I will never forget the crazy guy with the rainbow wig dancing behind the end zone and waving a John 3:16 sign above his head. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s Rollen Stewart took his faith to the masses – using television to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. His zealous spirit was somewhat amusing and hopefully inspiring. His presence was inescapable.
Stewart used the massive platform of televised major league sports to spread one of the most popular bible verses of all time – John 3:16. The pathway to Christianity is summed up in this short, simple verse.
The words of John 3:16 enter the narrative as Jesus Christ explained to a leading Pharisee (theologian) of the time how eternal life was possible. Christ culminated his teaching to with these words. “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.” – (NIV)
So…if John 3:16 is perhaps one of the most recognized passages in the Christian Bible, what could possibly be the least popular passage? Now, thanks to the internet, we can more easily determine what Bible users aren’t interested in knowing. What is it that you don’t want to know about?
One of my many “go to” resources when preparing articles and speaking topics is Biblegateway.com. Bible Gateway is one of the most popular bible verse repositories on the internet – and they log millions of visits and searches by the month. Not long ago, the team at Biblegateway combed through a relatively small sample of 25 million searches to determine what no one was looking for…. and here is the result: 1 chronicles 23-27.
1 Chronicles 23-27 , according to BibleGateway, is reportedly the least popular passage in the Christian Bible – determined by us – the searchers. After reading it, I can certainly see why. No explosions, no death, no controversy, no drama. It’s a rather daunting list of names, locations, and assignments from a mature King David who is getting his house and nation in order. I don’t see hollywood knocking on the door to make this passage into a movie anytime soon – even the best Christian film maker would pass on this.
Take a few minutes to read what no one wants to read.
This is what I like about these off-beat, unpopular passages – they are the stories that give God’s people context. This historical and verifiable passage is what supports the other more incredible texts we struggle to understand and embrace.
Just like the old family bibles, family trees, Ellis Island immigration records, and stories from our parents and grandparents – this laborious passage gives Christianity a glimpse into its heritage and provides background for what we modern Christians believe.
With other ancient civilizations and nations writing and recording the “happenings over there in Israel” – they are referencing this King, these people, and their movements. The least popular passage in the bible (according to what we are searching for on the internet) has significance in the Christian story – your story of faith.
Yes, I am aware that Rollen Stewart sits in prison. His antics and decisions belong to him and not the rest of the Christian community. He melted down and resorted to a zealous life that spiraled him into criminal acts. The good news for Stewart – is that John 3:16 includes him, no matter how many poor decisions he made, and John 3:16 does the same for you and me.
So, let’s remember that the popular verse, John 3:16, exists because of the hard work performed by the people in 1 chronicles 23-27 who were trying to honor God – even when they too made mistakes.
As you encounter controversy in your Christian walk and deal with adversity in your decisions – remember that you aren’t alone. Our faith story is possible because of the willingness of those before us to follow God in the good and the bad times.
Take a look at the records in 1 Chronicles 23-27, and don’t just read a list of mostly forgotten names – read the names as a memorial to those who blazed a pathway for you. Then put the book down and become the one who continues to be a trailblazer for those to follow.