home
RSS
January 10th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Explain it to me: John 3:16

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – When quarterback Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass Sunday to secure an overtime victory for his Denver Broncos over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, some saw a biblical connection.

The completion gave Tebow, an outspoken evangelical Christian whose penchant for last-minute heroics have given him a reputation as a miracle worker,  316 passing yards for the game. His ten completions averaged 31.6 yards a piece.

Those figures inspired plenty of conversation and debate about a connection some saw to one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16.

The New Testament verse is held up by Christians around the globe because it neatly summarizes some key points of Christianity:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)

In the third chapter in the Gospel of John, Jesus is having a late night discussion with a Pharisee, one of the Jewish teachers of the law, named Nicodemus. The chapter is also where the expression "born again" originates.

Jesus tells Nicodemus: "...no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." In his longer explanation of that idea, Jesus gets to the core of his message in verse 3:16.

The verse is popular with Christians looking to share their faith because it's short and information-packed: God loves humankind, man has sinned and is destined for eternal punishment, but eternal live awaits all who believe in God's son, Jesus.

John 3:16 also has a long history with football and pop culture.

During last year's Super Bowl, the Fixed Point Foundation, which promotes Christianity in the public square, tried to buy an advertisement pushing people to a website to learn about John 3:16 but the ad was was rejected.

The spot showed people watching a football game noticing the phrase John 3:16 on a player's eye black - a sticker or grease that players wear under the eyes to reduce glare from the sun. A man in the ad says he's going to look up the verse, while the ad directed viewers to www.lookup316.com.

At the time, Fixed Point Executive Director Larry Taunton told CNN that Fox Sports said it rejected his commercial because it contained "religious doctrine," though Taunton said the ad avoided featuring the actual words of the verse.

“Increasingly religion and Christianity is treated like smoking – you can do it but only in designated areas,” Taunton said. “They were saying there’s no place for (faith) in the public square. There’s a place for the soft core porn of Go-Daddy, violent movie trailers, and irresponsible drinking, but not for faith."

As a workaround, the Fixed Point Foundation ran its ad on Fox stations locally in Birmingham, Alabama and Washington, DC during the Super Bowl.

Tebow wore Bible verses on his eye black when he quarterbacked the Florida Gators in college.  In the 2009 BCS championship game, he wrote John 3:16 on his eye black. After he left college football for the NFL in 2010, the NCAA banned players from writing on their eye black, which some have called the "Tebow rule."

John 3:16 came into the pop culture view in the late 1970s and early 1980s at sporting events, when a man named Rollen Stewart would don a rainbow colored afro wig and a John 3:16 T-shirt. He was especially good at getting himself in front of the cameras at sporting and big cultural events, including the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Stewart grew increasingly fanatical about his crusade. In 1992 he took a maid hostage with a loaded gun at a Los Angeles hotel, demanding a national press conference to proclaim his new message that the end of the world was near.

He plastered John 3:16 on hotel windows.  CNN reported at the time that it took a SWAT team nine hours to free the woman.

At his sentencing hearing Stewart had to be removed from court when he would not let the judge speak.  As deputies were dragging him out of the courtroom he screamed, "Don't take me out, I said.  God sends love to the world.  Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they're doing.  They know not what they're doing, Lord."

That last phrase is also biblical, attributed to Jesus while he was praying for his executioners as he hung on the cross.

Stewart was convicted and sent to prison in 1993 on three counts of hostage taking and is currently serving three life sentences at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.

Despite Stewart's story, many sports fans continue the tradition of evangelizing at sports games by holding up John 3:16 on placards.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Sports

soundoff (2,029 Responses)
  1. Erik

    It's hard to understand why people would worship a deity that they think is all knowing and all powerful, but still refuses to eliminate starvation and poverty while taking the time to pick sides in a football game.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Jimmy

      Lots of people know about starvation and poverty, but care more about football too. Only proves that people create God in their own image, I suppose.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  2. myweightinwords

    I have long found that the best testament to what I believe is not my words, but my deeds. When I speak about my faith, particularly in a forum that is not designed for that kind of discussion, I am not seeking to show others what I believe, but to be seen for what I *know* and leading with a desire to make others believe what I do.

