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Thursday, November 30th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
John 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "There was a man of the Pharisees," (en de anthropos ek ton Pharisaion) "Now there was a man out of or from among the Pharisees," a popular conservative religious order among the Jews. They were known for their bigotry, hypocrisy, and pride. They loved upper seats at feasts and considered themselves better than others, Matthew 23:5-7; Luke 18:11-12.

2) "Named Nicodemus," (Nickodemus onoma auto) "Who had the name Nicodemus," which means “upright," and literally "conqueror of the people," as a Greek name given to this pious religious ruler, teacher, and master in Israel, John 2:10. He became a disciple of Jesus this night, though he may have been a timid one, John 7:50; John 19:39-42.

3) "A ruler of the Jews:”- (archon ton loudaion) "An administrator or ruler of the Jews," a member of the Sanhedrin council, the Supreme court or council on religious law issues among the Jews; John 7:50-53 de­scribes his defense of Jesus who was being attacked among them. Our Lord healed one of these ruler’s daughter, Matthew 9:18; Matthew 9:23-26; Luke 8:41-42; Luke 8:49-56; Luke 18:18.

Verse 2

1) "The same came to Jesus by night," (houtos elthen pros auton nuktos) "This one came to him (to Jesus) by night," out of darkness of the night, of his own choice, volition, will, and accord, convicted that he needed help from Jesus, the fountain of redemption, knowledge, and wisdom. He came by night from apparent fear of exclusion from the synagogue, and loss of his position of rulership, John 12:42-43; John 9:22.

2) "And said unto him, Rabbi," (kai eipen auto hrabbi) "And addressed him, Rabbi," meaning "respectable teacher," to whom he came for explanations of questions in his own mind, and found that Jesus would not turn an honest inquirer away, without offered help, John 6:37; John 7:17.

3) "We know that thou art a teacher come from God: ­(oidamen hoti apo theou eleluthas didaskalos) "We per­ceive that you are a teacher who has come from God:” The term "we" is believed to be the expressed convictions of the Sanhedrin rulers, as well as that of Nicodemus, though the other rulers did not have the honesty or courage of their convictions to come to Jesus as Nicodemus did.

4) "For no man can do these miracles that thou doest," (oudeis gar dunatai tauta ta semeia poiein ha su poieis) "Because no one is able (or enabled) to do the miracles which you do repeatedly;- Nicodemus thus confirmed his belief that the miracles Jesus performed, verified or authenticated His Divinity, His mission from God to man­kind, as also affirmed, John 20:30-31.

5) "Except God be with him." (ean me e ho theos met’ autou) "If God does not exist with him," or unless God empowers Him to do the miracles. It appears that Nicode­mus even felt that Jesus was the Messiah, more than just a true teacher come from God, John 3:17; Acts 10:38.

Note that the miracles that Jesus did were a physical and visual kind of evidence that the ministry of Jesus was not a fake, or a matter that could be ignored, even by the Sanhedrin rulers of Israel, John 9:16; John 9:33; Acts 2:22; John 10:25; John 10:38; John 15:24.

Verse 3

1) "Jesus answered and said unto him," (apekrithe lesous kai eipen auto) "Jesus replied, and said to him, directly, personally.

2) "Verily, verily, I say unto thee," (amen, amen, lego soil "Very truly I tell you," personally and truthfully, as a person accountable to God (first), for the destiny of your own souls, Romans 2:1; Romans 14:11-12.

3) "Except a man be born again," (ean me tis gennethe anothen) "Except anyone (or unless anyone) is born from above," born anew, receives a new nature, a Divine nature, "Born of God," John 1:13. (This Divine birth certifies one as a "new creature," Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10, James 1:18; 1 John 5:1.

4) "He cannot see the kingdom of God." (ou dunatai idein ten basileian tou theou) "He is not able to see the kingdom of God," he cannot, is not dynamic enough to perceive the Spiritual domain of God. Their minds are darkened with ignorance, Ephesians 4:18. You see, Nicodemus was talking about "learning," while Jesus spoke of Divine living and Divine wisdom, that must be prefixed by fear of God, and trust in Jesus Christ, Proverbs 1:7; John 8:24. Perceiving spiritual matters of depth is possible only fol­lowing salvation or reception of a new Divine nature, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Verse 4

1) "Nicodemus saith unto him," (legei pros auton ho Nikodemus) "Nicodemus asked him pointedly," directly, in honest sincerity, desiring to know and to follow His word and will, John 7:17.

