Growing up in my church, John 3:16 was considered the “golden” verse of the Bible for good reason. It contains an excellent synopsis of the Gospel.
However, I found interesting data on the most commonly searched Bible verses, and John 3:16 was not at the top of the list.
For example, King James Bible Online received 7 million visits in 2012, and their top searched verse was Psalm 23:4
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
The next most popular verse was Philippians 4:13:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
John 3:16 came in third place.
It is interesting that even Christians try to focus on themselves, on the old “I,” and attempt to search for verses that will build up self-confidence. Hopefully the result is confidence in Christ and not the self.
Recently pastor Greg Laurie addressed the issue of the changing popularity of Bible verses, and how John 3:16 is no longer the most popular verse. In his opinion the most popular verse, even known and used widely by non-Christians, is Matthew 7:1-2:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Greg Laurie was labeled as judgemental for speaking out against gay marriage and the gay social agenda, and these people used the Bible to get back at him. Ironic how those who do not believe the Bible, will use the Bible when it suits their mood to excuse the sin in their life.
Laurie responded correctly by saying that this verse calls us to not condemn, and that in fact, we are allowed to make a judgement:
“But I am to make judgments in life. Every day, I make judgments. If I am stepping into the street, I look both ways to make sure it is safe. That is a judgment. If I see a dog and decide to pet it, only to change my mind when he suddenly bares his teeth and growls, then that is a judgment. So I am to make judgments and evaluations as a follower of Jesus Christ. We must make judgments. But we must not condemn.”
The popularity of Bible verses changes with the agenda of men. Men will use the Bible to accomplish their own goals, and they will use specific verses even to justify their sin.
But the Word of God never changes.
He stays the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, regardless of His popularity.