GOD'S WORD® Translation
1Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish council. 2He came to Jesus one night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that God has sent you as a teacher. No one can perform the miracles you perform unless God is with him." 3Jesus replied to Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."
4Nicodemus asked him, "How can anyone be born when he's an old man? He can't go back inside his mother a second time to be born, can he?" 5Jesus answered Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual. 7Don't be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above. 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it's going. That's the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
9Nicodemus replied, "How can that be?" 10Jesus told Nicodemus, "You're a well-known teacher of Israel. Can't you understand this? 11I can guarantee this truth: We know what we're talking about, and we confirm what we've seen. Yet, you don't accept our message. 12If you don't believe me when I tell you about things on earth, how will you believe me when I tell you about things in heaven? 13No one has gone to heaven except the Son of Man, who came from heaven. 14"As Moses lifted up the snake [on a pole] in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. 15Then everyone who believes in him will have eternal life."
16God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. 18Those who believe in him won't be condemned. But those who don't believe are already condemned because they don't believe in God's only Son. 19This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. 20People who do what is wrong hate the light and don't come to the light. They don't want their actions to be exposed. 21But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.
22Later, Jesus and his disciples went to the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them and baptized people. 23John was baptizing in Aenon, near Salim. Water was plentiful there. (People came to John to be baptized, 24since John had not yet been put in prison.)
25Some of John's disciples had an argument with a Jew about purification ceremonies. 26So they went to John and asked him, "Rabbi, do you remember the man you spoke so favorably about when he was with you on the other side of the Jordan River? Well, he's baptizing, and everyone is going to him!" 27John answered, "People can't receive anything unless it has been given to them from heaven. 28You are witnesses that I said, 'I'm not the Messiah, but I've been sent ahead of him.' 29"The groom is the person to whom the bride belongs. The best man, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed when the groom speaks. This is the joy that I feel. 30He must increase in importance, while I must decrease in importance.
31"The person who comes from above is superior to everyone. I, a person from the earth, know nothing but what is on earth, and that's all I can talk about. The person who comes from heaven is superior to everyone 32and tells what he has seen and heard. Yet, no one accepts what he says. 33I have accepted what that person said, and I have affirmed that God is truthful. 34The man whom God has sent speaks God's message. After all, God gives him the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves his Son and has put everything in his power. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, he will see God's constant anger."