2) "How can a man be born when he is old?" (pos dunatai anthropos gennethenai geron on) "How is a human being able to be born when he is already old?" He should not have been ignorant of this matter, as John the Baptist had plainly told them that simply, being the off­spring of Abraham, and following the ceremonies of Moses’ Law, would not prepare them to meet God, Matthew 3:7-12; Mr 7 1-11.

3) "Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb," (me dunatai eis ten loilian tes metros autou deuteron eiselthesin) "He is not able to enter into the womb of his mother for a second time;- The natural birth has its origin from the womb, of the mother, from the embryonic fluid sac; It is referred to as the "water birth." Our Lord, as Nicodemus mistakenly presumed, was not speaking of this kind or nature, or source, of rebirth.

4) "And be born?" (kai gennethenai) "And be born, is he?" The method of a new birth was ill perceived by Nicodemus, an apparent misconception, so similar to so many of the unsaved world. Men think it may yet occur by the natural process of morality, baptism, church member­ship, good works, of the natural man, of the flesh; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5. To suppose or hope that one may be saved or born again by any means other than the instan­taneous quickening birth of the Holy Spirit, is to suppose or hope in vain, John 6:63.

Verse 5

1) "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee," (apekrithe lesous amen lego soi) "Jesus replied, truly, truly I tell you," personally, and as an individual.

2) "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit," (ean me tis gennethe eks hudatos kai pneumatos) "Unless anyone is born of water and spirit;" This alludes to two births: First, there is the birth from the mother’s womb, the natural birth, referred to in medical terms as, the “water birth," by which the natural man or the old man is born; Second, there is the birth, begettal, or quickening by the spirit, referred to as the "new birth," birth from above, when man’s spirit is quickened by God’s Spirit, by which one becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus and a child of God, fit to enter the kingdom of God, and then by baptism into the church, John 6:63; 1 John 5:1; Galatians 3:26-27.

3) "He cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (ou dunatai eiselthein eis ten basileian tou theou) "He is not able to enter into the spiritual domain of God," to enter into the Holy presence, domain, and jurisdiction of God. One can neither enter into heaven, where He resides and presides over the affairs of His universe, until and unless he is born again, born from above, born of the Spirit, or has another birth nature (of Spirit kind) different from the natural, fleshly, or water birth, the first birth nature, 1 Timothy 3:15; Matthew 28:18-20.

One’s genealogy must be Divinely established for him to worship God in holiness, in spirit and in truth, John 4:24. Those born of the flesh, without the new birth, the birth from above, have an unholy genealogy, a depraved spiritual nature only, and are by nature "children of wrath," Ephesians 2:3; who can not enter heaven, the kingdom of God, in its spiritual sphere, until and unless they are born of the spirit, their spirit is born of God’s spirit, through faith in Christ Jesus. By this birth one may become a new creature, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, John 6:63; 1 John 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:8-10.

Verse 6

1) "That which is born of the flesh is flesh;”- (to gegennemenon ek tes sarkos sarks estin) "The one that has been born out of the flesh, (flesh nature) flesh or carnal is," by its nature of existence, and is called a child of wrath, Ephesians 2:3; John 1:13. Like begets like, only the spirit can create a new spirit nature in man, see? Romans 8:2; Romans 8:5; Romans 8:9.

2) "And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," (kai to gennennemenon ek tou pneumatos pneuma estin) "And that which has been born out of the spirit is spirit," in holy nature of existence. Man’s depraved spirit is begotten, quickened, or made anew, from above, by God’s Spirit when he believes, by the conviction of that Spirit, that he is lost, condemned, and that Jesus Christ died for him and will save him, John 1:11-12; John 3:16; John 3:18. He is, at the point of faith in Jesus Christ, born from above, of the Spirit, and becomes a new creature in Jesus Christ, created in Him, by the Spirit, unto, not "by" good works, Ephesians 2:8-16.

Verse 7

1) "Marvel not that I said unto thee,’’ (me thaumases hoti eipon soi) "Do not be astonished, stunned, or amazed because I said to you," because I know you are an honest and earnest inquirer, John 7:17.

