We often quote the “greats” from the Bible.

“For God so loved to world …”

“Do not judge.”

But sometimes we fail to read on, and that can be a huge mistake. Often the next verse is a continuation of the one preceding it, making it just as important. we may be missing the payoff.

The verse we memorize is often what I call the “what verse.” It tells what God had done, is doing, or will be doing for us. Maybe that’s why we like them so much. But sometimes right after the “what verse” is the “why verse.” It’s the payoff for what God did, is doing or will be doing for us.

As a person who has spent his whole life asking “why” every time someone told me the “what,” this is of the upmost importance to me. I don’t just want to understand the mechanics of something, but why it is the way it is.

With all that said, here are some key verses that are often quoted, and the verses that come right after them that should be quoted as well.

John 3:16

This is perhaps the most quoted verse by Christians, as it is the very foundation of our faith. I’ll concede that if a Christian was going to memorize only one verse of the entire Bible, this should be the one.

“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.”

This is the “what” God has done for us; but if you stop there, you’re missing out on a verse that, to me, may be equally as important – the “why” God sent Jesus – salvation.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Matthew 7:1

This verse is important, important, important. I call it one of the foundational verses as is part of a solid foundation on which to live our lives.

Yet I believe it’s the most misunderstood verse; that’s because of the very fact Matthew 7:2 is rarely quoted with it. It needs to be!

Matthew 7:1 is short and to the point:

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

Sounds pretty easy — we shouldn’t judge.

I contend it does not mean we are never to judge, however. For example, while listening to someone, I’ll be judging them for signs they may be about to hurt themselves or others – so I can stop them.

That’s why It’s crucial to read Matthew 7:2 in conjunction with it. It tells us why we should only judge others the way we would want to be judged.

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

In my example, I want people judging my words looking for the same clues, so they can stop me.

John 13:34

God gave Moses the 10 commandments, a perfect framework for how we should live our lives. Jesus gave us an additional commandment, a perfect way to live our lives.

Important to note is the new commandment is not just that we love one another, but that we love one another as much as Jesus loves us.

John 13:34 is perhaps the best “what” verse in the Bible when it comes to fellowship.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “

Now there are many “whys” as to the importance of this verse, but Jesus keys on one, in John 13:35 – so the world will see Jesus through us.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jeremiah 29:11

This is the hope of Christians. Though in the Old Testament, it is what we cling to through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The “what” of this one-two verse combo should send chills through our spine.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And the “why” is just as good, with Jeremiah 29:12 offering a key promise from God, one that we Christians count on every day.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”


There are many more 1-2 punches like these in the Bible, so don’t miss out by just reading the key verses. This is also true of what precedes some of the most quoted verses. It often provides context.

When you come to a verse that really speaks to you, read the verses around it for the context and the payoff. The key verses will likely speak to you even more.