    However, when I live my life based on what I believe, others see my faith and are moved to seek faith of their own. It doesn't matter to me if they find their way to something similar to what I believe or something else entirely. What matters is that they look within themselves and make a choice to change something or to fill a need they find within.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • D

      "I have long found that the best testament to what I believe is not my words, but my deeds"

      Agreed :). It is not a set of beliefs or religion that defines if a person is good or not, but their actions.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  3. Gary

    It is always fun to see the religious haters on here who claim to be so enlightened and open-minded talk down to those who believe in a being greater than themselves.

    Somthing greater than you...just imagine.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • ......

      "It is always fun to see the religious haters on here who claim to be so enlightened and open-minded talk down to those who believe in a being greater than themselves."

      It might help if you were more open minded there are religious people talking down too. Funny how when it's your group you become blind and a fool.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • myweightinwords

      There are haters on both sides. And wounded souls who lash out. And weary ones who are no longer capable of compa.ssion. And those who can not see past their own pride or persecution complex or anger.

      This is because there are humans on all sides.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Bob

      Seems like you are the one making the mean accusations. Look in the mirror. The hate is from you.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I believe that there are MANY beings greater than myself. They are almost all human. I also defer to manatees since they have achieved a certain Zen perfection.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • boocat

      That's because the marjority of you "religious" people are hateful hypcocrites. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  4. Dee

    SeanNJ

    LOL...you can believe whatever you want about me, I really don't give 2 s****

    You keep being angry SeanNJ

    January 12, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • ......

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • SeanNJ

      AHHHH, Dee is Matthew and (probably) Michael.

      If you just wanted to talk to yourself, you should've let me know. I'd stay out of it.

      Enjoy your persecution (and multiple personality) complex, and the rest of your day.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @......: I'm not angry. Merely frustrated at all the "Waaaaaah, they're picking on us but not the muslims" crap. The muslims are equally batshit crazy. If we had more of them here, I'd tell them the same thing.

      Just...stop...whining for chrissakes.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  5. Geo

    Hes right when he says religion is like smoking, now just more people need to quit it.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Dee

      Yes, because those pesky Christians are the ones bombing cars and buildings every day...

      January 12, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Maybe not everyday, but yes. They've been known to bomb an abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood office.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • MarkinFL

      An attack on the Consti.tution is a greater threat than any bomb.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • boocat

      Dee – no they're just bombing abortion clinics and killing doctors. "Pro-life"....my a$$!

      January 12, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  6. Matthew

    @ SeanNJ

    Poor SeanNJ, did I offend you? How bitter and lonely you must be....being oppressed by those darn Christians all your life...

    January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Said

      At least we are past the Inquisitions and you won't be sending a squad to torture Sean. As for you, spending your life believing in supersti-tion, seems you are the loser.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Matthew: I can't even begin to understand where you're coming from.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Matthew

      @said

      LOL...I NEVER stated that I was even a Christian...see what assuming does...yeah, don't you feel like an a**hol*

      What I do see is a news outlet that attacks everything Christian.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Matthew: Ok, I get it now. You clearly are a Christian who thinks he's being persecuted. No non-Christian gets this upset over a whole bunch of nothing.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Dee

      SeanNJ

      The quicker you realize you have anger and hatred issues, the quicker you can seek some much needed serious help...

      January 12, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • ......

      "The quicker you realize you have anger and hatred issues, the quicker you can seek some much needed serious help"

      Judging others is a sin.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  7. lee majors

    john 3:16 means John just whooped your ass.

    January 12, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Said

      If John got 3 and _ got 16, then it was John who got whooped. Just like the bible, how it is read depends a lot on the reader.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  8. Michael

    Man, CNN must be working overtime to destroy Tebow...I wonder why...

    January 12, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Jay

      Leave it to CNN to try their best to link a good hearted player to being an overzealous religious advertisement. How dare Tebow express his freedom of speech. I guess it's up to CNN to bring him down..

      Isn't there any other news in the world to report, CNN.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Shaun

      I wonder if CNN would have attempted to create such a controversy over Tebows religion if he was Muslim...

