Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Sometimes in comedies someone in a crowd is holding up a sign that says "JOHN 3:16"

Can someone explain me that joke, how it originated and why is used in a lot of movies?

share|improve this question
Related question with a good answer on that matter:… – atticae Jul 26 '14 at 17:26
up vote 15 down vote accepted

John 3:16, New International Version:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Rollen Stewart used to go to loads and loads of sporting events in the 70's, and he would hold up a sign with just "John 3:16" on it. He was trying to spread a message. Other people started seeing it on TV (he was starting to get some camera time after a while) and they started bringing signs like that in the hopes of getting airtime, and also spreading the message. It became somewhat of a cliche, which was eventually made fun of in a lot of movies.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the answer! – Matías Mar 8 '14 at 2:58
That's an interesting fact, so it's an early meme? The more interesting question would probably be: Did people believe in what they had over their heads or even know about what it means? Just have to think about random shirts with English words worn by people not speaking a single word of English at all. – Mario Mar 8 '14 at 10:10
The Bible is pretty universal, so I'm sure they knew what it meant. – Johnny Bones Mar 8 '14 at 10:36
@JohnnyBones Well, the bible certainly is universal and I maybe can give some short summaries of some stuff in there, but I'm not sure mayn people can recitate a given line just from a paragraph number. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 24 '14 at 17:43
Long live AUSTIN 3:16 – Flaunting Aug 13 '14 at 15:16

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.