The 20 Verses You Love Most

The 20 Verses You Love Most: Let’s Begin

The 20 Verses You Love Most | Liz Curtis Higgs

What is the one verse that nourishes and sustains you, year in and year out?

You know the one. Your life verse. Your mission statement. Your word from the Lord. The verse you’ve memorized, posted on a bulletin board, stitched onto fabric, written below your signature.

I know it’s hard to narrow it down to one, when “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Every word is vital, every verse serves God’s purposes.

Still, might you choose just one? Not a long passage or a cluster of verses: just one?

I’ll go first, then invite you to add the one verse you love most under Post a Comment below. After tallying your responses here (and on Facebook and Twitter), I’ll compile our Top 20, then begin a weekly countdown, unpacking each verse with care.

By summer’s end, we’ll not only know what all 20 verses are, we’ll know them, inside and out. No book to buy, no homework to do. Simply join us each Wednesday, and you’re good to go.

First, a wee smile. I wanted just the right image for this week’s verse, so I searched on “2 Corinthians.” And I got this:

2 Corinthian Columns

Right. Two Corinthian columns. Exactly what I had in mind. LOL.

Instead, here’s one of the Bibles on my desk, as we spend a moment with the verse I love most. Maybe it’s one of your favorites too.

Bible Open to 2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 5:17 was the first verse I memorized in February 1982 as a brand-new believer. Season by season, whatever the translation, these powerful words have become even more alive to me than the first time I read them with tears in my eyes.

Listen now for God’s gentle voice: This phrase. This word. This is for you.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

The verse has no more than 20 words, yet it contains at least 8 huge truths and, in some translations, an exclamation point or two.

I’m in.


Big word in Scripture, therefore. Shows up 442 times in the NIV.

Or, maybe you prefer ”wherefore” (ASV), “so then” (CEB), “for” (NLV), “it follows” (KNOX), “what we see is” (MSG), or “this means that” (NLT).

All good.

Therefore is a summary kind of word, taking into account all that comes before it. This portion of the letter to the church at Corinth is about reconciliation. About being Christ’s ambassadors. About looking at one another through a new lens.

Therefore says, “Because of that, consider this.”


If is an open door, full of possibilities and overflowing with hope. Jesus often used this word in his teaching: “if you have faith” (Matthew 17:20) and “if you knew the gift of God” (John 4:10) and “if you remain in me” (John 15:5).

If makes us stop and ask the question: Who is this verse meant for? Am I invited?

An Invitation


Anyone means “Yes, this verse is yours to claim” or “Have a seat. This verse may belong to you.”

Anyone definitely includes you.

Whether we’re talking “whoever” (GW) or “any man” (ASV) or “any person” (AMP) or just “any” (DRA), the door to eternal life is open, and the Lord himself is beckoning us forward. “Heaven, anyone?”


I know, I know. “Is, Liz? You’re going teach me something about the word is?”

You bet. It’s the pivotal word in this verse. Either you is or you is not a follower of Christ. Though we are ever growing in our faith, there is still a defining moment for each of us.

And that moment is defined by God, not by us.

When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” and Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” the Lord didn’t congratulate Peter for being wise or making a good decision. Instead, Jesus told him, “This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17).

Peter made his confession of faith by God’s power alone.

I AM says that I am. Not the other way around.

See why is is such a big deal?

…in Christ…

Some translations give this little word in a bit more muscle: “belongs to” (CEV), “united with” (CJB), “joined to” (GNT), “believes in” (NIRV). But it’s the One in whom we live and move and have our being that matters, which is why the word in cannot stand alone.

We are in Christ. No one and nothing else. He is also resides in us, by way of the Holy Spirit, but first and foremost, we are in Christ.

“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

There are tons more to choose from, but you get the idea. The rest of 2 Corinthians 5:17 depends on the Lord’s work in us, now that we live in him.

Building a Foundation, Starting with the First Nail

…the new creation has come…

God doesn’t just clean us up, fix us up, straighten us up. He recreates us in the image of his Son. He starts from scratch. He makes us new.

In Christ we become “a new being” (GNT), “a new person” (NLT), “a new creature altogether” (AMP). In Christ we get “a fresh start” (MSG).

What does that look like in real life? There are as many answers as there are people.
For me, a changed life three decades ago looked like this:

I stopped drinking alcohol and started making real friends.
I stopped using drugs and started reading the Bible.
I stopped sleeping around and started going to church.
I stopped running away and started putting down roots.
I stopped pretending I had all the answers and started asking God for answers.

Through it all, God loved me. That was the realization that undid me, in the best sense of the word. It shattered my misconceptions. It trampled my pride.

God didn’t just rock my world; God blew my world apart, then rebuilt it from the ground up.

Made New from the Ground Up

…The old has gone,…

Truly, it has. On the days when you feel as if the roof is sagging and the walls are caving in, be confident of this: “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Some of us start well, but run out of steam. God is both a starter and a finisher.

Along the way stuff from our old lives must be pried from our stubborn hands and cast aside. Old habits, old ideas, old lies.

My inclination is to tuck such things in the deep recesses of a drawer, just in case I need them. Just in case I miss them.

God has a better plan. He makes certain those old things have truly “gone away” (CEB), that “the old way of living has disappeared” (GW), and “the past is forgotten” (CEV).

Gone means gone. History. Out of sight, out of mind, out of reach.

Gone means good riddance. Really good.

The New Is Here!

…the new is here!

This translation uses an exclamation point to grab our attention. But the Greek word idou in this verse is often rendered “behold” (ASV), “look” (CEB), “see” (NRSV), or the one that’s the most fun to say, “Lo!” (WYC)

Getting rid of the old would be exciting enough, yet God also brings in the new. A new gift, a new talent, a new calling.

I was working at a radio station when God turned my world right side up. I could never have imagined speaking at conferences or writing books or teaching the Bible. I was quite happy hiding in my studio.

But God said, “Behold, the fresh and new has come!” (AMP) God said, “A new life has begun!” (NLT) God said, “New things have arrived!” (CEB)

What is God saying to you, beloved? What new thing has he brought to your doorstep?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Now it’s your turn

Kindly share your one favorite verse below under Post a Comment. If you’d like to include why it’s your favorite, go for it.

Looking forward to learning more about you and the verses you love this spring and summer!

Your sister, Liz

Your Sister in Christ, Liz Curtis Higgs

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