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John 3:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Jesus answered, and said unto him—Verily, verily, I say unto thee: Except one be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Jesus answered and said to him, 'Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God;'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Jesus answered and said to him: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Iesus answered, and said vnto him, Uerily, verily I say vnto thee, except a man be borne againe, he cannot see the kingdome of God.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Jeshu answered and said to him, Amen, amen, I say to thee, Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of Aloha.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Jesus replied, and said to him: Verily, verily, I say to thee, That, unless a man be born anew, he cannot behold the kingdom of God.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Jesus 2424
{2424} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites.
answered 611
{0611} Prime
From G0575 and κρινω [[krino]]; to conclude for oneself, that is, (by implication) to respond; by Hebraism (compare [H6030]) to begin to speak (where an address is expected).
<5662> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Middle Deponent (See G5788)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 352
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
said 2036
{2036} Prime
A primary verb (used only in the definite past tense, the others being borrowed from G2046, G4483 and G5346); to speak or say (by word or writting).
<5627> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2138 plus 1 in a variant reading in a footnote
unto him, 846
{0846} Prime
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
Verily, 281
{0281} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H0543]; properly firm, that is, (figuratively) trustworthy; adverbially surely (often as interjection so be it).
verily, 281
{0281} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H0543]; properly firm, that is, (figuratively) trustworthy; adverbially surely (often as interjection so be it).
I say 3004
{3004} Prime
A primary verb; properly to 'lay' forth, that is, (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse; whereas G2036 and G5346 generally refer to an individual expression or speech respectively; while G4483 is properly to break silence merely, and G2980 means an extended or random harangue]); by implication to mean.
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
unto thee, 4671
{4671} Prime
Dative case of G4771; to thee.
Except 3362
{3362} Prime
ἐὰν με
ean me
{eh-an' may}
That is, G1437 and G3361; if not, that is, unless.
a man 5100
{5100} Prime
An enclitic indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object.
be born 1080
{1080} Prime
From a variation of G1085; to procreate (properly of the father, but by extension of the mother); figuratively to regenerate.
<5686> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Subjunctive (See G5792)
Count - 219
again, 509
{0509} Prime
From G0507; from above; by analogy from the first; by implication anew.
he cannot 1410
{1410} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
<5736> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 618
see 1492
{1492} Prime
A primary verb; used only in certain past tenses, the others being borrowed from the equivalent, G3700 and G3708; properly to see (literally or figuratively); by implication (in the perfect only) to know.
<5629> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 454
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
kingdom 932
{0932} Prime
From G0935; properly royalty, that is, (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively).
of God. 2316
{2316} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

John 3:3

_ _ Except, etc. — This blunt and curt reply was plainly meant to shake the whole edifice of the man’s religion, in order to lay a deeper and more enduring foundation. Nicodemus probably thought he had gone a long way, and expected, perhaps, to be complimented on his candor. Instead of this, he is virtually told that he has raised a question which he is not in a capacity to solve, and that before approaching it, his spiritual vision required to be rectified by an entire revolution on his inner man. Had the man been less sincere, this would certainly have repelled him; but with persons in his mixed state of mind — to which Jesus was no stranger (John 2:25) — such methods speed better than more honeyed words and gradual approaches.

_ _ a man — not a Jew merely; the necessity is a universal one.

_ _ be born again — or, as it were, begin life anew in relation to God; his manner of thinking, feeling, and acting, with reference to spiritual things, undergoing a fundamental and permanent revolution.

_ _ cannot see — can have no part in (just as one is said to “see life,” “see death,” etc.).

_ _ the kingdom of God — whether in its beginnings here (Luke 16:16), or its consummation hereafter (Matthew 25:34; Ephesians 5:5).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on John 3:1-21.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

John 3:3

Jesus answered — That knowledge will not avail thee unless thou be born again — Otherwise thou canst not see, that is, experience and enjoy, either the inward or the glorious kingdom of God. In this solemn discourse our Lord shows, that no external profession, no ceremonial ordinances or privileges of birth, could entitle any to the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom: that an entire change of heart as well as of life was necessary for that purpose: that this could only be wrought in man by the almighty power of God: that every man born into the world was by nature in a state of sin, condemnation, and misery: that the free mercy of God had given his Son to deliver them from it, and to raise them to a blessed immortality: that all mankind, Gentiles as well as Jews, might share in these benefits, procured by his being lifted up on the cross, and to be received by faith in him: but that if they rejected him, their eternal, aggravated condemnation, would be the certain consequence. Except a man be born again — If our Lord by being born again means only reformation of life, instead of making any new discovery, he has only thrown a great deal of obscurity on what was before plain and obvious.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

John 3:3

(2) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot (d) see the (e) kingdom of God.

(2) The beginning of Christianity consists in this, that we know ourselves not only to be corrupt in part, but to be wholly dead in sin: so that our nature has need to be created anew, with regard to its qualities, which can be done by no other power, but by the divine and heavenly, by which we were first created.