      January 12, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Matthew

      whatever

      January 12, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Shaun: If he rolled out a rug and prostrated himself toward Mecca after every touchdown, yeah.

      You're not oppressed or persecuted. Shut up.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • SeanNJ

      For the 8 millionth-billionth time, if you wish to use a public forum to engage in a particular behavior (any behavior), you must accept that behavior is now subject to public mockery and ridicule.

      Deal with it.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Matthew

      SeanNJ

      I am completely "fine with it" but are YOU?

      Don't go shooting up a building, psycho!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Matthew: Nope, still confused. What in Sam Hill are you talking about?

      Why would I go "shoot up a building," as you put it?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • boocat

      And if Tebow were Muslim, all of you Jesus freaks would have your knickers in a twist while screaming "How dare he advertise his faith at a football game!!!" You're all such hypocrites.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Jimmy

      boocat
      Your point is rather moot since Muslims and other non-evangelicals apparently have the good taste to keep such displays out of sporting events.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  9. ddominik

    claybigsby
    There was time when I thought like you. Someone once asked me:”What do you think it happens when we die?” I did not know for sure, but I did think that I owned to myself to look further, because if there is nothing but this life, how cares, but if there is I would be eternally wrong. I also thought that if God exists and if he is as loving as other Christian said then he would leave us enough evidences for us to know or know enough. I read something interesting from Albert Einstein:"Condemnation without verification is the height of ignorance.” So I decided not to condemn the concept in faith in God unless I did my homework. For 7 years I read the Bible many times over, read books by atheists, other religions (my brother even is Hare Krishna ), did my homework seeking what I knew had to be there ‘if God existed’. I think by now you know my decision. I respect yours and I guess one day we will know who was right and who was not.

    Btw, there a good book by famous (former) atheist Anthony Flew “There is God”, who was famous for his arguments against God during last 50 years. He called his conversion to faith a very long search and his books are still used by atheist, even though he become believer. Another great example is book called “Case for Christ” by Chicago reporter Lee Strobel, also former atheist, who wanted to prove his wife that God was just a story and become Christian. I think you might enjoy reading their books before making such strong statements. I think you will learn, as I have, that for many of us, the search was not simple, or easy and not taken lightly. You might also be surprised by what Lee has found, his level of intelligence and level of the argument.

    Bottom line is this, I cannot prove to you God exist, and you cannot prove God does not exist. What we have is the search, evidence, and decision. I do respect yours.

    January 12, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Said

      It actually can be proven that the Christian god doesn't exist, and that has been done. The Christians claim a large set of specific traits for their god that are contradictory or just obviously false. That god as described therefore does not exist. That is not the same deal as Russell's Teapot. Strobel has also been completely debunked. Do some studying of all that and maybe you'll get over your delusion.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Mary

      To Said-I am convinced you are an idiot.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  10. podunda

    It's just like when Neo was sent to the Matrix to save everyone. Except Jesus is "the One".

    January 12, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Jimmy

      And Harry Potter was the "boy who lived." :-)

      January 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  11. ddominik

    Sun,
    You are correct. Bible says that God has put his law into our hearts, that God has put eternity into our hearts. This is why no matter where you go, all nations know what selfishness is, what kindness is… we have characteristics that cannot be explained by science or logic. That is why +90% of folks look for 'something' beyond physical world, because down deep in our hearts we know there is more to life then this… and so we created gods of all kids... physical, spiritual, visible and invisible. But God through his prophets left us his word, his promises and his explanation of why things are the way are… why we suffer, die, get angry, rebel, why we love and why we cannot seem to agree on who God is… but not all can be right.

    Jimmy,
    You are also correct. God wants us to grow up, as you say, but if Bible is true, then God intent is not for us to live under his roof as some helpless children, but in loving relationship with each other. A night before his death, Jesus said to his disciples…”You call me a teacher and a master and rightly so… but from now on you are my friends.” God wants us to live in harmony with him, and once you experience that harmony, you will understand it better. Your question is a good one.