2) "Ye must be born again." (dei humas gennethenai anothen) "You all must be born from above," by a superior power and supernatural nature, by the quickening spirit, John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6. Not by good works, not by reformation, not by or through baptism, not by church mem­bership, etc. You see, Nicodemus and the Pharisees had tried all these kind of things, like many today, in vain; For salvation is not of works, Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5-6; Romans 11:6. Some hold that the phrase "born of water" refers to the water of artesian flow, the water of the Spirit, as used John 7:37-39. Yet the Holy Spirit, not water baptism, is the means of the new birth.

Verse 8

1) "The wind bloweth where it listeth," (to pneuma hopou thelei pnei) "The spirit (wind) blows where it wishes," or where it likes; though it is invisible, it is real, operating, ever active for the life and good of every living creature in the universe.

2) "And thou hearest the sound thereof," (kai ten phonen autou akoueis) "And you hear the sound of it," have audible as well as sensory evidence of its existence and presence, from the gentle breeze to its cyclone, tornado, or hurricane force and sound.

3) "But canst not tell whence it cometh," (all’ ouk oidas pothen erchetai) "But you do not perceive or comprehend from where it comes," of its own accord, if in silent form, or gale force and sound. Its origin or source has a mystifying influence on all.

4) "And whither it goeth:”- (kai pou hupagei) "And where it goes," when it lays, becomes silent, yet present.

5) "So is every one that is born of the Spirit.’’ (houtos estin pas ho gegennemenos ek tou pneumatos) "Similar to, or like this, is everyone who has been and is born of the Spirit." A natural mother, as a Christian woman, can not and does not give birth to a Christian baby or child. All in­fants are born of the flesh, with the inherent, sinful nature of the flesh nature of the parent, Psalms 51:5; Psalms 58:3; James 1:15; Ephesians 2:3.

This is why every person of responsible age mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, must be born again to enter heaven. The birth of the Spirit, like the blowing of the wind, is of supernatural power, supernatural conviction, and supernatural quickening. Though it is mysterious, as the blowing of the wind, it is real, John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 8:2-3; Romans 8:9; Ecclesiastes 11:5.

Verse 9

1) "Nicodemus answered and said unto him," (apekrithe Nikodemus kai eipen auto) "Nicodemus responded, and said, inquired to him," for further information and clarification. Though one does not understand: 1) body development of the infant in the womb, a mysterious reality, Ecclesiastes 11:5, or 2)the way of the wind’s blowing, John 2:8, yet the Spirit is just as real, and pre­sent, in the new birth, or in regeneration.

2) "How can these things be?" (pos dunatai tauta genesthai) "How is it possible for these kind of things to come to be?" or to come to exist. Nicodemus asked the "how" question of the new birth, much as Mary asked the "how" question regarding the natural or biological begettal of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. In each instance, it was and is the quickening of the Holy Spirit from above, not by natural force from below, by which each occurred, Luke 1:34-35, John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6.

Verse 10

1 ) "Jesus answered and said unto him," (apekrithe, lesous kai eipen auto) "Jesus replied, and asked him pointedly," to bring a sense of conscious guilt and convic­tion upon him, because he had sought to save himself in vain, through good works and religious rites of the law, Romans 10:1-4.

2) "Art thou a master of Israel,"(su ei ho didaskalos tou Israel) "Are you the teacher of Israel," of God’s people, as well as a religious ruler, a Sanhedrin who sits and gives judgement on matters of adjudication of the Law of Moses, and he was, John 2:1.

3) "And knowest not these things?" (kai tauta ou ginoskeis) "And do not even know these things at all, the elemental, yet fundamental way and truths of salvation and regeneration? He was just this blind, this ignorant, of the way to God, Colossians 4:3-4; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 10:1-4.

Let it be observed that just as Phariseeism and Saddu­ceeism, though different, both sought salvation by good works, reformation, ceremonialism, and synagogue membership; So do more than one half of Christian denominations today.

Verse 11

1) "Verily, verily, I say unto thee," (amen, amen lego soi) "Truly, truly, I tell you," plainly, unmistakably.

2) "We speak that we know," (hoti ho oidamen laloumen) "We speak forth what we know or clearly perceive;- The "we" refers to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who too is endowed with the capacity "to speak," Acts 2:4; Hebrews 3:7; Revelation 22:17, what each knows of a certainty, 1 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 8:26-27.

