what John 3:16 says?
It is obvious that collectively we do not know the Bible as we once did.
Is it possible that we would have to go to Google for even the most
elementary passages and ideas? We are responsible for being “ready to
give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in
you” (1 Peter 3:15). Are we ready?
we getting the word out?
We can’t expect nonbelievers to recognize their dependance on God’s
word. It is our responsibility to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19),
which includes educating them on the word of God.
many would have to go to Google to learn what John 3:16 says today?
Would it still be 94 million? Would it be more? Could it be less? We see
all around us that respect for God’s word is fading. Perhaps currently
the most obvious case is homosexuality. If you respect God’s word on it
you’ll be ridiculed. The world actually expects the religious community
to change our minds and teaching. Even some religious people are
expressing the opinion that we need to change our teaching. A world that
doesn’t know John 3:16 isn’t likely to know Romans 1:26-27 and similar
passages on homosexuality or other passages related to issues of morality.
said through the prophet, “My people are destroyed for lack of
knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). Through Paul He said “faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). There is a correlation
between your knowledge of the word and your faith. We must be deliberately
committing God’s word to memory.