Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
New Living Translation
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
English Standard Version
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Berean Study Bible
Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Berean Literal Bible
Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, except anyone be born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God."
New American Standard Bible
Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
King James Bible
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Christian Standard Bible
Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Contemporary English Version
Jesus replied, "I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God's kingdom!"
Good News Translation
Jesus answered, "I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again."
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Jesus replied, "I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.""
International Standard Version
Jesus replied to him, "Truly, I tell you emphatically, unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Jesus replied, "I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
New Heart English Bible
Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I tell you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Yeshua answered and said to him: “Timeless truth I am telling you: If a person is not born again, it is impossible for that one to see the Kingdom of God.”
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Jesus replied to Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."
New American Standard 1977
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Jubilee Bible 2000
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a person be born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
King James 2000 Bible
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
American King James Version
Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
American Standard Version
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Darby Bible Translation
Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God.
English Revised Version
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Webster's Bible Translation
Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Weymouth New Testament
"In most solemn truth I tell you," answered Jesus, "that unless a man is born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
World English Bible
Jesus answered him, "Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom of God."
Young's Literal Translation
Jesus answered and said to him, 'Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God;'
Study BibleJesus and Nicodemus
…2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him.” 3Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?”…
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Which of the two did the will of his father?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.
And if your eye causes you to fall into sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
When Jesus saw this, He was indignant and told them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Can he enter his mother's womb a second time to be born?"
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow.
1 Peter 1:23
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 John 2:29
If you know that He is righteous, you also know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
1 John 3:9
Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God's seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
1 John 5:1
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him.
1 John 5:4
because everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.
Treasury of Scripture
Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Verily. See on ch.
again. or, from above.
Jesus answered and said unto him.--The words of Nicodemus are clearly only a preface to further questions. Jesus at once answers these questions; the answer being, as it frequently is, to the unexpressed thought (comp. e.g., John 2:18). The coming of the Messiah, the Divine Glory, God's Kingdom, these are the thoughts which filled men's minds. These miracles--in what relation did they stand to it? This Teacher--what message from God had He about it?
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.--Our translators have followed the ancient expositors in giving the alternative renderings "born again" and "born from above" (margin). Chrysostom notes the two currents of interpretation in his day; and in our own day the opinions of scholars, whether we count them or weigh them, may be equally claimed for either view. There can be no doubt that the Greek word (??????) is found with both meanings. It is equally certain that St. John elsewhere uses it in the local sense "from above" only (John 3:31; John 19:11; John 19:23); but these instances are not sufficient to establish an usus loquendi, and the sense here, and in John 3:7, must be taken in connection with the meaning of the verb. (Comp. the same word in Luke 1:3, "from the very first," and Galatians 4:9, "again.") What has not, perhaps, been sufficiently noted is, that the Greek word is not the true key to the difficulty, and that its double sense has led men to seek the meaning in a wrong direction. The dialogue was between One who was called and one who really was a Rabbi. The word actually used almost certainly conveyed but one sense, and it is this sense which the Syriac version, coming to us from the second century, and closely connected with the Palestinian dialect of the first century, has preserved. This version reads "from the beginning," "afresh," "anew." This is the sense which St. John wishes to express for his Greek readers, and the word used by him exactly does express it. That the Greek word has another meaning also, which expresses the same thought from another point of view, may have determined its choice. This other point of view was certainly not absent from the circle of the writer's thoughts (comp. John 1:13).
On "the kingdom of God," which is of frequent occurrence in the earlier Gospels, but in St. John is found only here and in John 3:5, comp. Note on Matthew 3:2. To "see" the kingdom is, in New Testament usage, equivalent to "enter into the kingdom," John 3:5, where indeed some MSS. read "see." (Comp. in this John John 3:36, and Luke 2:26; Acts 2:27; Hebrews 11:5; 1Peter 3:10; Revelation 18:7.) The condition of the spiritual vision which can see this kingdom is spiritual life, and this life is dependent on being born anew.