3) "And testify that we have seen;”- (kai ho heoralkamen marturoumen) "And we witness what we have seen," very plainly, as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s existence in creation, and in quickening the unsaved to salvation, and in the fruit of the Spirit, Genesis 1:2; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Malachi 2:15; John 6:63; Acts 10:44; Acts 11:15; Acts 15:8; Matthew 7:20.

4) "And ye receive not our witness."(kai ten marturian hemon ou lambanete) "And you the Pharisees and Sanhedrin) receive not our testimony," or witness, which Jesus and His apostles gave by the Holy Spirit, in word and miraculous works, John 1:11-13; John 20:30-31; Luke 10:18­,20; Hebrews 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6.

Verse 12

1) "If I have told you earthly things,” (ei ta epigeia eipon humin) "If I told you (about) earthly things," and He had, in simple language, regarding the natural birth, and the way of the wind, John 2:4-9.

2) "And ye believe not," (kai ou pisteuete) "And you all do not believe," or do not trust in me, from the things I have said, and the miracles I have performed, to render you "without excuse," John 1:11-12; John 2:16; John 2:23; Romans 2:1.

3) "How shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" (pos ean eipo humin ta epourania pisteuete) "How shall you (be any more likely to) believe, if I tell or explain to you heavenly things?" things of heavenly nature, and the "mystery of Godliness," 1 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:16.

Verse 13

1) "And no man hath ascended up to heaven," (kai oudeis anabebeken eis ton ouranon) "And no one has gone up into the((upper) heaven, "to see and comprehend heavenly things, in a full way. Even on earth, it is not easy for people in torrid zones to understand what is at the north pole, Isaiah 55:8-9.

2) "But he that cometh down from heaven," (ei me ek tou ouranou katabas) "Except the one who came down out of and away from that heaven," to tell and reveal to men what we could not otherwise know of God and heaven, John 1:18; John 14:9; Hebrews 1:1-3.

3) "Even the Son of man which is in heaven." (ho huios tou anthropou) "That one is the Son of man," the redeeming Messiah, the heir-redeemer of man, who is now in heaven, at the Father’s right hand, Ephesians 4:9-10; John 14:1-3; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 1:3.



Of how many things is it true that their power is only seen in the effects they produce? "Can we see the dew of heaven as it falls on the summer’s evening? But go forth next morning, and you behold every plant sparkling with the dewdrop. Can you see the head of the sower when you go forth in the fields in July and August? No, but yet you do not suppose the harvest came spontaneously; you are consciously, by the fact produced, that the sower’s hand has been there. Or, can you see the magnetic fluid on the needle of the compass? No, but you know it is there, for the hands move steadily on. That the Spirit should dwell in the temple, and His light not shine through the windows of daily life and duty, is an impossibility.’’

Verse 14

1) "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," (kai kathos Mouses hupsosen ton ophin en te eremo) "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, or uninhabited area" to be seen, beheld by all who were bitten by the venomous serpents, a type of man’s snake bite of inherent sin that causes his spiritual death or alienation from God; All that were bitten, who obeyed by looking up to the serpent, were healed, Numbers 21:8-9; 2 Kings 18:4.

2) "Even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”- (houtos hupsothenai dei ton huion tou anthropou) "Even so it behooves (is necessary that) the Son of man (heir redeemer of mankind) be lifted up," or in a "like or similar manner" must the Son of man be lifted up, to make the cross His throne, from which He would obtain remittal of the venom of sin from the souls of all who look to Him for life, from eternal death.

Nicodemus was a disciple of Moses and understood this illustration that pointed to the crucifixion of Jesus, John 12:32-33; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24.

Verse 15

1) "That whosoever believeth in him," (hina pas ho pisteuon en autou) "In order that everyone believing in him;- The serpent was lifted up for Jews only, but Jesus was lifted up for the sins of the whole world, including all men, and excluding none, who will believe or trust in Him, as the Savior or Redeemer, Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 53:4-6; John 3:17-18; John 5:24; 1 John 5:11; Revelation 22:17.

2) “Should not perish," (me apoletai) "May not perish," as the inescapable consequence of sin in every person, except or unless he receives Jesus Christ as his antidote, redeemer from the venom of sin in his soul, Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; John 8:24; To perish means to come to damnation in hell forever, as the rich man did, Luke 16:19-31.

