I love to come across passages that resonate for us the truths of other passages. This was my experience this week in reading 1 John 3 as I prepared to lead a women’s Bible study. Meditating on 1 John 3:16, my heart was lifted to praise God again for His great love that Jesus laid down His life for us. His life was not taken from Him…He laid it down…in obedience to the Father…for us to be restored to Him again. Then in this powerful little verse, John writes that we then ought to lay down our lives for each other.
[This reflects so perfectly the two greatest commandments that Jesus taught us to love God with all our being, and likewise, to love our neighbors in the same way we love our own selves (Matthew 22:34-40). How different the world would be if we all determined to obey these commands of Christ.]
As I lingered on 1 John 3, and verse 16, in particular, my thoughts shifted to another 3:16…the one in John’s Gospel. This verse we see on billboards and on signs at baseball games. It’s one of the first verses we memorize as children in church. We lean gratefully on the truth of this verse.
Whoever believes…whoever believes in Him…shall not perish…but have eternal life.
1 John 3:16 and John 3:16. Life-changing truths at similar addresses. There are actually many interesting connections intertwined in verses like these throughout the Bible. Dr. Donald E. Knuth, a brilliant mathematician and computer scientist (Professor Emeritus, Stanford University), wrote about, of all things, the 3:16s. There are 59 of them in Scripture. In his beautifully written volume, 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated, Dr. Knuth used 59 different calligraphers to illustrate these verses as he provided commentary and context.
The Word of God is so profoundly rich; valuable beyond our understanding really. And sometimes it moves an analytical mathematician, who loves the Scripture, to capture its beauty in just this way.