The Gospel in a Nutshell

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

One day a teacher was conducting some object lessons for children. He held up a walnut shell and pulled a piece of paper out of it on which was written John 3:16. He then asked the class, “What is this?”

A young boy exclaimed, “Why, that is the gospel in a nutshell!”

That is a fitting description of that familiar and wonderful verse of Scripture. If somehow all of the Bible were destroyed and only that verse remained, there would still be enough gospel left in John 3:16 to save the world!

Martin Luther called John 3:16, “the heart of the Bible – the Gospel in miniature.” It’s so simple that a child can understand it; yet it condenses the deep and marvelous truths of redemption into these few pungent words:

“For God”…………………………..The greatest Lover

“So loved”………………………….The greatest degree

“The world”………………………The greatest number

“That He gave”…………………The greatest act

“His only begotten Son”……The greatest Gift

“That whosoever”……………The greatest invitation

“Believeth”……………………….The greatest simplicity

“In Him”.……………………………The greatest Person

“Should not perish”………….The greatest deliverance

“But”………………………………….The greatest difference

“Have”……………………………….The greatest certainty

“Everlasting life”………………The greatest possession

Philip P. Bliss penned the words and the music to this delightful song that has been sung by countless children and adults for many years now:

I am so glad that my Father in heav’n
Tells of His love in the Book He has giv’n;
Wonderful things in the Bible I see –
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.

O, if there’s only one song I can sing,
When in His beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song in eternity be:
“O what a wonder that Jesus loves me!”

I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves me;
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves even me.

(Jesus Loves Even Me, Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876)