John 3:12

12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

John 3:12 Meaning and Commentary

John 3:12

If I have told you earthly things
Not that the doctrines he delivered were earthly ones; for he was not of the earth, but from heaven, and above all, and so spake not of the earth, but of heaven, ( John 3:31 ) ; and this doctrine of regeneration was an heavenly doctrine; and the thing itself required supernatural power, and grace from above: but either they were the more easy doctrines of the Gospel; or were delivered in a plain and easy style, and illustrated by similes taken from earthly things, as from human birth, from the water, and from the wind:

and ye believe not;
i.e. those things; ye do not receive them, nor give credit to them; or "me", as the Ethiopic Version adds, who relate them on the best evidence, having fully known, and clearly seen them:

how shall ye believe;
give credit to me, or receive my testimony:

if I tell you of heavenly things?
of the more sublime doctrines of the Gospel, such as the descent of the Messiah from heaven; the union of the two natures, human and divine, in him; his being the only begotten Son of God; his crucifixion and death, signified by the lifting up of the serpent on a pole in the wilderness; and the wonderful love of God to the Gentile world in giving Christ to, and for them; and the salvation, and eternal happiness of all that believe in him, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; and these delivered in language suitable to them, without figures, or natural similes, which help the understanding, and convey ideas of things more easily to it.

John 3:12 In-Context

10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?
11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can 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 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.