John 3:16 in Popular Culture

By Amelia Hamilton Published on March 16, 2015

“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.” (John 3:16)

John 3:16 is one of the most powerful verses of the Bible, as it perfectly summarizes God’s sacrifice for us. It’s also one of the most well-known, in large part due to it’s appearance in popular culture. Today, on 3/16, let’s take a look at John 3:16 in popular culture.

Perhaps the most famous recent example comes from football player Tim Tebow. While playing, Tebow didn’t just wear regular eye black like the other football players. Beginning on January 8, 2009, at the BCS Championship Game, Tebow’s eye black read “John” under one eye and “3:16” under the other.

Exactly three years later, Tebow played his first NFL playoff game, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per completion. An essential interception, leading to a field goal, came at third down and 16. The Steelers finished the game with a time of possession of 31:06. The ratings for the game were huge. In fact, they were 31.6%. The attention brought to “the 3:16 Game” led to a spike in Google searches for the verse.

While Tim Tebow might be responsible for sending the most people to Google the verse in recent years, you might run across it more often than you think.

  • “John 3:16” is printed on the inside bottom rim of every cup at IN-N-Out Burger
  • The verse is printed on the bottom of shopping bags at Forever 21
  • “Rainbow Man” is famous for attending sporting events in an eye-catching rainbow wig and holding up a sign that reads John 3:16

God’s love for us is incredible. He so loves the world and each of us, so let’s take the opportunity of 3/16 to share this beautiful verse!

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