Popular Bible Passages

Do you hear Christians talking about Bible passages that they seem to expect others to already know about?  Are you perplexed by references to names of different parts of the Bible that don’t make sense?  If so, please accept this overview of some of the more commonly referred-to passages in the Bible, just to give you a head-start.

Named Passages

These are sections of the Bible that have acquired their own names, but those appellations are generally defined by others (that is, not written into the content of the Bible itself).  Read through these to see what people are talking about when they reference these by name.

The Golden Rule: Luke 6:31 (also, Matthew 7:12)

We may have heard a version of this as an axiom, and others in history have made similar points, but these verses record that Jesus said it a part of His message.

The Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20

After Jesus was crucified, and then raised from the dead on the third day from His burial, He appeared to various people to prove his resurrection over 40 days.  Just before returning, He instructed His followers to 1) make disciples (followers of Jesus), 2) baptize them, and 3) teach them.

The Love Chapter: 1 Corinthians 13

Popular at weddings, this chapter talks about how great love is. – not the mushy kind, but genuine, wholehearted love for other people.  God loves us even more than we can imagine, but this chapter gives us a taste of what His love is like.

The Sermon on the Mount: Matthew, chapters 5 through 7

Jesus taught a sermon to a crowd from a raised area (a practical venue for a practical message).  There are a lot of messages here.  Furthermore, the first 12 verses of Matthew 5 are also called the The Beatitudes, explaining how many different types of people will find themselves blessed.

The Great Commandment: Matthew 22:35-38Mark 12:28-30, and similarly in Luke 10:25-28

This was a commandment given to the Jewish people many years before Jesus’ ministry (see Deuteronomy 6:5), but Jesus reaffirmed the importance of it.  If we love God, so much else falls into place.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22

These are some characteristics that followers of Jesus should have in their lives, when they are choosing to let the God (specifically, the Holy Spirit) guide them.  It may be subtle, but more devout students of the Bible will likely notice if you refer to this as the “fruit” (singular) of the Spirit, even though several attributes are listed.

The Gospels: This is just another name for the first four books of the New Testament (the second of two major divisions in the Bible).

These books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, each telling about the ministry of Jesus from a different perspective.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain a lot of overlap in their recounting of similar events (while still being unique enough to each be studied in their own right), but John took a somewhat different viewpoint on the same period of history.

The Faith Chapter: Hebrews 11

This chapter highlights a number of people who demonstrated faith.  To these people, their faith wasn’t something that they just believed in; it was something that influenced their choices – often taking on what seemed impossible, or taking actions with wide-reaching effects.

Popular Passages

These are chapters or verses from the Bible that those with a historical, religious, or cultural background might refer to.  Brush up on them to follow along in the conversation.

John 3:16 can sometimes be found on banners held up at sports events, or just referred to in conversation.  In a single verse, it summarizes the magnitude of God’s love, and how we can be saved through His Son (Jesus).

Psalm 23 can be found on bookmarks, magnets, or other inspirational reminders.  It is a song or poem about how God cares for the author (David).  By extension, it’s also a good reminder of how He cares for us.

Genesis 1:1 is the first verse in the Bible, and explains how God is the Creator of what we see around us.

Well-Known Stories

This list isn’t comprehensive, but if you heard a reference to a particular parable, event, or message from the Bible, here’s some help in finding the source.

The Christmas story (Jesus’ birth): Luke 2:1-20

Jesus Resurrection (when He was raised from the dead): Matthew 28:1-10Mark 16:1-8Luke 24:1-12John 20:1-29

The Parting of the Red Sea: Exodus 14:5-31

The Ten Commandments: Exodus 20:1-17 (also Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

Jesus walking on water: Matthew 14:22-33Mark 6:46-52John 6:16-21

The Last Supper: Matthew 26:17-30Mark 14:12-26Luke 22:7-38

Daniel in the Lion’s Den: Daniel 6

Noah and the great flood: Genesis 6:9 – 9:16