John 3:4
New International Version
"How can someone be born when they are old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!"

New Living Translation
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

English Standard Version
Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Berean Study Bible
“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?”

Berean Literal Bible
Nicodemus says to Him, "How is a man able to be born, being old? Is he able to enter into the womb of his mother a second time, and to be born?"

New American Standard Bible
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"

New King James Version
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

King James Bible
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Christian Standard Bible
"How can anyone be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked him. "Can he enter his mother's womb a second time and be born?"

Contemporary English Version
Nicodemus asked, "How can a grown man ever be born a second time?"

Good News Translation
"How can a grown man be born again?" Nicodemus asked. "He certainly cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time!"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But how can anyone be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked Him. "Can he enter his mother's womb a second time and be born?"

International Standard Version
Nicodemus asked him, "How can a person be born when he is old? He can't go back into his mother's womb a second time and be born, can he?"

NET Bible
Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time, can he?"

New Heart English Bible
Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Nicodemus said to him: “How can an old man be born? Is it not impossible for him again to enter his mother's womb a second time and be born?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Nicodemus 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?"

New American Standard 1977
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

King James 2000 Bible
Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

American King James Version
Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

American Standard Version
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born again?

Darby Bible Translation
Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born being old? can he enter a second time into the womb of his mother and be born?

English Revised Version
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Webster's Bible Translation
Nicodemus saith to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Weymouth New Testament
"How is it possible," Nicodemus asked, "for a man to be born when he is old? Can he a second time enter his mother's womb and be born?"

World English Bible
Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

Young's Literal Translation
Nicodemus saith unto him, 'How is a man able to be born, being old? is he able into the womb of his mother a second time to enter, and to be born?'
Study Bible
Jesus and Nicodemus
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?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.…
Cross References
John 3:3
Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

John 3:5
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Treasury of Scripture

Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

How.

John 3:3
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.

John 4:11,12
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? …

John 6:53,60
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you…









Lexicon
“How
Πῶς (Pōs)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 4459: Adverb from the base of pou; an interrogative particle of manner; in what way?; also as exclamation, how much!

can
δύναται (dynatai)
Verb - Present Indicative Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 1410: (a) I am powerful, have (the) power, (b) I am able, I can. Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.

a man
ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 444: A man, one of the human race. From aner and ops; man-faced, i.e. A human being.

be born
γεννηθῆναι (gennēthēnai)
Verb - Aorist Infinitive Passive
Strong's Greek 1080: From a variation of genos; to procreate; figuratively, to regenerate.

when he is
ὤν (ōn)
Verb - Present Participle Active - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

old?”
γέρων (gerōn)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1088: An old man. Of uncertain affinity; aged.

Nicodemus
Νικόδημος (Nikodēmos)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3530: Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin. From nikos and demos; victorious among his people; Nicodemus, an Israelite.

asked.
Λέγει (Legei)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 3004: (a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the pass., (c) I tell, command.

“Can he
δύναται (dynatai)
Verb - Present Indicative Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 1410: (a) I am powerful, have (the) power, (b) I am able, I can. Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.

enter
εἰσελθεῖν (eiselthein)
Verb - Aorist Infinitive Active
Strong's Greek 1525: To go in, come in, enter. From eis and erchomai; to enter.

his
αὐτοῦ (autou)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

mother’s
μητρὸς (mētros)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3384: A mother. Apparently a primary word; a 'mother'.

womb
κοιλίαν (koilian)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2836: From koilos; a cavity, i.e. the abdomen; by implication, the matrix; figuratively, the heart.

a second time
δεύτερον (deuteron)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 1208: Second; with the article: in the second place, for the second time. As the compare of duo; second.

