The Barna Group just released some research that is compelling. The study was motivated by Tim Tebow and his affinity for John 3:16. You can read the whole article here but an excerpt is below:
Overall, nearly seven out of 10 Americans (68%) were able to identify without any prompting from the interviewers that the “three” in John 3:16 refers to the chapter where the biblical reference is found. More than three out of ten adults either gave an incorrect answer (15%) or ventured no guess (17%).
Among Mr. Tebow’s generational peers—Americans who are 18 to 27-year-olds—the basic understanding was even lower than the national average (61%).
Lets put this another way–39% of 18-27 year olds are unaware of what the “three” in John 3:16 means. That’s far more than I would have assumed.
What do we learn from this? Many things perhaps but my takeaway is this: We can’t assume non-believers have a Christian worldview or even a rudimentary understanding of Christianity. Our evangelism strategies must take this into account. For those of you who are using sports to reach people–keep this in mind.