The most well-known verse in the Bible is probably John 3:16. It is a wonderful Gospel verse that combines both the simple and the profound realities of true faith. But how well do you really know it?

One of the most primitive skills in reading the Bible is simply to observe what the text actually says – not yet what it means (that is the next step), simply what it says.

Here are the words of John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (ESV)

Here is a starter-list of observational questions from the words of the verse.

  1. How does the “for” connect this verse to what precedes it?
  2. Who is all included in “the world” that God loved?
  3. Who is the “he” who gave “his” only Son?
  4. In what sense did he give his Son?
  5. What is significant about the “only” description of the “Son”?
  6. Who is the “Son”?
  7. What does it mean to “believe in” him?
  8. Who is the “him” in whom “whoever believes”?
  9. What kind of “perish” is this verse referring to?
  10. What is the difference between the two “that” clauses in the verse?

How many could you answer? Maybe it’s time to read your Bible a little more carefully!