New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Nicodemus.[a] 1 (A)Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.[b] 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”(B) 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born[c] from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”(C) 5 Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.(D) 6 What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.(E) 7 Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind[d] blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”(F) 9 Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? 11 Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.(G) 12 If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?(H) 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.(I) 14 And just as Moses lifted up[e] the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,(J) 15 [f]so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave[g] his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.(K) 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn[h] the world, but that the world might be saved through him.(L) 18 Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.(M) 19 [i]And this is the verdict,(N) that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.(O) 21 But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.(P)
Final Witness of the Baptist. 22 [j]After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing.(Q) 23 John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,[k] because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, 24 [l](R)for John had not yet been imprisoned. 25 Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew[m] about ceremonial washings. 26 So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”(S) 27 John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven.(T) 28 You yourselves can testify that I said [that] I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him.(U) 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man,[n] who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete.(V) 30 He must increase; I must decrease.”(W)
The One from Heaven.[o] 31 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven [is above all].(X) 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.(Y) 33 Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.(Z) 34 For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift[p] of the Spirit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.(AA) 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.(AB)
- 3:1–21 Jesus instructs Nicodemus on the necessity of a new birth from above. This scene in Jerusalem at Passover exemplifies the faith engendered by signs (Jn 2:23). It continues the self-manifestation of Jesus in Jerusalem begun in Jn 2. This is the first of the Johannine discourses, shifting from dialogue to monologue (Jn 3:11–15) to reflection of the evangelist (Jn 3:16–21). The shift from singular through Jn 3:10 to plural in Jn 3:11 may reflect the early church’s controversy with the Jews.
- 3:1 A ruler of the Jews: most likely a member of the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin; see note on Mk 8:31.
- 3:3 Born: see note on Jn 1:13. From above: the Greek adverb anōthen means both “from above” and “again.” Jesus means “from above” (see Jn 3:31) but Nicodemus misunderstands it as “again.” This misunderstanding serves as a springboard for further instruction.
- 3:8 Wind: the Greek word pneuma (as well as the Hebrew rûah) means both “wind” and “spirit.” In the play on the double meaning, “wind” is primary.
- 3:14 Lifted up: in Nm 21:9, Moses simply “mounted” a serpent upon a pole. John here substitutes a verb implying glorification. Jesus, exalted to glory at his cross and resurrection, represents healing for all.
- 3:15 Eternal life: used here for the first time in John, this term stresses quality of life rather than duration.
- 3:16 Gave: as a gift in the incarnation, and also “over to death” in the crucifixion; cf. Rom 8:32.
- 3:17–19 Condemn: the Greek root means both judgment and condemnation. Jesus’ purpose is to save, but his coming provokes judgment; some condemn themselves by turning from the light.
- 3:19 Judgment is not only future but is partially realized here and now.
- 3:22–26 Jesus’ ministry in Judea is only loosely connected with Jn 2:13–3:21; cf. Jn 1:19–36. Perhaps John the Baptist’s further testimony was transposed here to give meaning to “water” in Jn 3:5. Jesus is depicted as baptizing (Jn 3:22); contrast Jn 4:2.
- 3:23 Aenon near Salim: site uncertain, either in the upper Jordan valley or in Samaria.
- 3:24 A remark probably intended to avoid objections based on a chronology like that of the synoptics (Mt 4:12; Mk 1:14).
- 3:25 A Jew: some think Jesus is meant. Many manuscripts read “Jews.”
- 3:29 The best man: literally, “the friend of the groom,” the shoshben of Jewish tradition, who arranged the wedding. Competition between him and the groom would be unthinkable.
- 3:31–36 It is uncertain whether these are words by the Baptist, Jesus, or the evangelist. They are reflections on the two preceding scenes.
- 3:34 His gift: of God or to Jesus, perhaps both. This verse echoes Jn 3:5, 8.
King James Version
3 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
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.
4 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?
5 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 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.
9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.