John 3:16

By Bramwell Booth



One night, after a meeting I had been holding in the West End of London, several members of The Army were personally introduced to me. Among them was a man of perhaps forty-eight or fifty; one, I think, of our Local Officers. I asked him how he came into The Army.

"I was in a miserable state," he told me. "I had wasted a great part of my life. And then a very unusual, even remarkable thing happened, which led to my conversion. One evening I was wandering aimlessly across Hyde Park when I was attracted by a crowd in the middle of which was a man shouting out something. It proved to be an Open-Air Meeting of The Salvation Army. I waited on the edge of the crowd for a little while, not paying much attention, and presently I turned away. As I did so, the speaker shouted out, ‘Now, remember what I said,’ quoting a passage, and then crying out, very loudly and emphatically, ‘JOHN, THREE AND SIXTEEN!’ Those words, ‘JOHN, THREE AND SIXTEEN,’ electrified me. I went home, but not to rest. In fact, I knew no rest until I had come to God, and by His grace was a new man."

"But," I said, somewhat puzzled, "What was there about the words ‘John, Three and Sixteen’ which had this effect on you? Did you turn to the passage?"

"Well, you see, Chief," was his reply, "my name is John; I have been married three times; and I have had sixteen children!"


From: Echoes and Memories, by Bramwell Booth (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1925) page 97