Tebow an eye witness

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow wears a spiritual reminder on his eye black every time the Gators take the field.

Rob C. Witzel/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 12:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 12:53 p.m.

If you've watched a Gator football game, you've probably noticed Tim Tebow. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, it's pretty hard to miss the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner throttle touchdown passes into the end zone.

But when he wrestles off his helmet as the Florida offense takes the sidelines, you've probably noticed something different from the other players on team.

In every football game, in the blacks under his eyes, Tebow has outlined white words reading, "Phil 4:13." Referencing the Epistle to the Philippians in the New Testament of the Bible, the verse reads, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

The epistle is a letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians' church while in prison after being arrested by the Romans when a riot broke out in Jerusalem, said Mac Brunson, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Tebow's home church.

There's not much of a connection between prison and college football, but the sentiment is the same.

"It means just what it says," Brunson said. "No matter the situation, I can do

it because of Christ."

Any talent and any ability that Tebow has comes from the Lord, Brunson said.

Tebow frequently quotes that passage because it "credits my true source of strength," he said in a statement through UF to a Fort Myers Christian School in September.

Brunson only met Tebow a few times in the two and a half years he's been at First Baptist Church, but he was instantly drawn to his personality.

"You're overwhelmed with his size to begin with, but he's just an incredibly winsome, enjoyable personality to be around," he said. "I think you see that even on the team."

Even though Brunson hasn't known Tebow very long, he says it's easy to see the connection between Tebow and this verse.

"It's just his testimony," Brunson said. "This young man's faith is the foundation of his life. It's not a show."

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