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John 3 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was one of the Jewish rulers. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. We know that God is with you. If he weren’t, you couldn’t do the signs you are doing.”

Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one can see God’s kingdom unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “They can’t go back inside their mother! They can’t be born a second time!”

Jesus answered, “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one can enter God’s kingdom unless they are born with water and the Holy Spirit. People give birth to people. But the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised when I say, ‘You must all be born again.’ The wind blows where it wants to. You hear the sound it makes. But you can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born with the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus. “Don’t you understand these things? 11 What I’m about to tell you is true. We speak about what we know. We are witnesses about what we have seen. But still you people do not accept what we say. 12 I have spoken to you about earthly things, and you do not believe. So how will you believe if I speak about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven. He is the Son of Man. 14 Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. In the same way, the Son of Man must also be lifted up. 15 Then everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is not judged. But anyone who does not believe is judged already. They have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 Here is the judgment. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light. They loved darkness because what they did was evil. 20 Everyone who does evil deeds hates the light. They will not come into the light. They are afraid that what they do will be seen. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes into the light. They live by the truth with God’s help. They come into the light so that it will be easy to see their good deeds.

John the Baptist Is a Witness About Jesus

22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the countryside of Judea. There he spent some time with them. And he baptized people there. 23 John was also baptizing. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water. People were coming and being baptized. 24 This was before John was put in prison. 25 Some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew began to argue. They argued about special washings to make people “clean.” 26 They came to John and here is what they said to him. “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River is baptizing people. He is the one you told us about. Everyone is going to him.”

27 John replied, “A person can receive only what God gives them from heaven. 28 You yourselves are witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah. I was sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the groom. The friend who helps the groom waits and listens for him. He is full of joy when he hears the groom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become more important. I must become less important.

31 “The one who comes from above is above everything. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks like someone from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above everything. 32 He is a witness to what he has seen and heard. But no one accepts what he says. 33 Anyone who has accepted it has said, ‘Yes. God is truthful.’ 34 The one whom God has sent speaks God’s words. That’s because God gives the Holy Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has put everything into his hands. 36 Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life. Anyone who does not believe in the Son will not have life. God’s anger remains on them.”

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

John 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ The wind[e] 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.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you[f] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[g] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[h]

For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”[j]

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Footnotes:

  1. John 3:2 Greek him
  2. John 3:3 Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above; also verse 7
  3. John 3:6 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit
  4. John 3:7 The Greek for you is plural here
  5. John 3:8 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit
  6. John 3:11 The Greek for you is plural here; also four times in verse 12
  7. John 3:13 Some manuscripts add who is in heaven
  8. John 3:15 Some interpreters hold that the quotation ends at verse 15
  9. John 3:16 Or For this is how God loved the world
  10. John 3:30 Some interpreters hold that the quotation continues through verse 36
English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

John 3 New Living Translation (NLT)

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,[a] you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

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

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.[b] Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.[c] So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man[e] has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.[f]

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[h]

John the Baptist Exalts Jesus

22 Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people.

23 At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. 24 (This was before John was thrown into prison.) 25 A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew[i] over ceremonial cleansing. 26 So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”

27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. 28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ 29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

31 “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.[j] 32 He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! 33 Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. 34 For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. 36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:3 Or born from above; also in 3:7.
  2. 3:5 Or and spirit. The Greek word for Spirit can also be translated wind; see 3:8.
  3. 3:6 Greek what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  4. 3:7 The Greek word for you is plural; also in 3:12.
  5. 3:13 Some manuscripts add who lives in heaven. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  6. 3:15 Or everyone who believes will have eternal life in him.
  7. 3:16 Or For God loved the world so much that he gave.
  8. 3:21 Or can see God at work in what he is doing.
  9. 3:25 Some manuscripts read some Jews.
  10. 3:31 Some manuscripts do not include and is greater than anyone else.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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