I had an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day. She asked me why people always use John 3:16 on signs at stadiums, on bumper stickers, etc. I told her that many think of that verse as a good summary of God's Word. She said, "I know that, but WHY do they do that?" What she was asking was WHY use it? She had seen it on a shopping bag given out by a popular clothing store.
Her question was a good one and one with a couple of answers. 1st of all, the owner of any store is free to put any kind of message he wants on his customers' shopping bag. 2nd, the owner is most likely a Christian and believes that John 3:16 is a verse that will lead his customers to read God's Word. But what I took away from our conversation is my daughter questioning the purpose of a widely-accepted evangelical practice of stamping John 3:16 on everything.
We didn't end up condemning the use of John 3:16 (the word and numbers, not the actual verse), but that verse no longer carries the sole weight that it once did for me. I don't turn to that particular verse to summarize God's Word. To me, a good summary must clearly illustrate the law and the gospel. How do you summarize that verse after seeing it uses?