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.”
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.
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.
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."
John 3:8 Parallel
CommentaryVincent's Word Studies
The wind (τὸ πνεῦμα)
Some hold by the translation spirit, as Wyc., the spirit breatheth where it will. In Hebrew the words spirit and wind are identical. Πνεῦμα is from πνέω to breathe or blow, the verb used in this verse (bloweth), and everywhere in the New Testament of the blowing of the wind (Matthew 7:25, Matthew 7:27; Luke 12:55; John 6:18). It frequently occurs in the classics in the sense of wind. Thus Aristophanes, τὸ πνεῦμ' ἔλαττον γίγνεται, the wind is dying away ("Knights," 441), also in the New Testament, Hebrews 1:7, where the proper translation is, "who maketh His angels winds," quoted from Psalm 103:4 (Sept.). In the Septuagint, 1 Kings 18:45; 1 Kings 19:11; 2 Kings 3:17; Job 1:19. In the New Testament, in the sense of breath, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 11:11. The usual rendering, wind, is confirmed here by the use of the kindred verb πνεῖ, bloweth, and by φωνὴν, sound, voice. Tholuck thinks that the figure may have been suggested to Jesus by the sound of the night-wind sweeping through the narrow street.
Where it listeth (ὅπου θέλει)
On the verb θέλω, to will or determine, see on Matthew 1:19. Listeth is old English for pleasure or willeth, from the Anglo-Saxon lust, meaning pleasure. Chaucer has the forms leste, lust, and list.
"Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste (pleased)."
"Canterbury Tales," 752.
"Love if thee lust."
"Canterbury Tales," 1185.
"She walketh up and down wher as hire list (wherever she pleases)."
"Canterbury Tales," 1054.
"A wretch by fear, not force, like Hannibal,
Drives back our troops, and conquers as she lists."
Shakespeare, "Henry VI.," Pt. I., i., v., 22.
Hence listless is devoid of desire. The statement of Jesus is not meant to be scientifically precise, but is rather thrown into a poetic mold, akin to the familiar expression "free as the wind." Compare 1 Corinthians 12:11; and for the more prosaic description of the course of the wind, see Ecclesiastes 1:6.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."
Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"
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Jump to NextBirth Blow Bloweth Blows Born Chooses Ears Goes Hear Hearest Pleases Pleasure Sound Spirit Thereof Unable Voice Wants Whence Wherever Whither Willeth Wills Wind Wishes
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.