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Posted November 1, 2010

Book: 3:16: The Numbers of Hope
Author: Max Lucado
Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. 2007. Pp. 230

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

3:16 It’s likely the most famous verse in all of the Bible, and with good reason. Within its words are contained the essential truths of the Christian faith. Max Lacado calls it the “hope diamond of the Bible.” In his upcoming book, 3:16 The Numbers of Hope unpacks the timeless message — phrase by enduring phrase. A twenty-six-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16. He loves. He gave. We believe. We live.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Scripture employs an artillery of terms for love, each one calibrated to reach a different target. Consider the one Moses used with his followers: “The Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love.”

This passage warms our hearts. But it shook the Hebrews’ world. They heard this: “The Lord binds [hasaq] himself to his people.” Hasaq speaks of a tethered love, a love attached to something or someone. I’m picturing a mom connected by a child harness to her rambunctious five-year-old as the two of them walk through the market. (I once thought the leashes were cruel; then I became a dad.) The strap serves two functions, yanking and claiming. You yank your kid out of trouble and in doing so proclaim, “Yes, he is as wild as a banshee. But he’s mine.”

In this case, God chained himself to Israel. Because the people were lovable? No. “God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important — the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors.” God loves Israel because he chooses to. “This is the love that won’t let go of the object of love.”

Table of Contents:

1. The most famous conversation in the Bible

2. No one like him
“For God so loved the world. . .”

3. Hope for the hard heart
"For God so loved the world. . ."

4. When you get booted out
“For God so loved the world. . .”

5. The only one and only
“. . .he gave his one and only son

6. The heart he offers
". . . he gave his one and only son

7. Heaven’s “Whoever” policy
“. . .whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .”

8. Believe and receive
". . .whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .”

9. God’s gracious grip
". . .whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .”

10. Hell’s supreme surprise
". . .whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .”

11. What makes Heaven heavenly
". . .whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life . . .”

12. The last word of life
". . .shall not perish but have eternal life”

Conclusion: The 3:16ed life