Perhaps it is not as ubiquitous as it once was, but there was a time where one could rarely attend a sporting event, or even view it on television, for that matter, without seeing someone in the crowd with a sign that simply said “John 3:16.” No, this is not a proposition for a date or a reference to someone with a numerical last name, but it is a reference to a specific verse in the Bible, one that is as familiar as the Pledge of Allegiance:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
There is something very interesting about this verse: “the world.” That suggests that we are talking about quite a few people. Interesting that it did not say “women” or “children” or “men.” Curious that there would be such a broad scope of God’s love.
Forgive my impertinence, but I really thought that the Bible was not gender specific.
Apparently I was wrong, because the Bible-chefs have been hard at work and have chopped up a few more additions to the menu. According to the acclaimed group, Promise Keepers, the Bible has some very specific news for men. Let us set aside this idea of the ecumenical nature of God’s love and instead let us grope for specific moral codes that God had bestowed on men.
Oh, and let us not leave out the ladies! God has some timeless truths for the women of our world to help them feel more empowered even though the Bible was written in a patriarchal society that largely disregarded the value of women except for procreation.
Here’s the problem: focus on the specific word for one gender we miss the most important part of the whole work. If the main purpose of the book is to differentiate, then we miss the good news, that Christ has died for us all. Besides, when we are talking about matters of faith Paul makes a very interesting statement:
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Praise the Lord, who does not show favoritism! Thank God for His everlasting grace to us all!