The late Paul Harvey used to do a series of short radio segments called The Rest of the Story. It began during World War II and continued until his death in 2009. In each segment, he would tell a story about some obscure little tidbit that would always have a significant or surprise ending, usually coupled with the revelation of a famous person or event associated with the story. He would always conclude by saying, “… and now you know… the rest of the story!”
My last Bible Study blog (The Song of Songs) took me over a year to complete, but I was not consistent in posting regularly. I had blogged two Bible Studies prior to that (The Chronological Bible and Hebrews) and was a bit more consistent with those. Well, I would like to try again for consistency and spend a year or so blogging on a new topic. I’ll call it “3:16 – The Rest of the Story”.
John 3:16 is arguably the best known verse in the Bible. It says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Do an internet search on the most well known Bible verse and more often than not, John 3:16 is at the top of the list. I’ve seen it carried on placards in protests, written under the eyes of professional sports players, and even painted on the side of a barn. Even just the reference number (without the actual verse text) is well-known.
That’s where my idea for this study originally came from. It was over 20 years ago that I first made the observation that there are several oft-quoted verses in the Bible that also bear the reference of 3:16. After doing a little research on the development of the numbering system (it is not a part of the original texts), I didn’t find any particular reason to think that there was any particular significance to that reference number being attached to particular verses. Its frequency of association with significant verses is more a function of the overall significance of the entire Bible itself. In other words, the whole thing is significant!
However, just for kicks, I assembled a list of all the 3:16 verses and rearranged them in what I felt was a theme from which the Bible could be explored, and that’s what this Bible study is going to be about – a walk through scripture using the 3:16 verses as a kickoff point for each book of the Bible. In other words, the rest of the story. This will cover 49 of the books of the Bible. There are an additional 17 books of the Bible that either don’t have 3 chapters, or don’t have 16 verses in their third chapter.
For this post, just preview the themes and verses below that will form the core of my blog discussions. I’ll begin with the first one next week. Each week I’ll place the 3:16 verse in its broader context of the containing book and how that fits into the overarching story of the entire Bible. I’ll also point out other significant portions of each book which relate directly to God’s overall redemptive plan and activity. I was reminded this week in an online sermon about the passage in Luke 24:13-35 in which Jesus, following his resurrection, appeared to and walked with two believers as they left Jerusalem on the Sunday that Jesus’ tomb was discovered to be empty. The Bible says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” All scripture fits into an overarching theme of God’s redemptive plan through Jesus and that’s what this Bible study is about.
The Human Condition
1. Ecclesiastes 3:16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness
2. Habbakkuk 3:16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
3. Nahum 3:16 You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more than the stars of the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and
then fly away.
4. Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
5. Romans 3:16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
God Reveals His Plan
6. Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
7. Job 3:16 Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?
8. Exodus 3:16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.
9. Numbers 3:16 So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the LORD.
10. Leviticus 3:16 The priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the LORD’S.
11. Deuteronomy 3:16 But to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory extending from Gilead down to the Arnon Gorge (the middle of the gorge being the border) and out to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites.
12. Joshua 3:16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
13. 2 Chronicles 3:16 He made interwoven chains and put them on top of the pillars. He also made a hundred pomegranates and attached them to the chains.
14. 1 Chronicles 3:16 The successors of Jehoiakim: Jehoiachin his son, and Zedekiah.
15. 2 Kings 3:16 and he said, “This is what the LORD says: Make this valley full of ditches.
16. Isaiah 3:16 The LORD says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with
mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
17. Lamentations 3:16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.
18. Jeremiah 3:16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “men will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.
19. Joel 3:16 The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his
people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.
20. Zephaniah 3:16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
God Fulfills His Plan
21. Nehemiah 3:16 Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes.
22. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
23. Luke 3:16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
24. Matthew 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending
like a dove and lighting on him.
25. 1 Timothy 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
26. Mark 3:16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
27. Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
28. Galatians 3:16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
29. 1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
30. Hebrews 3:16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?
31. Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
32. 2 Corinthians 3:16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
33. Philippians 3:16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
34. Proverbs 3:16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
35. 1 Kings 3:16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
36. 2 Samuel 3:16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back.
37. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
38. 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
39. Judges 3:16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.
40. 1 Samuel 3:16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
41. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
42. Ruth 3:16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her
43. 1 Peter 3:16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
44. James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
45. 2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
46. Ezekiel 3:16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me:
47. Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
48. Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O
Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this
49. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
The books missing from this list are Ezra, Esther, Psalms, Song of Songs, Hosea, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah, 1 Thessalonians, Titus, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John and Jude. As I haven’t written any of this study yet, I anticipate following the sequence above and incorporating these other books into the study as appropriate. We’ll see where God leads me on this. I’ll see you next week!