(3) It is perfectly natural to ascribe the power of willing to the Spirit, but it is not consistent with the simplicity of our Lord's teaching thus to personify "wind," especially in teaching on a subject where the simplest words are hard to fathom. The common rendering makes Him use the same word, in the same verse, of the third person in the Trinity, and of a natural phenomenon.Verses 3-21. -
5. The revelation of earthly and heavenly things to one who knew that God was with him. Verses 3-12. -
(1) The conditions of admission into the kingdom of God. New birth of the Spirit. Verse 3. - Many explanations have been offered of the link of connection between the suggestion of Nicodemus and the reply of Jesus. Many expansions or additions have been conjectured, such as the following, suggested by Christ's own language elsewhere: "You, by the finger of God, are casting out devils; then the kingdom of God has come nigh unto us. How may we enter upon its further proofs?" - a view which would demand a deeper knowledge of the mind of Christ than we have any reason to suppose diffused at this period. Others (Baumlein) have supposed Nicodemus to have said, "Does the baptism of John suffice for admission into the kingdom?" - a suggestion which would be most strange for a Pharisaic Sanhedrist to have extemporized. At the same time, it may be proved that the rabbis regarded proselytism as a "new birth," and one produced or brought about by circumcision and baptism (Wunsche, l.c. 506; Geikie, 1:505). Others, again, have put further words into the reply of Jesus, such as, "The kingdom of God is not in the miracles which I am working; it is in a state of things which can only be appreciated by a radical spiritual change" (Lucke). Similarly Luthardt. Nicodemus was thinking of the kingdom of God evinced by miraculous signs; and Jesus points him to the inner reality rather than to the outer manifestation. Godet sees the Pharisaic position in the question of Nicodemus, "Art thou the Messiah? is the kingdom of God near, as thy miracles seem to indicate?" He was assuming that, as a Pharisee, he had nothing to do but walk in the light, the dawn of which was revealed to him in the signs of a divinely sent Teacher. All these views embrace a large amount of possible conjectural truth; but they ignore the play upon the words of Nicodemus, which the answer of Jesus involves, showing that a sharp, clean retort followed the speech of the former. "We know that NO MAN IS ABLE to do these signs which thou art working EXCEPT GOD, BE WITH HIM. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT ONE be born anew, HE IS NOT ABLE to see the kingdom of God." The form of both protasis and apodosis in each sentence closely corresponds, and this correspondence suggests the fact of an immediate repartee. adopting even the form of the question or assertion of the ruler of the Jews. To the "we know" of Nicodemus, comes the "I say unto thee" of Jesus. To the general sentiment of Nicodemus Christ gives a personal application. In place of speculation concerning his own relation to God and to the kingdom, Christ searches in the heart of his questioner for spiritual susceptibility. Over against the general proposition about God being with the Worker of these signs Christ sets the practical truth and Divine possibility of any man seeing the kingdom of God. To the suspicion of Jesus being the Messenger and Minister of God, he opposes the supposition of being born from heaven, or anew. From ancient times commentators have been divided as to the meaning of the word ἄνωθεν - whether it should be rendered "from above" or "anew," "again." The first was favoured by Origen and many others down to Bengel, Lucke, Meyer, Baur, Wordsworth, Lange, based on the local meaning of the word in numerous places; e.g. "from the top" (Matthew 27:51), "from heaven above" (James 3:15, 17; John 3:31; John 19:11). Moreover, John uses the idea of birth from God, or by his will supervening on the life of man, and the consequent conference upon it of a new beginning (John 1:13; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:1, 4, 18). The great point on which our Lord insists is the Divine spiritual origin of the life of which he has so much to say. Several of the English versions, Coverdale's - and second edition of the Bishops' Bible - have adopted this rendering, with the Armenian and Gothic Versions. The Revised Version has placed it in the margin. Against it is to be brought the use of the verb ἀναγεννᾶσθαι (1 Peter 1:3, 23, and in Justin, 'Apol.,' 1:6l) - a word which corresponds with this clause, ἄνωθεν γεννηθῆναι, and yet could scarcely be translated "to be born from above," but, "to be born again." The second rendering, giving a temporal value to ἄνωθεν, was adopted by Augustine, Chrysostom (who uses both views), the Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, Tholuck, Godet, Westcott, Moulton, Weiss, and Luthardt, and is sustained by the fact that Nicodemus was led by it to an inquiry about (δεύτερον γεννηθῆναι) a second birth. If the expression had had no ambiguity about it, and merely conveyed the idea of a heavenly birth, his mistake would have been greater than it was. There are, moreover, numerous passages confirming the temporal sense of ἄνωθεν (Wettstein and Grimm both quote from Josephus, 'Ant.,' 1:18. 