New International Version
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
New Living Translation
The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit."
English Standard Version
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
New American Standard Bible
"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."
King James Bible
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.""
International Standard Version
The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. That's the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The Spirit breathes where he will, and you hear his voice, but you do not know from where he comes and where he goes; thus is everyone who is born from The Spirit.”
GOD'S WORD® Translation
The 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."
Jubilee Bible 2000
The wind blows where it desires, and thou hearest the sound of it, but canst not tell from where it comes or where it goes; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
King James 2000 Bible
The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it came, and where it goes: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.
American King James Version
The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
American Standard Version
The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Spirit breatheth where he will; and thou hearest his voice, but thou knowest not whence he cometh, and whither he goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Darby Bible Translation
The wind blows where it will, and thou hearest its voice, but knowest not whence it comes and where it goes: thus is every one that is born of the Spirit.
English Revised Version
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Webster's Bible Translation
The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the sound of it, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Weymouth New Testament
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So is it with every one who has been born of the Spirit."
World English Bible
The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Young's Literal Translation
the Spirit where he willeth doth blow, and his voice thou dost hear, but thou hast not known whence he cometh, and whither he goeth; thus is every one who hath been born of the Spirit.'
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
3:1-8 Nicodemus was afraid, or ashamed to be seen with Christ, therefore came in the night. When religion is out of fashion, there are many Nicodemites. But though he came by night, Jesus bid him welcome, and hereby taught us to encourage good beginnings, although weak. And though now he came by night, yet afterward he owned Christ publicly. He did not talk with Christ about state affairs, though he was a ruler, but about the concerns of his own soul and its salvation, and went at once to them. Our Saviour spoke of the necessity and nature of regeneration or the new birth, and at once directed Nicodemus to the source of holiness of the heart. Birth is the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live anew, as those who have lived much amiss, or to little purpose. We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures. No stronger expression could have been chosen to signify a great and most remarkable change of state and character. We must be entirely different from what we were before, as that which begins to be at any time, is not, and cannot be the same with that which was before. This new birth is from heaven, ch. 1:13, and its tendency is to heaven. It is a great change made in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It means that something is done in us, and for us, which we cannot do for ourselves. Something is wrong, whereby such a life begins as shall last for ever. We cannot otherwise expect any benefit by Christ; it is necessary to our happiness here and hereafter. What Christ speak, Nicodemus misunderstood, as if there had been no other way of regenerating and new-moulding an immortal soul, than by new-framing the body. But he acknowledged his ignorance, which shows a desire to be better informed. It is then further explained by the Lord Jesus. He shows the Author of this blessed change. It is not wrought by any wisdom or power of our own, but by the power of the blessed Spirit. We are shapen in iniquity, which makes it necessary that our nature be changed. We are not to marvel at this; for, when we consider the holiness of God, the depravity of our nature, and the happiness set before us, we shall not think it strange that so much stress is laid upon this. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is compared to water. It is also probable that Christ had reference to the ordinance of baptism. Not that all those, and those only, that are baptized, are saved; but without that new birth which is wrought by the Spirit, and signified by baptism, none shall be subjects of the kingdom of heaven. The same word signifies both the wind and the Spirit. The wind bloweth where it listeth for us; God directs it. The Spirit sends his influences where, and when, on whom, and in what measure and degree, he pleases. Though the causes are hidden, the effects are plain, when the soul is brought to mourn for sin, and to breathe after Christ. Christ's stating of the doctrine and the necessity of regeneration, it should seem, made it not clearer to Nicodemus. Thus the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man. Many think that cannot be proved, which they cannot believe. Christ's discourse of gospel truths, ver. 11-13, shows the folly of those who make these things strange unto them; and it recommends us to search them out. Jesus Christ is every way able to reveal the will of God to us; for he came down from heaven, and yet is in heaven. We have here a notice of Christ's two distinct natures in one person, so that while he is the Son of man, yet he is in heaven. God is the HE THAT IS, and heaven is the dwelling-place of his holiness. The knowledge of this must be from above, and can be received by faith alone. Jesus Christ came to save us by healing us, as the children of Israel, stung with fiery serpents, were cured and lived by looking up to the brazen serpent, Nu 21:6-9. In this observe the deadly and destructive nature of sin. Ask awakened consciences, ask damned sinners, they will tell you, that how charming soever the