    There is a book by Tim Keller…”Reason for God”. I thought he does a great job of answering similar questions logically and less quoting the Bible. His point is that even apart from Bible, God is very visible in your life…

    January 12, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • claybigsby

      "That is why +90% of folks look for 'something' beyond physical world, because down deep in our hearts we know there is more to life then this…"

      No you do not KNOW anything. You believe there is something to life more than this which is far from KNOWING. To know without a doubt would require evidence which there is none to support your god.

      "But God through his prophets left us his word, his promises and his explanation of why things are the way are…"

      This is all according to fallible human beings, a big circular argument for why god is "real". So do you believe me when I say that I am currently under the influence of god, writing new bible passages? Why not?

      "but if Bible is true, then God intent is not for us to live under his roof as some helpless children, but in loving relationship with each other. "

      LOL have you read the ENTIRE bible and not just cherry picked verses? Your god promotes killing of women and children, sla...very, and dis..cr..imination throughout. Yes, there are passages in the bible that promote good things as well, but when god promotes terrible things that humans were able to realize were wrong it should make people think twice about that god.

      "A night before his death, Jesus said to his disciples…”You call me a teacher and a master and rightly so… but from now on you are my friends.”

      Anything Jesus "said" in the bible is merely hearsay. The people who wrote about Jesus never knew, saw or talked to the man. Any statements made about what he did or said is strictly hearsay.

      "His point is that even apart from Bible, God is very visible in your life…"

      there is absolutely zero physical evidence of your christian god, yet you continue to believe so absolutely in something you cannot see, hear, touch, smell. If I told you I believe so absolutely in "the flying spaghetti monster" with zero proof like yourself, you would probably deem me insane. Plug "christianity" in there and think about it.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  12. Pops

    John 3:16 is a false religious reference! Christianity is not the One True Religion! Feel Free to disregard any Bible references!

    Only MY GOD is the One True GOD! Who cares about the Christian Bible? Not anyone who follows the One True Religion!

    Happy First Holy Day to all! Today is a day to party and spread the good news! Laws don't matter anymore! HOOAH!

    January 12, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Said

      RAmen. All hail our noodly master.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  13. runswithbeer

    It's a free country. Nope not a Born Again Christian type. But I'll defend to the death the right of any person to practice their religion as long as that religion does not interfere with the right of anyone else to practice theirs. Question is WILL YOU??????

    January 12, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Jimmy

      Sure.
      Now, lets take something like abortion rights. Freedom of religion means that the folks who believe that life begins at conception can opt out of getting abortions based on their beliefs, and those who don't believe that it begins at conception can still have it as an option, right? Just an example.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Pops

      Laws don't matter anymore, silly!
      Just follow the One True Religion that I follow and feel free to disregard any law that might stand in your way!

      Today is also First Holy Day! It will never return so party like it's 1999! Drink that beer!

      If you'd follow my religion, which also happens to be the BEST religion as well as the One True Religion, you'd know my GOD is right in everything and does everything including giving you beer!
      Enjoy! Happy First Holy Day! :D

      My religion says I can do anything I want. You can too if you join! Feel free! That is one of our new mottos! Feel free!

      January 12, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  14. Reality

    "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

    Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416 and many other contemporary NT scholars.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Tom Paine

      Although that is popular outlook in some academic circles, it is equally true that the Gospel of John portrays many parts of 1st century Jewish culture more accurately than any other Gospel. The search for the historical Jesus is fraught with many problems because of the presuppositions of many of the academics involved. Remember this, no one in the Christian faith, before the late 20th century, doubted the Gospel of John reflecting who Jesus was. Are we going to trust academic suppositions 20+ centuries later or the historic witness of countless Christians (including ancient Christians) as to which book(s) reliably tell us about Jesus?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Teeph

      @ Tom Paine – We are going to trust academic suppositions 20+ centuries later! Duh! Because we LIKE those answers better (helps remove that pesky "morality" to a large extent) and because doing so makes us feel super smart. Everyone knows people in olden times were stupid, so anything they thought, wrote or believed is automatically wrong.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Reality

      To summarize with a prayer:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      (Some of the references used for the update)

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Mike from CT

      it is sad that you will dismiss first hand accounts of an event because it was recorded via writing 15 to 60 years after an event. But you will cling on to a book written approx 2000 after the event as your source of truth.... Jesus had a word for that.