3; and Artemidorus, 'Oneiroc.,' 1:13); and the παλιγγενεσία of Titus 3:5 points in the same direction. The Jewish rabbi ought to have been familiar with the idea of the "new heart" and "right spirit," and the marvellous and mighty change wrought in men by the Holy Spirit; but the spiritual idea had been overlaid by rabbinic ritualism, and all the hopeless entanglements of ceremonial purity which had been reacts to do duty for spiritual conformity with the Divine will. Archdeacon Watkins reminds us that the Syriac Version here gives the rendering "from the beginning," or "anew," and lays great stress on this solution of the ambiguity in the Greek word. The statement of Christ is very remarkable. A man must be born anew, must undergo a radical change, even to see the kingdom of God (cf. Matthew 18:3). The true kingdom is not a Divine government of outward, visible magnificence, sustained by miraculous aid - a physical sovereignty which shall rival and eclipse the majesty of Caesar. When the kingdom shall come in its genuine power, the carnal eye will not discover its presence. The man born anew will alone be able to appreciate it. The Jews boasted that they were born of God (John 8:41), but could not understand that they needed vital, fundamental, moral renewal - a second birth, a new beginning. Let the opening of Christ's Galilaean ministry be compared with this bold utterance. There in public discourse he called upon all men everywhere to "repent," to undergo a radical change of mind, and that because the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Μετάνοια portrays the same change as παλιγγενεσία; but one term denotes thai; change as a human experience and effort, the other as a Divine operation. Neither repentance nor regeneration commended itself to the rabbinic mind as a necessity for one who was exalted by privilege and ennobled by obedience. The phrase, "kingdom of God," is not a mode of representing truth to which this Gospel calls frequent attention. Still our Lord to Pilate (John 18:36) admits that he is himself the Head of kingdom which is "not from hence" - not resting on this world as its foundation or source. In Matthew the whole of the mission of Christ among men is repeatedly portrayed as "the kingdom of heaven." And from the time when the Lord ascended until now, various efforts have been made to realize, to discover, to embody, to emblazon, to crush, to ignore, that kingdom and its King. This great utterance is a key to much of the history of the Church, and an explanation of its numberless mistakes. Moreover, it supplies an invaluable hint of the true nature of the kingdom of God. Thoma insists on the other rendering of ἄνωθεν, and compares it with the Philonic doctrine, "that the substance of the νοῦς is not attributed to that which is created, but is breathed into the flesh from above (ἄνωθεν) by God.... Aim, O soul, at the bodiless essence of the spirit world as thy inheritance." These ideas, he thinks, John has placed into the lips of Jesus. The two classes of ideas are fundamentally distinct. Philo contrasts the sensuous and the intellectual; Christ is contrasting nature and grace.
verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; Nicodemus, according to the general sense of the nation, thought that when the Messiah came, and his kingdom was set up, they should all share in it, without any more ado; they being the descendants of Abraham, and having him for their father: but Christ assures him, that he must be "born again"; in distinction from, and opposition to his first birth by nature; in which he was vile, polluted, carnal, and corrupt, being conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity, and was a transgressor from the womb, and by nature a child of wrath; and in opposition to, his descent from Abraham, or being born of him, and of his seed; for this would be of no avail to him in this case, nor give him any right to the privileges and ordinances of the kingdom of God, or the Gospel dispensation; see Matthew 3:9; as also to birth by proselytism; for the Jews have a frequent saying (p), that
"one that is made a proselyte, , "is like a child new born".''
Which they understand, not in a spiritual, but in a civil sense; such being free from all natural and civil relations, and from all obligations to parents, masters (q), &c. And by this phrase our Lord signifies, that no man, either as a man, or as a son of Abraham, or as a proselyte to the Jewish religion, can have any true knowledge of, or right unto, the enjoyment of the kingdom of God, unless he is born again; or regenerated, and quickened by the Spirit of God; renewed in the spirit of his mind; has Christ formed in his heart; becomes a partaker of the divine nature; and in all respects a new creature; and an other in heart, in principle, in practice, and conversation; or unless he be "born from above", as the word is rendered in John 3:31; that is, by a supernatural power, having the heavenly image stamped on him; and being called with an heavenly calling, even with the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: if this is not the case, a man can have no true knowledge of the kingdom of the Messiah, which is not a temporal and carnal one; it is not of this world, nor does it come with observation; nor can he have any right to the ordinances of it, which are of a spiritual nature; and much less can he be thought to have any true notions, or to be possessed of the kingdom of grace, which lies in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; or to have either a meetness for, or a right unto the kingdom of glory: though by the following words it seems, that the word is rightly rendered "again", or a second time, as it is by Nounus.
(o) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1.((p) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 22. 1. 48. 2. 62. 1. & 97. 2.((q) Vid. Maimon. Issure Bia, c. 14. sect. 11. & Eduth, c. 13. sect. 2.
a man—not a Jew merely; the necessity is a universal one.
be born again—or, as it were, begin life anew in relation to God; his manner of thinking, feeling, and acting, with reference to spiritual things, undergoing a fundamental and permanent revolution.
cannot see—can have no part in (just as one is said to "see life," "see death," etc.).
the kingdom of God—whether in its beginnings here (Lu 16:16), or its consummation hereafter (Mt 25:34; Eph 5:5).
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