Published January 14, 2014

Paul's Epistle...
"2013's Top Scriptures"

Each year, the start of a new year seems to bring with it a plethora of lists – some much more significant or interesting than others. is an online Bible reference that was visited last year an amazing 456 million times, generating more than 1.5 billion views. Visitors spent more than 76 million hours exploring the Bible and Scriptural matters on this amazing website.

When 2013 ended, BibleGateway computed the most-referenced Bible verses (or short passages) during that year. And the results are interesting. Since I like to do "countdowns," here's the list, in reverse order:

#10. Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

#9. Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God..."

Those two verses both have to do with reassurances that God is with us. We as Christians can take great encouragement from those promises.

#8. Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Oh, that we would fully comprehend and assimilate the truth of that verse. Far too many Christians have problems caused by "conforming to this world."

#7. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

This is Paul's famous "love passage." Since "God is love" (1 John 4:8) and Christians are to be like Him (Romans 8:29), love should be a key characteristic of each of us as well.

#6. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."

Read that verse several times. Do we "acknowledge Him" in all of our ways? Only if we trust the Lord and not our "own understanding" will God direct our paths most fully in ways that will please Him.

#5. Psalm 23. "The Lord is my shepherd..."

The reference is too long to reprint the entire six verses here, but you surely know it. It's another passage of reassurance for the Christian.

#4. Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

That's my favorite verse – and it's a promise that comes in handy no matter what happens in our lives as Christians. It's interesting that this next verse is adjacent to it in this list.

#3. Philippians 4:13"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

#2. Jeremiah 29:11"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Another reassuring verse! And that brings us, of course, to number one – the most-researched Bible verse of all.

#1. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

It's great to see that what's generally considered the best-known, most fundamental and significant verse in the New Testament – perhaps in the entire Bible – is still the most requested verse. (Not surprisingly, it was #1 in 2012 as well.) That verse — part of Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus — is what it's all about.

- Paul

PS:  What's your favorite verse? If you'd like to share it, let me know with a line or two about why it's special to you. If we get enough, we'll share some of them here in a few weeks. And I'm curious – has your "favorite verse" or "most meaningful verse" changed over the years, perhaps because of coming into a different stage of your life?

PPS:  If you'd like to compare this list with the previous year's list, 2012's list can be seen here.

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