      But again this is why we should not trust you, your bad website or crossan's "analysis"
      Here is an example of why your dating of Peter is incorrect (still)
      ---------
      the author identifies himself as the apostle Peter (1:1), and the contents and character of the letter support his authorship (see notes on 1:12; 4:13; 5:1–2,5,13). Moreover, the letter reflects the history and terminology of the Gospels and Acts (notably Peter’s speeches). Its themes and concepts reflect Peter’s experiences and his associations in the period of our Lord’s earthly ministry and in the apostolic age. That he was acquainted, e.g., with Paul and his letters is made clear in 2Pe 3:15–16 (see notes there); Gal 1:18; 2:1–21 and elsewhere. Coincidences in thought and expression with Paul’s writings are therefore not surprising.

      From the beginning, 1 Peter was recognized as authoritative and as the work of the apostle Peter. The earliest reference to it may be 2Pe 3:1 (see note there), where Peter himself refers to a former letter he had written. 1 Clement (a.d. 95) seems to indicate acquaintance with 1 Peter. Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John, makes use of 1 Peter in his letter to the Philippians. The author of the Gospel of Truth (140–150) was acquainted with 1 Peter. Eusebius (fourth century) indicated that it was universally received.

      The letter was explicitly ascribed to Peter by that group of church fathers whose testimonies appear in the attestation of so many of the genuine NT writings, namely, Irenaeus (a.d. 140–203), Tertullian (150–222), Clement of Alexandria (155–215) and Origen (185–253). It is thus clear that Peter’s authorship of the book has early and strong support.

      Nevertheless some claim that the idiomatic Greek of this letter is beyond Peter’s competence. But in his time Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek were used in the Holy Land, and he may well have been acquainted with more than one language. That he was not a professionally trained scribe (Ac 4:13) does not mean that he was unacquainted with Greek; in fact, as a Galilean fisherman he in all likelihood did use it. Even if he had not known it in the earliest days of the church, he may have acquired it as an important aid to his apostolic ministry in the decades that intervened between then and the writing of 1 Peter.

      It is true, however, that the Greek of 1 Peter is good literary Greek, and even though Peter could no doubt speak Greek, as so many in the Mediterranean world could, it is unlikely that he would write such polished Greek. But it is at this point that Peter’s remark in 5:12 (see note there) concerning Silas may be significant. Here the apostle claims that he wrote “with the help of” (more lit. “through” or “by means of”) Silas. This phrase cannot refer merely to Silas as a letter carrier. Thus Silas was the intermediate agent in writing. Some have claimed that Silas’s qualifications for recording Peter’s letter in literary Greek are found in Ac 15:22–29. It is known that a secretary in those days often composed doc.uments in good Greek for those who did not have the language facility to do so. Thus in 1 Peter Silas’s Greek may be seen, while in 2 Peter it may be Peter’s rough Greek that appears.

      Some also maintain that the book reflects a situation that did not exist until after Peter’s death, suggesting that the persecution referred to in 4:14–16; 5:8–9 is descriptive of Domitian’s reign (a.d. 81–96). However, the situation that was developing in Nero’s time (54–68) is just as adequately described by those verses.

      The book can be satisfactorily dated in the early 60s. It cannot be placed earlier than 60 since it shows familiarity with Paul’s Prison Letters (e.g., Colossians and Ephesians, which are to be dated no earlier than 60): Compare 1:1–3 with Eph 1:1–3; 2:18 with Col 3:22; 3:1–6 with Eph 5:22–24. Furthermore, it cannot be dated later than 67/68, since Peter was martyred during Nero’s reign.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Reality

      Mike from CT,

      What contemporary reference did you get your information from? Please see all of the non-Crossan references noted above and previously used to discuss the Letters and Gospel of Peter and ALL the other scriptural docu-ments noted above and said reviews of said doc-uments.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Da King

      What "Reality" has worked so hard to do, is waste his time. Spiritual thing are spiritually discerned. They are not logical.. So if you do not have the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, in you, by accepting Christ, you can not understand things of the spirit.
      1 Cor 2:14 It would be easier to surrender to the love of God.

