A friend once told me that a good way to read the Bible would be to read each word as if it were bolded and upper case, one word at a time.
In the BEGINNING, God created the heavens and the earth.
In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth
In the beginning, God CREATED the...
The idea, my friend said, is that it brings about new insights into the Bible by keeping you from racing over words and assuming their presence. So I gave it a try to see if it might offer any new revelations. It didn’t take long.
For GOD so loved the world He gave his only begotten son.
For God SO loved the world...
I grew up in the church and have had John 3:16 memorized since I was in elementary school. And yet, I had never really noticed that the verse includes the word SO. It doesn’t say “For God loved the world.” It says, “For God SO loved the world.”
It got me to thinking...
I used to walk home from work. I’d get out of my train and hoof it all the way to my apartment about 12 minutes in all.
But that is until I had a son. That is when that 12 minutes began to feel like a weight around my heart. I loved my boy so much that every moment away from him felt wrong and left me a bit achy. And so, when I would get off the train, I would run like a mad fool, huffing and puffing all the way to my apartment building where I would ring the buzzer so that my wife could place my little boy out the door (we had the only door facing the very large lobby) and then buzz me in. With my heart beating like a piston I would step into the lobby where he would already be hiding behind the pillars and there we would play peek-a-boo. Then I’d chase and catch him and we’d fall to the ground and hug and kiss and hug some more.
It was more excitement than my heart could stand. I SO LOVED that boy.
It is only a human example of what the full expression of that verse meant to convey to the world. But it helped me to see something I hadn’t before. God didn’t just love humankind. He blew a love gasket over us. His heart nearly beat right out of his chest at the thought.
That is why He gave up his beloved, begotten Son.
And that is what He offers us—one person at a time.