(d) That is, "go in", or "enter", as he expounds himself below in (John 3:5).

(e) The Church: for Christ shows here how we come to be citizens and to have anything to do in the city of God.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

John 1:51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, [even] by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. ... For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;


John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ... That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Ephesians 2:1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:23-25 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. ... But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

or, from above,
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

he cannot:

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
Deuteronomy 29:4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
Jeremiah 5:21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
Matthew 13:11-16 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. ... But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Dt 29:4. Jr 5:21. Mt 5:18; 13:11; 16:17. Jn 1:5, 13, 51; 3:5; 12:40. 2Co 1:19; 4:4. Ga 6:15. Ep 2:1. Tit 3:5. Jm 1:17, 18; 3:17. 1P 1:3, 23. 1Jn 2:29; 3:9; 5:1, 18. Rv 3:14.

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(reply posted under John 3:1)
- jst (10/11/2010 1:28:37 AM) []
It seems as though you are putting words in his mouth, although I may be mistaken. I think the post was saying that you have to be "born from above" (or again, whatever the choice may be) in order to enter the kingdom, not that all who are born from above will enter the kingdom. I believe that what the editor may have been trying to say is that the passage is just letting nicodemus know that he must have been born from above in order to enter the kingdom in the first place, which is different than saying you will enter the kingdom if you were born from above. Both interpretations are confusing to me, and the passage is confusing no matter how you interpret it. But I have to ask that if "Nicodemus did not misunderstand Jesus" as the previous post said then why did Jesus ask, "You are Israel's teacher... and you do not understand these things?" (John 3:10)
- John (10/6/2010 11:17:41 PM) []
The post from "Editor, (8/3/2010 6:02:54 PM)" seems to attempt - within the context of this post - to reduce the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ to a concept that if you exist, you get into the kingdom... because we all 'originate as children of God'. But Jesus says this is false elswhere in scripture:

John 8:23 And He [Jesus] said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world."

Matthew 18:3 ..."Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

John 12:36 "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light"...

Nicodemus did not misunderstand Jesus. Jesus said you must be born agian.

Doctrine should come from scripture, not the other way around.

Mat 18:7 (NET) …It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come.

God's plan for salvation:

- jst (9/19/2010 1:58:47 PM) []
The subject of this portion of scripture (John 3:1-13) is laid out in the beginning, with Nicodemus' statement: "we know that you are... come from God". The subject, therefore, is *origin* -- where we come from. Jesus' response is, "You must be born from above." Nicodemus, misunderstanding, assumes the other meaning of the Greek word anothen [i.e. "again"], and asks, "how can a man enter the womb a *second* time and be born [i.e. again]. However, Jesus is not refering to a second or "re"birth.

Jesus continues: "You must be born of water and of spirit. Do not marvel that I say you must be born from above. Just like the wind blows, and you cant tell *where it came from* or *where it is going*, so it is with everyone who is born of spirit. *We* speak that which we know, and testify that which we have seen. If I told you earthly things and you believe not, how shll you believe if I tell you heavenly things."

What Jesus is saying, is that being born of spirit is something we cannot see with our eyes. However, we (all of us) witness it every day, when we see a baby come out of the womb (i.e. being born of water/womb). Nicodemus does not realize that when we are born into this world (as babies out of the womb/water), the many are in actuality being born from above, or from God. This chapter is carefully written to take advantage of the dual-meaning of that Greek word "anothen" which can mean both "from above" and "again".

Jesus concludes: "No one has ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven..." So it may be observed: the entire subject of this portion of scripture has to do with origin:

(1)"we know you are COME FROM GOD"
(2)"you must be born FROM ABOVE (i.e. you must come from God also!!), the wind blows and you can not tell..
(3)WHERE IT COMES FROM (so it is with those who are born of spirit). However, we can witness the earthly (water/womb) birth. Finally, no one has ascended except for he who


Jesus is refering to our origin as children of God, from God. And he is saying that our bodies may come from the womb, but our personages come from the spirit of God the Father. Most Christians misinterpret this teaching in the *SAME* way Nicodemus misinterpreted it! They assume Jesus is refering to a *re*birth, just as Nicodemus did! This is why the Lord said, "Do not marvel that I say you must be born from above -- we speak that which we know, and testify that which we have *SEEN*. This should not be a mystery to marvel at. This is actually not a parable at all; it is an explanation of where we come from -- literally! From the Father!

May the Father bless those who seek him.
- Editor, (8/3/2010 6:02:54 PM) []
I do not understand this parable, can anyone explain?
- John (8/3/2010 11:48:33 AM) []
The same Greek word here translated "again"(KJV) and "anew"(ASV) is translated "from above" in verse 31 of the same chapter. A fair translation here could read, "Except a man be born from above..."
- Editor, (10/4/2009 3:58:09 AM) []
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