to be born?”
γεννηθῆναι (gennēthēnai)
Verb - Aorist Infinitive Passive
Strong's Greek 1080: From a variation of genos; to procreate; figuratively, to regenerate.
(4) How can a man be born . . .?--Nicodemus understands the words "born again" in the sense given above. The thought is not wholly strange to him. The Rabbis were accustomed to speak of proselytes as children, and the term "new creature" (comp. 2Corinthians 5:17) was in frequent use to express the call of Abraham. But he is himself a child of Abraham, a member of the theocratic kingdom, and is expecting the glory of Messiah's reign. He is a teacher of the Law, a ruler of the chosen people. He is not as a heathen who can be born into the holy nation. The ordinary spiritual sense of the words cannot hold in his case. What can they mean? He does not wilfully misinterpret, for this is opposed to the whole character of the man, nor does he really suppose the physical meaning is intended; but after the method of Rabbinic dialogue, he presses the impossible meaning of the words in order to exclude it, and to draw forth the true meaning. "You cannot mean that a man is to enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born. What is it, then, that you do mean?"

When he is old does not necessarily apply to Nicodemus himself. It is the most difficult special case coming under the general term, "a man." In Philo's artificial division of the lifetime, based on that of Hippocrates, the "old man" (?????) is one more than fifty-six years (De Mund. Opif. ? 36). If we understand this of Nicodemus personally, it will make the identification with Nak'dimon (Note on John 3:1) barely possible.

(4) The proper meaning of the word rendered "sound" (????) is articulate "voice." It is used in fifteen passages in this Gospel only, and everywhere translated "voice" except here. Let the reader substitute the one meaning for the other in any of these passages, e.g., John 1:23; John 3:29; John 5:25; John 5:28; John 10:3-5; John 10:16, and he will find that they are not interchangeable.

Verse 4. - Nicodemus saith to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born? The numerous endeavours to interpret the motive or mind of Nicodemus show almost as much misunderstanding of the naivete of his amazement, as Nicodemus did of the deepest significance of this solemn utterance of the Lord. Two things are perfectly clear:

(1) Nicodemus saw a grave and amazing difficulty in the idea of a second birth of a man old, like himself, in years, prepossessions, habits of thought, ways of acting, social ties, ancestral and traditional customs, and in venerable ideas consecrated by long usage. He might have known the language of the prophets concerning circumcision of heart (Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4) and concerning a new heart and right spirit (Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Psalm 51:10; Psalm 86:4); but the full bearing of these prophetic ideas were beyond and different to the almost drastic form of Christ's call for spiritual change and "birth from the beginning." There is no necessity for us to accuse him either of "narrowness" (Meyer) or of imbecility (Reuss, Lucke), or to make such a charge react upon the spirit or temper of the evangelist in delineating him. It is enough that Nicodemus should have seen a grave difficulty; and Thoma here is justified in referring to the language of the apostles, when the narrow entrance into the kingdom was set forth under the image of the camel and the needle's eye; and to Mary, when she cried, "How can this thing be?" Moreover, the same perplexity, after eighteen hundred years of Christian experience, still encumbers this utterance of the Master.

(2) Nicodemus did not, by the form of his question, put such query to the Lord in any literal baldness or insolent worldliness. Surely such a view ignores all the tropical methods of speech current in the rabbinical schools. He virtually said," Birth such as you speak of is as impossible as the second physical birth of an old man, as preposterous as would be re-entrance into the womb of his mother for the purpose of a second birth." Christ had spoken of a fundamental change - one going right down to the very sources and beginnings of life. The Lord had used this difficult image, and propounded his view in a term capable of various interpretation. Nicodemus simply expresses his alarm and incredulity in terms of the image itself. It is little more than the language of the prophet, "Can an Ethiopian change his skin, or a leopard his spots?" Are you not proposing a natural impessibility? Must not the kingdom of God, which we thought we saw in thy advent and mighty deeds, be on this understanding hopelessly veiled from human vision? The "being old" shows that Nicodemus had gone through the metaphor to the condition of mind of which it was the subject. There was no greater physical difficulty in an old man re-entering his mother's womb than for a boy of twelve to do so; but being probably, not necessarily, an old man, and belonging to a society of grave, reverend elders, with the inveterate habits, practices, traditions, of long lives behind them, how impracticable and impossible does the notion of so complete a change appear to him! Hence his question. Westcott says admirably, "The great mystery of religion is not the punishment, but the forgiveness of sins; not the natural permanence of character, but spiritual regeneration."
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