allurements of sin may be, at the last it bites like a serpent. See the powerful remedy against this fatal malady. Christ is plainly set forth to us in the gospel. He whom we offended is our Peace, and the way of applying for a cure is by believing. If any so far slight either their disease by sin, or the method of cure by Christ, as not to receive Christ upon his own terms, their ruin is upon their own heads. He has said, Look and be saved, look and live; lift up the eyes of your faith to Christ crucified. And until we have grace to do this, we shall not be cured, but still are wounded with the stings of Satan, and in a dying state. Jesus Christ came to save us by pardoning us, that we might not die by the sentence of the law. Here is gospel, good news indeed. Here is God's love in giving his Son for the world. God so loved the world; so really, so richly. Behold and wonder, that the great God should love such a worthless world! Here, also, is the great gospel duty, to believe in Jesus Christ. God having given him to be our Prophet, Priest, and King, we must give up ourselves to be ruled, and taught, and saved by him. And here is the great gospel benefit, that whoever believes in Christ, shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and so saving it. It could not be saved, but through him; there is no salvation in any other. From all this is shown the happiness of true believers; he that believeth in Christ is not condemned. Though he has been a great sinner, yet he is not dealt with according to what his sins deserve. How great is the sin of unbelievers! God sent One to save us, that was dearest to himself; and shall he not be dearest to us? How great is the misery of unbelievers! they are condemned already; which speaks a certain condemnation; a present condemnation. The wrath of God now fastens upon them; and their own hearts condemn them. There is also a condemnation grounded on their former guilt; they are open to the law for all their sins; because they are not by faith interested in the gospel pardon. Unbelief is a sin against the remedy. It springs from the enmity of the heart of man to God, from love of sin in some form. Read also the doom of those that would not know Christ. Sinful works are works of darkness. The wicked world keep as far from this light as they can, lest their deeds should be reproved. Christ is hated, because sin is loved. If they had not hated saving knowledge, they would not sit down contentedly in condemning ignorance. On the other hand, renewed hearts bid this light welcome. A good man acts truly and sincerely in all he does. He desires to know what the will of God is, and to do it, though against his own worldly interest. A change in his whole character and conduct has taken place. The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, and is become the commanding principle of his actions. So long as he continues under a load of unforgiven guilt, there can be little else than slavish fear of God; but when his doubts are done away, when he sees the righteous ground whereon this forgiveness is built, he rests on it as his own, and is united to God by unfeigned love. Our works are good when the will of God is the rule of them, and the glory of God the end of them; when they are done in his strength, and for his sake; to him, and not to men. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a subject to which the world is very averse; it is, however, the grand concern, in comparison with which every thing else is but trifling. What does it signify though we have food to eat in plenty, and variety of raiment to put on, if we are not born again? if after a few mornings and evenings spent in unthinking mirth, carnal pleasure, and riot, we die in our sins, and lie down in sorrow? What does it signify though we are well able to act our parts in life, in every other respect, if at last we hear from the Supreme Judge, Depart from me, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity?
Verse 8. - The wind bloweth (the Spirit breathes, Revised Version, in margin) where it willeth, and thou hearest (his voice) the sound thereof, but thou knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth. Vulgate (followed by Wickliffe and the Rheims Versions) is, Spiritus ubi vult spirat et vocem ejus audis, sed nescis unde veniat, aut quo vadat: sic est omnis qui natus est ex Spiritu. Augustine, though acquainted with the other rendering, approves of this; so Origen, Bengel. The great majority of commentators and versions have held that the former of the two translations is correct; that the first time the word Πνεῦμα is used, it refers to the wind, "the unseen similitude of God the Spirit - his most meet and mightiest sign;" and that, since the same word is used for the two things, Spirit and wind, the Lord, after the parabolic manner which he adopted (in the synoptic Gospels), took advantage of some gusts of roaring wind then audible, to call attention to the mystery and incomprehensibility of its origin or end, and to see a parallel between the unknown ways of the wind and the unknown points of application to the human spirit of the mighty energy of the living God. The passage, Ecclesiastes 11:5, may have been in his mind (though there "Spirit" is as likely to be the reference as is the motion of the "wind," and our ignorance of the way of the Spirit is akin to our ignorance of the formation of bones in the womb of her who is with child), and the adoption of the unusual word πνεῖ (cf. John 6:18; Revelation 7:1; Matthew 7:25; Acts 27:40) is in support of the comparison between "wind" and the "Spirit;" while the φωνή, the "voice" or sound of the wind in trees or against any barriers, and the other effects that the rapid motion of the air produces, gives a lively illustration of the method in which the Spirit of God works in human minds, revealing, not itself, but its effects. The parallel is not peculiar to Scripture (see the remarkable passage in Xenophon, 'Memor.,' 4:3-14; also 'Rig Veda,' 10:168). It is further urged that the following clause, So is every one that hath been born of the Spirit - meaning, So doth it happen to every one who is born of the Spirit - suggests the analogy between πνεῦμα in its material sense, and πνεῦμα in its customary and deeper sense. Now, on the other hand, it appears to me that this latter clause is compatible with the older translation