3) "But have eternal life." (eche zoen aionion) "May have hold or possess eternal life," life without end or cessation, in harmony with the nature of Jesus Christ, the giver of eternal life to everyone who believes in Him, John 10:27-28; 1 John 5:13. It comes to every believer by belief, by faith placed in Jesus Christ, not by or through baptism, church membership, reformation or good works, as espoused by so many heretical Protestant sects and Roman Catholicism, John 1:11-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 3:26; Titus 3:5.

Verse 16

1) "For God so loved the world," (houtos gar egapesen ho theos ton kosmon) "Because God thus (just like this) loved the world (the created universe);" After this manner or to this degree, that He "was in Christ," reconciling the world unto Himself, 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:4-7.

2) "That he gave his only begotten Son," (hoste ton huion ton monogene edoken) "So as(to the extent that) he gave his only begotten Son or heir," John 1:18; John 3:17-18; Galatians 4:4-5. As the virgin born Son of God He came; As the seed of woman He came; As the mystery of godliness He came; As the gift of God He came; As an expression of God’s love for the perishing souls of all men He came, not for the Jews only, Acts 10:34-35; Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:21-23; Genesis 3:15; The Gk. term "monogene" is a compound word meaning specifically, exclusively, restrictively, and definitively, "only begotten," as the pro­phesied Word foretold and affirms repeatedly.

3) "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish," (hina pas ho pisteuon eis auton me apoletai) ’’In order that everyone trusting in (into) him may not perish; ­This is a purpose clause, specifically setting forth the intent and purpose for which God gave His only begotten Son, not one out of many. Negatively, it is asserted that it was in order that one might not perish, be damned, be forever lost, separated from God in hell, where the wicked shall be forever cast, Psalms 9:17, be they Jews or Gentiles, Kings or paupers, presidents or dictators, or simple unbe­lievers, Luke 13:3; John 8:24; Revelation 21:8.

4) "But have everlasting life." (all’ eche zoen aiounion) "But (in contrast) that each one may have, hold, or possess eternal life," through believing in (Gk. eis) into Him, not believing in His church, or good works, or reformation, not even believing in Baptist, none of which can any more save or help save one from hell than the rites, cere­monies, and rituals and traditions of the elders of Moses’ Law could save the Pharisees and Sadducees from hell; Though they vainly trusted them, instead of trusting or believing in Jesus Christ, as their Savior, Matthew 5:20; Romans 10:1-4. The believer receives everlasting life, John 5:24; John 10:27-28; 1 John 5:13. The unbeliever is condemned, John 3:18; John 3:36; John 8:24.

Verse 17

1) "For God sent not his Son into the world,’’ (ou gar apesteilen ho theos ton huion eis ton kosmon) "For God did not commission his Son into the world (created uni­verse)," with a condemning mandate.

2) "To condemn the world," (hina krine ton kosmon) "in order that he might judge the world," the world order. For He is holy and just and merciful. The world was under sin and condemned, perishing, already; He sent Him, not to destroy, but to save, Luke 9:56; 1 John 5:19; John 8:11.

3) "But that the world through him might be saved." (all’ hina sothe ho kosmos di autou) "But in order that the world order or the universe might be saved through him," Luke 19:10; John 1:11-12; John 10:10; John 12:47; Romans 1:16.

Verse 18

1 ) "He that believeth on him is not condemned," (ho pisteuon eis auton ou krinetai) "The one who trusts in him is not condemned or judged," is not under sentence, awaiting execution. He has been acquitted of all condem­natory charges who trusts in Jesus Christ; Nor shall the believer ever be condemned in the same manner again, John 5:24; Romans 3:24-25; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:5. There exists no condem­nation to the one who trusts in Him, and Him alone, for redemption, Romans 8:1-39; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:8-10.

2) "But he that believeth not is condemned already," (ho me pisteuon ede kekritai) "The one who does not be­lieve (in him) has already been judged," as a lost, perishing, condemned sinner, a child of wrath, having no hope and without God in the world, John 2:15-16; Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; Luke 19:10; Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:18.

3) "Because he hath not believed," (hoti me pepisteuken) "Because he has not believed or trusted," John 8:24. He has not acknowledged that he is a lost, peri­shing, condemned criminal against an holy God and His Divine law, or believed that Jesus as God’s holy Son died for his personal redemption, Romans 1:16; Romans 14:11-12; Luke 13:3.

