Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
New Living Translation
Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
English Standard Version
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Berean Study Bible
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Berean Literal Bible
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless anyone be born of water and of the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.
New American Standard Bible
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
King James Bible
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Christian Standard Bible
Jesus answered, "Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Contemporary English Version
Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit.
Good News Translation
"I am telling you the truth," replied Jesus, "that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Jesus answered, "I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
International Standard Version
Jesus answered, "Truly, I tell you emphatically, unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
New Heart English Bible
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I tell you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter into 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 from water and The Spirit, it is impossible that he shall enter the Kingdom of God.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Jesus answered Nicodemus, "I can guarantee this truth: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
New American Standard 1977
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Jubilee Bible 2000
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
King James 2000 Bible
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
American King James Version
Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
American Standard Version
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God!
Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Darby Bible Translation
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
English Revised Version
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Webster's Bible Translation
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Weymouth New Testament
"In most solemn truth I tell you," replied Jesus, "that unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
World English Bible
Jesus answered, "Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God!
Young's Literal Translation
Jesus answered, 'Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born of water, and the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the reign of God;
Study BibleJesus and Nicodemus
…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. 6Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit.…
I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols.
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.
children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.
Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"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?"
1 Corinthians 15:50
Now I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Treasury of Scripture
Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 1:51), calling attention to the deeper truth which follows; and again the words of authority, "I say unto thee."
Of water and of the Spirit.--We are here on the borderland of a great controversy. The subject is closely connected with that of the discourse in Capernaum (John 6), and so far as it is a subject for the pages of a Commentary at all, it will be better to treat of it in connection with that discourse. (See Excursus C: The Sacramental Teaching of St. John's Gospel.) Our task here is to ask what meaning the words were intended by the Speaker to convey to the hearer; and this seems not to admit of doubt. The baptism of proselytes was already present to the thought; the baptism of John had excited the attention of all Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin had officially inquired into it. Jesus Himself had submitted to it, but "the Pharisees and lawyers" [Nicodemus was both] "rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptised of him" (Luke 7:29). The key to the present verse is found in the declaration of John, "I baptise with water . . . He baptiseth with the Holy Ghost" (John 1:26; John 1:33), and this key must have been then in the mind of Nicodemus. The message was, baptism with water; baptism with water, by which the Gentile had been admitted as a new-born babe to Judaism, the rite representing the cleansing of the life from heathen pollutions and devotion to the service of the true God; baptism with water, which John had preached in his ministry of reformation (comp. Matthew 3:7), declaring a like cleansing as needed for Jew and Gentile, Pharisee and publican, as the gate to the kingdom of heaven, which was at hand; baptism with water, which demanded a public profession in the presence of witnesses, and an open loyalty to the new kingdom, not a visit by night, under the secrecy of darkness--this is the message of God to the teacher seeking admission to His kingdom. This he would understand. It would now be clear to him why John came baptising, and why Jews were themselves baptised confessing their sins. There is no further explanation of the "outward and visible sign," but the teaching passes on to the "inward and spiritual grace," the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the birth of the Spirit, which was the work of the Messiah Himself. Of this, indeed, there were foreshadowings and promises in the Old Testament Scriptures (comp., e.g., Ezekiel 36:25 et seq.; Jeremiah 31:33; Joel 2:28); but the deeper meaning of such passages was buried beneath the ruins of the schools of prophets, and few among later teachers had penetrated to it. It is hard for this Rabbi to see it, even when it is brought home to him.
(5) It is believed that the rendering adopted agrees with the whole context, and gives a fuller sense to the words of the great Teacher.Verse 5. - Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man (any one) have been born (out) of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This memorable utterance has been the occasion of much controversy, arising from the contested sanction thus supposed to be given to the opus operatura of baptism, and to the identification of water baptism with Spirit baptism. Expositors have asserted that the rite of water baptism is not merely regarded as the expressive symbol and prophecy of the spiritual change which is declared to be indispensable to admission into the kingdom, but the veritable means by which that baptism of the Spirit is effected. Now, in the first place, we observe that the sentence is a reply to Nicodemus, who had just expressed his blank astonishment at the idea that a fundamental change must pass over a man, in any sense equivalent to a second birth, before he can see the kingdom of God. Our Lord modifies the last clause, and speaks of entering into the kingdom of God rather than perceiving or discerning the features of the kingdom. Some have urged that ἰδεῖν of ver. 3 is equivalent to εἰσελθεῖν εἰς of ver. 5. The vision, say they, is only possible to those who partake of the privileges of the kingdom. But the latter phrase does certainly express a further idea - a richer and fuller appreciation of the authority and glory of the King; just as the "birth of water and of the Spirit" conveys deeper and further thought to Nicodemus, than did the previously used expression, γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν. The first expression was dark in the extreme; the latter pours light upon it. "Birth of water" points at once to the method so frequently adopted in Jewish ceremonial, by which a complete change