and application. There is a comparison, but it may be between the mysterious working, breathing of the Divine Spirit, whose "voice" or "word" may be heard, whose effects are present to our senses and consciousness, but the beginnings and endings of which are always lost in God, - and the special operations of Divine grace in the birth of the Spirit. There are numberless operations of the Spirit referred to in the Old Testament, from the first brooding of the Spirit on the formless abyss, to all the special and mighty effects wrought in creation, all the heightening and quickening of human faculty, all the conference of special strength upon men - their intellectual energies and Divine inspirations. Over and above all these, there is all the supernatural change wrought in souls by the Holy Spirit. Christ calls this a "birth of the Spirit," and declares that, according to all the mysterious comings and departings of the Spirit, leaving only manifold effects, so is the special Divine work which morally and spiritually recreates humanity. Pneuma is used three hundred and fifty times in the New Testament, and twenty times in this Gospel for "the Spirit;" and if the usage is reversed here, this is the solitary occasion. The word θέλει, is, moreover, more appropriate to a living Being than to the wind. There is another way which suggests itself by which the word Πνεῦμα may mean the same in both clauses: The breath of God bloweth where it listeth, etc., so is every one born of the breath of God. If this be possible, the form of the expression supplies a cooperating similitude drawn from the unknown origin and mighty effects of the unseen breath of heaven; and on this translation the comparison is drawn between all the ways of the Spirit and the special work of the Spirit in regeneration. An inference is deducible from either interpretation of this verse, incompatible with the theory that "birth from water" is equivalent to "regeneration in baptism." If the rite of baptism provided the moment and occasion of the spiritual result, we should know whence it came and whither it went. We might not know "how," but we should know "when" and "whence" the spiritual change took place. But this knowledge is distinctly negatived by Christ, who herein declares the moment of the spiritual birth to be lost or hidden in God. Physical birth is a deep mystery, both whence the "spirit" comes and whither it goes; the signs of the presence of life are abundant, but there is an infinite difference between the stillborn or dead child and the living one. Similarly, the commencement of the Spirit's creation within our nature is lost in mystery. We discern its presence by its effects, by consciousness of a new life and sense of a new world all around the newly born, but the Spirit-birth, like all the other operations of the Spirit, is hidden in God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The wind bloweth where it listeth,.... For ought any mortal can say, or do to the contrary: and so the Spirit of God is a free agent in regeneration; he works how, and where, and when he pleases; he acts freely in the first operation of his grace on the heart, and in all after influences of it; as well as in the donation of his gifts to men, for different purposes; see 1 Corinthians 12:11; and this grace of the Spirit in regeneration, like the wind, is powerful and irresistible; it carries all before it; there is no withstanding it; it throws down Satan's strong holds, demolishes the fortifications of sin; the whole posse of hell, and the corruptions of a man's heart, are not a match for it; when the Spirit works, who can let?
and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth; as the wind, though its sound is heard, and its force felt, it cannot be seen; nor is it known certainly, from whence it comes, and where are the treasures of it; from whence it begins, and where it ends; so is the grace of the Spirit of God in regeneration to a natural man; it is imperceptible, indiscernible, and unaccountable by him, 1 Corinthians 2:14.
So is every one that is born of the Spirit: he is regenerated by grace, that is, as free and sovereign, as powerful and irresistible, and as secret and imperceptible, as the wind is: and seeing so ordinary a thing as the blowing of the wind is of such a nature, and so little to be accounted for; regeneration by the Spirit of God, who is comparable to the wind, and whose name so signifies, need not be thought so marvellous and astonishing, though the natural man discerns it not, and cannot account for it. The beauty and propriety of this simile will more appear by observing, that the same Hebrew word, is used both for the wind, and for the Spirit of God; it is used for the "wind", in Genesis 3:8; and in other places, and for the Spirit of God, in Genesis 1:2, and elsewhere: and so likewise the Greek word is used for them both, for the wind in this place, and often for the Holy Ghost: and it may be observed, that the Holy Spirit, because of his powerful, comfortable, and quickening influences, is compared to the wind, especially to the south wind, in some passages of the Old Testament, which Christ might have in view, Sol 4:16. What our Lord here says, concerning the wind, is confirmed by all experience, and philosophical observations; the rise of winds, from whence they come, and whither they go, cannot be ascertained; the treasures of them are only with God, and known to him; see Ecclesiastes 11:5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. The wind, &c.—Breath and spirit (one word both in Hebrew and Greek) are constantly brought together in Scripture as analogous (Job 27:3; 33:4; Eze 37:9-14).
canst not tell, &c.—The laws which govern the motion of the winds are even yet but partially discovered; but the risings, failings, and change in direction many times in a day, of those gentle breezes here referred to, will probably ever be a mystery to us: So of the operation of the Holy Ghost in the new birth.
John 3:8 Additional Commentaries
Jesus and Nicodemus
…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." 9Nicodemus said to Him, "How can these things be?"…
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'"
You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
Treasury of Scripture
The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
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