4) "In the name of the only begotten Son of God." (eis to tou monogenous hiou tou theou) "Into the name of the only begotten Son or heir-redeemer of God," John 1:14; John 1:18; John 3:16; John 3:18; Galatians 4:4-5. There is salvation in none other name, Acts 4:12; Colossians 3:17.

Verse 19

1) "And this is the condemnation," (aute de estin he krisis) "And this is (exists as the essence of) the judgement;- This is the occasion and real cause of con­demnation. It is not only the nature and love for sin in man but also practice of sin and rejection of Jesus Christ that brings it.

2) "That light is come into the world," (hoti to phos eleluthen eis ton kosmon) "That the light has come into the world," the true light, Jesus Christ has come, John 1:7; John 8; John 12. The condemnation is further justified on the grounds that Jesus came to exhibit or disclose the holi­ness, love, mercy, and compassion of the Father, so that man’s sin is no longer simply of an inherent nature or of ignorance of sin, but also by act of deliberate choice and preference, John 5:43.

3) "And men loved darkness rather than light," (kai agapesan hoi anthropoi mallon to skotos e to phos) "And men loved the darkness rather than the light," the light-­giving one; they deliberately chose darkness, the ways of darkness; By their own volition they pursued sin and anarchy against God, His Son, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, John 1:11-12; John 12:48 asserts that to reject Jesus is to reject the Father and all holiness, Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 21:42.

4) "Because their deeds were evil." (en gar auton ponera ta erga) "Because their works were wicked," in anarchy against God; Their works were pursued from a maliciously wicked and untamable heart, a forward and covetous, obstinate and rebellious choice of deliberate disregard for the claims of Christ upon them. As bugs and bats and snakes and snails and slimy creatures, reptiles of the lowest order of earth-life love darkness, so do all men with an inherent, depraved nature of anarchy against God and holiness; Their deeds are evil, first because their nature is evil, and second, because they deliberately choose to do evil, rather than acknowledge it, repent of their deeds, and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:18-19; Mark 7:21; Psalms 51:5; Psalms 58:3; 1 Kings 8:46; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23.

Verse 20

1) "For every one that doeth evil," (pas gar ho phaula prasson) "For everyone repeatedly practicing foul things," and everyone does, 1 Kings 8:46; Psalms 14:2-3: Romans 3:9-23; Isaiah 53:3-6.

2) "Hateth the light," (misei to phos) "Hates the light,’’ because it reveals the deformity of sin. He hates the true light, takes Him lightly, and through a knowledge of sin, shame and guilt from sin, and fear of the consequences of sin, they flee and try to hide from it, like bugs, and bats, and snakes, and snails, and slimy creatures of the reptile order of earth’s living creatures, John 5:43.

3) "Neither cometh to the light," (kai ouk erchetai pros to phos) "And does not come of his own will or choice to the light;- Adam and Eve did not, Cain did not, and Peter did not, until the Lord took the initiative and called them to account for their deeds, from which they were hiding and running with guilt, and shame, and fear, Genesis 3:7-11; Genesis 4:8­14; Matthew 26:69-75. None comes to the Father except he be drawn; But he is responsible, and without excuse; They may then be saved, as Paul was, or lost as others who heard the same words of Stephen, Acts 7:51-54; Acts 9:3-6; Romans 2:1; Romans 14:11-12.

4) "Lest his deeds should be reproved." (hina me elegchthe ta erga autou) "In order that his works may not be reproved;" That is, if he should come to the Light, the Christ, with his sins, they would be reproved, yet pardoned, forgiven, and remitted upon his confession; As Paul did, as the prodigal son did, and as the Publican did, Acts 9:3-6; Luke 15:11-32; Luke 18:9-14.

Verse 21

1) "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light," (ho de poion ten aletheian erchetai pros to phos) "Yet the one who repeatedly does the truth (wholesome things) comes of his own volition to the light," responds to God’s call: 1 ) To hear His Word, Luke 14:35; Romans 10:17; Acts 3:22-23; Acts 2) To repent of sins is to come to or approach the light, Mark 1:15 b; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 3) To believe on Jesus Christ as the Savior is to come to the light, Acts 16:31; John 1:7.