      January 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  15. Jorge

    As far as I'm concerned, only one thing could connect the uniquely American, profit-based sport of football, the New Testament and media histrionics-R&dn&ck philosophy. How about folks in the U.S. go out on a limb and do something new and challenging to them like actually READ the Bible after they bone up on the history and culture of the period? After the initial exertion headache that the'll get from changing their field of focus from the boob tube to a book, they might actually get used to it and learn something real.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Reality

      As starters:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    Tebow should stop his nonsense at last.

    A stadium is not a church. If Tebow wants to preach and to pray, he should go to church.

    At stadium he can prove his faith by fair play.

    Mission is the task of missionaries, which have undergone a special education and represent the Church as a whole. Christ commanded mission to the whole Church. Ordinary Christians should prove their faith by deeds and less by words in daily life.

    If Tebow belongs to a re-baptizing Free Church, it would be a calamity. Re-baptizing Free Churches don't belong to the worldwide Christian Church, which was founded by Jesus (the Protestant mainline churches have their roots in the Church, which was founded by Jesus, but need a Reformation).

    January 12, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Reality

      Money continues to be wasted on religion as the "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverups will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks to include football and soccer stadiums.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • So Sad

      America has the freedon of religion not the freedom FROM religion. Tebow is doing what is right and giving praise to God while doing what he loves. The whole "ped-ophilia" is horrible, I agree, but a select number of Christians cannot be used to generalize the biggest religion in the world! That is the same as saying that all Muslims are terrorists.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • rick

      Freedom of religion DOES imply freedom FROM religion

      January 12, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Jimmy

      rick
      Well, most folks would agree that freedom of religion means freedom from the religion of the other guy, so we atheists are covered by all of them then, I'd say!

      January 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  17. One one

    God is perfect, never makes a mistake.
    He tested mankind with a talking snake.
    Things didn’t work out like he originally planned.
    He decided to change his religious brand.
    He killed his son to “save” mankind.
    From the curse and wrath of his self centered mind.
    Now we have hell for those who doubt.
    To give fairy tale salesmen a lot more clout.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Jorge

      Refreshingly put, perhaps not entirely flawless in it's premise, but good.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  18. USminority

    The great thing about bible verses is they can mean whatever you want them to mean!

    January 12, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  19. SixDegrees

    A god who threatens his creation with eternal punishment is a jerk.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • ddominik

      I can see how people would think that, but remember, the eternal punishment is absence of God, not God punishing you. This path is not chosen by God but chosen by you and me. We are the one who choose to be apart from Him. Right now you enjoy the privilege of being taken care of God, but once God separates Himself from you completely due to your choice, you will understand that life that you once had is no longer available and you will eternally suffer for it. So you have two choices, live under God's roof, or not.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • rick

      Seems that way to me, too

      January 12, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Sun

      dd, the Goddess was here LONG before your god or Jesus.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Jimmy

      ddominik
      "So you have two choices, live under God's roof, or not."
      Which is the choice every ADULT eventually has to make, right? So, what you're saying is that Christians are choosing to never move out of their "Father's" house, which also comes with having to live by his rules and give up any right they have to live as they wish.

      Willing to accept this, you say? Well, this actually is a failed analogy because real human parents generally want to raise their kids to someday be living independent of them, under their own roofs. What parent wants to treat their kids as children forever, and what kid never wants to someday be treated as an adult by their dad?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  20. kebcarerra

    You can actually follow the genealogy of man all the way back to Adam the first son of God in "the word of God" , the bible. Yes it's true the world is only six thousand years old . You believe that don't you ? The Jews are Gods people , directly related to God himself . You believe that also don't you ? God is one God not three Gods , but Jesus is God , the Holy Ghost is God and the Father is God. They are all different but one God. And you believe that also ? Jesus was born from a virgin ? Moses parted the red sea? Do you really believe these things ?

    January 12, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Jimmy

      That genealogy also includes many figures who supposedly lived hundreds of years as well. If these characters had normal lifespans then the age of the Earth would be whittled down to what, 4000 or even 3500 years?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:06 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.