John 3:1-21

The New Birth

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named 1Nicodemus, a 2ruler of the Jews;
2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "3Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these 4signs that You do unless * 5God is with him."
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless * one 6is born again he cannot * see 7the kingdom of God."
4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot * enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"
5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless * one is born of 8water and the Spirit he cannot * enter into 9the kingdom of God.
6 "10That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
8 "11The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can these things be?"
10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you 12the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?
11 "Truly, truly, I say to you, 13we speak of what we know and 14testify of what we have seen, and 15you do not accept our testimony.
12 "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13 "16No one has ascended into heaven, but 17He who descended from heaven: 18the Son of Man.
14 "As 19Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must 20the Son of Man 21be lifted up;
15 so that whoever believes will 22in Him have eternal life.
16 "For God so 23loved the world, that He 24gave His 25only begotten Son, that whoever 26believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 "For God 27did not send the Son into the world 28to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
18 "29He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of 30the only begotten Son of God.
19 "This is the judgment, that 31the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for 32their deeds were evil.
20 "33For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear * that his deeds will be exposed.
21 "But he who 34practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

Images for John 3:1-21

John 3:1-21 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN 3

In this chapter the apostle exhorts to a holy life and conversation in general, and to the exercise of brotherly love in particular. The former of these is urged from the consideration of the great blessing of adoption, which springs from the free love and favour of God, is unknown to the men of the world, and indeed, in the present state of things, does not appear to the saints themselves in all its fulness and advantages, as it will do in the future state, when the children of God will be like to Christ, and see him as he is; the hope of which should engage them to purity of life and conversation, 1Jo 3:1-3, and this is further enforced from the nature of sin, which is a transgression of the law, 1Jo 3:4, from the end of Christ's manifestation in the flesh, which was to take away sin, and who was without it, 1Jo 3:5, from communion with Christ, expressed by abiding in him, seeing and knowing him, which such must be strangers to that live a sinful course of life, 1Jo 3:6, from this, that only such that do righteousness are righteous persons, and these are righteous as Christ is, 1Jo 3:7, and from a man's being of the devil, that is, of a vicious conversation, who was a sinner from the beginning, and whose works Christ was manifested in the flesh to destroy, 1Jo 3:8, and from the nature of the new man, or that which is born of God, which is not to sin, nor can it, 1Jo 3:9, and from the distinction there is between the children of God and the children of the devil, those not being of God who do not righteousness, nor love their brethren, 1Jo 3:10, from hence the apostle passes to brotherly love, and excites and engages to that, from its being a message which had been heard from the beginning, 1Jo 3:11, which is illustrated by its contrary in the instance of Cain, who by the instigation of Satan slew his brother, because his works were righteous, and his own were evil, 1Jo 3:12, wherefore, it is no wonder that good men should be hated by the world, who, as Cain, are of the same wicked one, 1Jo 3:13, brotherly love is further urged unto, from its being an evidence of passing from death to life, or of regeneration; whereas he that hates his brother openly continues in a state of death, is a murderer, and so has not eternal life abiding in him, 1Jo 3:14,15, and from the great instance of Christ's love, in laying down his life for his people, the saints are incited to lay down their lives for one another; to such a pitch does the apostle carry brotherly love, 1Jo 3:16, wherefore, he that is rich, and is uncompassionate to his brother in distress, cannot be thought to have the love of God dwelling in him, 1Jo 3:17, hence he presses the exhortation to brotherly love, that it be not in profession only, but true, real, and cordial, 1Jo 3:18, and that by observing the advantages of it, as that hereby men know they are of the truth, and can assure their hearts before God; and which is illustrated by the contrary, the condemnation of the heart, 1Jo 3:19,20, the advantages of non-condemnation of the heart are confidence before God, and receiving whatsoever we ask of him; the reason of which is, because his commandments are kept, and things done which are pleasing to him, 1Jo 3:21,22, the commandments are explained of faith in Christ, and love to one another, 1Jo 3:23, and the happiness of them that do them is, that Christ dwells in them, and they in him, the evidence of which is, the Spirit that is given unto them, 1Jo 3:24.

John 3:1-21 In-Context

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"
5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can these things be?"
10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?
11 "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.
12 "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13 "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20 "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.
23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized -
24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John's disciples with a Jew about purification.

Cross References 34

  • 1. John 7:50; John 19:39
  • 2. Luke 23:13; John 7:26, 48
  • 3. Matthew 23:7; John 3:26
  • 4. John 2:11
  • 5. John 9:33; Acts 10:38">Acts 10:38; John 14:10; Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38">Acts 10:38
  • 6. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23
  • 7. Matthew 19:24; Matthew 21:31; Mark 9:47; Mark 10:14; John 3:5
  • 8. Ezekiel 36:25-27; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5
  • 9. Matthew 19:24; Matthew 21:31; Mark 9:47; Mark 10:14; John 3:3
  • 10. John 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:50
  • 11. Psalms 135:7; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Ezekiel 37:9
  • 12. Luke 2:46; Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34
  • 13. John 1:18; John 7:16; John 8:26, 28; John 12:49; John 14:24
  • 14. John 3:32
  • 15. John 3:32
  • 16. Deuteronomy 30:12; Proverbs 30:4; Acts 2:34; Romans 10:6; Ephesians 4:9
  • 17. John 3:31; John 6:38, 42
  • 18. Matthew 8:20
  • 19. Numbers 21:9
  • 20. Matthew 8:20
  • 21. John 8:28; John 12:34
  • 22. John 20:31; 1 John 5:11-13
  • 23. Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 John 4:10; Revelation 1:5
  • 24. Romans 8:32; 1 John 4:9
  • 25. John 1:18; John 3:18; 1 John 4:9
  • 26. John 3:36; John 6:40; John 11:25
  • 27. John 3:34; John 5:36, 38; John 6:29, 38, 57; John 7:29; John 8:42; John 10:36; John 11:42; John 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25; John 20:21
  • 28. Luke 19:10; John 8:15; John 12:47; 1 John 4:14
  • 29. Mark 16:16; John 5:24
  • 30. John 1:18; 1 John 4:9
  • 31. John 1:4; John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:46
  • 32. John 7:7
  • 33. John 3:20, 21; Ephesians 5:11, 13
  • 34. 1 John 1:6

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or "attesting miracles"
  • [b]. Or "from above"
  • [c]. Or "from above"
  • [d]. Or "believes in Him will have eternal life"
  • [e]. Or "unique," only one of His kind
  • [f]. Or "unique", only one of His kind
New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.