2) "That his deeds may be made manifest," (hina phanerothe autou ta erga) "In order that his works maybe manifested," openly recognized, confessed, pardoned, and forgiven, Isaiah 55:6-7; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:8-9; Matthew 5:15-16; 2 Peter 1:4-9; Galatians 5:22-25.

3) "That they are wrought in God." (hoti en theo estin eirgasmena) "That they have been wrought or done in God," or in the sphere of God’s will and standard of conduct. When the sinner hears, repents, and believes he is coming to Jesus, by the convincing and drawing of the Holy Spirit; In all these God takes the initiative, yet man must respond by his own volition and will to be pardoned, cleansed, and saved, John 7:17, and to follow the Light of God’s will in service, Ephesians 2:10; James 1:22; John 14:15; John 15:14.

Verse 22


1) "After these things came Jesus," (meta tauta elthen ho lesous) "After these things Jesus came," by choice, His own will and purpose, in doing the Father’s will and work, John 5:30; John 6:38; John 17:4.

2) "And his disciples into the land of Judea;”- (kai hoi mathetai auto eis loudaian gen) "And his disciples into the land area of Judea;- It was His company of witnessing church disciples that was with and following Him into the Eastern Judea area, East of Jerusalem. He had called and chosen them as a witnessing agency, later to be empowered of the Holy Spirit, for a world-wide and age-­long mandate or mission for Him, John 15:16; John 15:26; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:20-22; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15.

3) "And there he tarried with them, and baptized." (kai ekei dietriben met’ auton kai ebaptizen) "And out there he continued with them and baptized," making and baptizing more disciples than John the Baptist; John 4:1-2, declares that He made and baptized, not baptized and made. The order is salvation first, then identification second, Salva­tion precedes acceptable or scriptural baptism by immersion in water. This is God’s order! Matthew 28:18-20; It is the saved, the justified by faith, the one who has peace with God by Faith in Christ Jesus, whom John the Baptist baptized, whom Jesus baptized, and whom His church baptized, Matthew 3:1-8; Acts 19:4; John 4:1-2; Acts 2:41-46; Romans 4:5; Romans 5:7; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 2:10.

Verse 23

1) "And John also was baptizing in Aenon," (en de kai loannes baptizon en Ainon) "Then was John also baptizing in Ainon," in preparing a people for Jesus, as God had sent him to do, Matthew 3:1-7; John 1:30-33. The term Aenon comes from the Hebrew word "Agin" and means "fountain." It was located in Samaria some 53 miles NE of Jerusalem.

2) "Near to Salem," (engus tou Salim) "Near (the village of Salim," located in Northern Samaria, West of the Jordan River, 8 miles South of Scythopolis, according to Eusebius.

3) "Because there was much water there:”- (hoti hudata polla en ekei) "Because out there in that area of Judea, was much water," or literally many waters, many small bodies of water, small tributaries to the Jordan, so that even in summer there was sufficient water to administer baptism by immersion or burial, which both John and Jesus practiced exclusively, Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12.

4) "And they came and were baptized." (kai pareginoto kai ebaptizonto) "And they (of that area) came and were baptized," from many localities round about. Matthew 3:5-7; Mark 1:1-8 declares that the people were "all baptized (immersed) of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins." Both John The Baptist and Jesus baptized by immersing people in water upon their repentance, faith in Jesus, and confession of their sins to God, Matthew 3:7; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Acts 19:4.

Verse 24

1) "For John was not yet," (oupo gar en loannes) "Because John was not yet," at this time, implying that he was shortly thereafter, Matthew 14:3. John, the writer of this gospel, who had been with Jesus through all this period, seems to give a chronological sequence of events.

2) "Cast into prison." (beblemenos eis ten phulaken) "Having been thrown into prison," at the hand of Herod, because of anger and malice of Herod’s adulterous wife, whom John the Baptist had offended, as recounted Matthew 6:17-29; Luke 9:7-9.

Verse 25

1) "Then there arose a question," (egeneto oun zetesis) "There therefore came to be a questioning,’’ there developed an inquiry.

2) "Between John’s disciples and the Jews," (ek ton matheton loannou meta loudaiou) "Among the disciples of John with a Jew," of the Mosaic law order of worshippers, who held to the law order ceremonies of purifying, rejecting the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus, and their baptism as a symbol of a new beginning, John 5:43; Ac 194; Galatians 3:26-27; 1 Peter 3:21.

