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Teachings of Christ
John 3:16 in Sports
Key Words
For God so loved
More to come...

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 (NIV)

Tim Tebow and John 3:16
In 2009 the Florida Gators played the Oklahoma Sooners at the Orange Bowl for the national championship. Florida's quarterback, Tim Tebow, lead the Gators to a 24-14 victory, capturing the 2008 national title.
    Like many college and professional football players, Tim Tebow wears eye black to reduce the light glare that can impede seeing an airborne football. Unlike most players, Tim boldly professes his faith in Christ by applying scripture to his eye black. Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy Winner, often sports Philippians 4:13, which reads, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
    On January 8, 2009, at the Orange Bowl before a national audience, the message on Tim Tebow's eyeblack was John 3:16. The following morning, Google reported that John 3:16 was the #1 ranked Hot Trends search.

Football and John 3:16
Attend an NFL or college football game, and it's likely you will spot at least one fan waving a sign with John 3:16. This trend was started by the now incarcerated Rollen Stewart, who attended NFL, NBA, MLB, and Olympic games. At football games Rollen would strategically position himself at the end of the field between the goal posts. A camera angled to display the field goal kick would catch Rollen and his John 3:16 sign.
    Rollen started a trend that has continued, and is especially prominent at college football games, which are of course less regulated than the NFL, MLB, or NBA.

Product Endorsement
So why would a football fan or a Heisman Trophy winner display John 3:16? It's an advertisement of faith.
  • Why does a Nike swoosh appear on Tiger Wood's golf ball?
  • Why is a Speedo arrow on Michael Phelps' swim cap?
  • Why do NFL jerseys sport the Reebok logo?

  • It's all about branding. Brands associated with superstars are extremely valuable. If the gospel were a product, like a line of footwear or swimwear, then John 3:16 would be the Bible's brand. Displaying John 3:16 is an open profession of personal faith in Christ, and in the power and love of God.

    Brand of Hope
    John 3:16 summarizes the Bible. The main point of the Bible, God's message to humanity, is found in this one verse.

    To be continued ...

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    Updated 11/19/2010
    © 1998-2017 Ken Palmer
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    Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ,
    Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.