of state and right before God was instituted by water. Thus, a man who had not gone through the appropriate and commanded lustrations was unfit to present his offering, to receive the benediction sought by his sacrificial presentment; the priest was not in a fit state to carry the blood of the covenant into the holy place without frequent washings, which indicated the extent and defilement of his birth stain. Nicodemus for probably thirty years had seen priests and men thus qualifying themselves for solemn functions. So great was the urgency of these ideas that, as he must have known, the Essenes had formed separate communities, with the view of carrying out to the full consummation the idea of ritual purity. More than this, it is not improbable that proselytes from heathen nations, when brought into covenant relation with the theocratic people, were, at the very time of this conversation, admitted by baptismal rites into this privilege. To the entire confusion of Pharisee and Sadducee, John the Baptist had demanded of every class of the holy people "repentance unto remission of sins," a demand which was accepted on the part of the multitudes by submitting to the rite of baptism. The vastly important question then arises' - Did John by this baptism, or by any power he wielded, give to the people repentance or remission of sins? Certainly not, if we may conclude from the repeated judgment pronounced by him self and by the apostles after him. Nothing but the blood and Spirit of Christ could convey either remission or repentance to the souls of men. John preached the baptism of repentance unto remission, but could confer neither. He taught the people to look to One who should come after him. He sharply discriminated the baptism with water from the baptism of the Spirit and fire. This discrimination has been repeatedly referred to already in this Gospel. Thus the Fathers of the Church saw distinctly that there was no regenerating efficacy in the water baptism of John, and the Council of Trent elevated this position into a canonical dogma. It is most melancholy that they did not also perceive that this judgment of theirs about the baptism of John applied to water baptism altogether. Christ's disciples baptized (not Christ himself, John 4:2) with water unto repentance and remission; but even up to the day of Pentecost there is no hint of this process being more than stimulus to that repentance which is the gift of God, and to the consequent pardon which was the condition of still further communication of the Holy Spirit. The great baptism which Christ would administer was the baptism of Spirit and fire. The references to the baptism of the early Church are not numerous in the New Testament, but they are given as if for the very purpose of showing that the water baptism was not a necessary or indispensable condition to the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius and his friends received the sacred bestowment before baptism. The language of the Ethiopian ennuch shows that he had received the holy and best gift of Divine illumination and faith before baptism. Simon Magus was baptized with water by Philip, but was in the gall of bitterness and un-spirituality. There is no proof at all that the apostles of Christ (with the exception of Paul) wore ever baptized with water, unless it were at the hands of John. Consequently, we cannot believe, with this entire group of facts before us, that our Lord was making any ceremonial rite whatsoever indispensable to entrance into the kingdom. His own reception and forgiveness of the woman that was a sinner, of the paralytic, and of the dying brigand, his breathing over his disciples as symbolic of the great spiritual gift they were afterwards to receive, is the startling and impressive repudiation of the idea that Christian baptism in his own name, or, still less, that that ordinance treated as a supernaturally endowed and divinely enriched sacrament, was even so much as referred to in this great utterance. But the entire system of Jewish, proselyte, and Johannine baptisms was in the mind of both Nicodemus and Christ. These were all symbolic of the confession and repentance, which are the universal human conditions of pardon, and, as a ritual, were allowed to his disciples before and after Pentecost, as anticipatory of the great gift of the Holy Spirit. No baptism, no "birth out of water," can give repentance or enforce confession; but the familiar process may indicate the imperative necessity for both, and prove still more a prophecy of the vital, spiritual transformation which, in the following verse, is dissociated from the water altogether. Calvin, while admitting the general necessity for baptism, repudiates the idea that the rite is indispensable to salvation, and maintains that "water" here means nothing different or other than "the Spirit," as descriptive of one of its great methods of operation, just as "Holy Spirit and fire" are elsewhere conjoined.
except a man be born of water and of the Spirit: these are, , "two words", which express the same thing, as Kimchi observes in many places in his commentaries, and signify the grace of the Spirit of God. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, "the Holy Spirit", and so Nonnus; and who doubtless is intended: by "water", is not meant material water, or baptismal water; for water baptism is never expressed by water only, without some additional word, which shows, that the ordinance of water baptism is intended: nor has baptism any regenerating influence in it; a person may be baptized, as Simon Magus was, and yet not born again; and it is so far from having any such virtue, that a person ought to be born again, before he is admitted to that ordinance: and though submission to it is necessary, in order to a person's entrance into a Gospel church state; yet it is not necessary to the kingdom of heaven, or to eternal life and salvation: such a mistaken sense of this text, seems to have given the first birth and rise to infant baptism in the African churches; who taking the words in this bad sense, concluded their children must be baptized, or they could not be saved; whereas by "water" is meant, in a figurative and metaphorical sense, the grace of God, as it is elsewhere; see Ezekiel 36:25. Which is the moving cause of this new birth, and according to which God begets men again to, a lively hope, and that by which it is effected; for it is by the grace of God, and not by the power of man's free will, that any are regenerated, or made new creatures: and if Nicodemus was an officer in the temple, that took care to provide water at the feasts, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, and as it should seem Nicodemon ben Gorion was, by the story before related of him; See Gill on John 3:1; very pertinently does our Lord make mention of water, it being his own element: regeneration is sometimes ascribed to God the Father, as in 1 Peter 1:3, and sometimes to the Son, 1 John 2:29 and here to the Spirit, as in Titus 3:5, who convinces of sin, sanctifies, renews, works faith, and every other grace; begins and carries on the work of grace, unto perfection;
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; and unless a man has this work of his wrought on his soul, as he will never understand divine and spiritual things, so he can have no right to Gospel ordinances, or things appertaining to the kingdom of God; nor can he be thought to have passed from death to life, and to have entered into an open state of grace, and the kingdom of it; or that living and dying so, he shall ever enter into the kingdom of heaven; for unless a man is regenerated, he is not born heir apparent to it; and without internal holiness, shall not enter into it, enjoy it, or see God.
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