3) "About purifying." (peri katharismou) "Concerning purifying," according to the Jewish order, and apparently he was attempting to find some place to add this baptism of John the Baptist, Jesus, and His church disciples, to their Jewish list of legal and traditional ceremonies of outward cleansing, or hygienic purification. He also seemed to be confused in thinking that the two baptisms (of John and Jesus) were different, not realizing that both were of heaven’s mandate, and only one baptism; That was to identify the baptismal candidate himself to follow Jesus, not Moses, in His New Covenant church order of fellowship, worship, and service, John 5:16; John 5:26; Matthew 5:15-16; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:20-23; Acts 2:1-4; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 3:15.

Verse 26

1) "And they came unto John," (kai elthon pros ton loannen) "And they (the disciples) came to John," those he had baptized and who were still following him-

2) "And said unto him, Rabbi," (kai eipan auto hrabbi) "And said to him, Rabbi," meaning "teacher" or instructor, or guide; Used among the Jews "Rab" meant master; "Rabbi" my master, or our Master, and "Rabboni" meant my lord, and master of the highest order, a title of respect in spiritual or religious matters especially, Matthew 23:7-8; John 1:38; John 1:49; John 3:2; John 3:26; John 6:25; John 20:16.

3) "He that was with thee beyond Jordan," (hos en meta sou peran tou lordanou) "The one who was with you beyond the Jordan," whom John had baptized, upon whom a I so the Holy Ghost had comedown like a dove and lighted, at which time God the Father spoke from heaven, claiming Him as His own Son, Matthew 3:16.

4) "To whom thou bearest witness," (ho su memarturekas) "To whom you have borne (given) witness," both to a delegation of Jews from Jerusalem, and to many people, as he preached and baptized, John 1:18-37.

5) "Behold, the same baptizeth and all men come to him," (ide -houtos baptizei kai pantes erchontai pros auton) "Behold or take note, if you will, this one baptizes and all men (the masses) are coming to him, of their own volition or choice." The idea is that they were turning from John the Baptist, to follow Jesus Christ, a thing John came to prepare them to do, see? John 1:35-37; Matthew 3:1-3; Such was prophesied, Psalms 65:2, Isaiah 45:23. John, by Divine mandate, prepared a people for Jesus’ name’s sake, whom Jesus called and chose in instituting and constituting His New Covenant church, called "My church," Matthew 16:18; "The Light of the world, and Salt of the earth," Matthew 5:13-16; His "House," Mark 13:34-35; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:1-6; and the "Kingdom of heaven," Matthew 13:1-58; John 15:16; John 15:26; John 20:21; Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 15:14-15.

Verse 27

1) "John answered and said," (apekrithe loannes kai eipen) "John answered (them) and said directly to them," in response to their report on what Jesus was doing beyond Jordan, that seemed to disturb or confuse them yet, John 3:26; John 4:1-2.

2) ’’A man can receive nothing," (ou dunatai anthropos lambanein ouden) "A man is not able to receive anything,’’ or is capable of receiving nothing at all, neither a work to do, nor results in doing it, as He is doing, 1 Corinthians 2:12-14; 1 John 2:5, James 1:17.

3) "Except it be given him from heaven." (ean me e dedomenon auto ek tou ouranou) "Unless it has been given (or doled out) to him from heaven," as the work Jesus was given Him to do by His Father in Heaven, John 4:34; John 17:4-6; John 19:30; Psalms 40:8; John 3:17. Therefore John was content in the will of God, to conclude his ministry by seeing Jesus baptize, and gather His church from those whom John had first baptized, Acts 1:21-22; Acts 15:13-15.

Verse 28

1) "Ye yourselves bear me witness," (autoi humeis moi martureite) "You all (as my disciples) bear witness to me;) You can certify, truthfully give evidence, regarding Jesus Christ, the anointed Messiah of whom I spoke, Matthew 3:11-12. You therefore should be no more surprised than I am that He is baptizing, and assembling a chosen company of followers, as His church, see? Luke 1:17.

2) "That I said, I am not the Christ," (hoti eipen ouk eimi ego ho Christos) "That I told you am not the Christ," the Messiah, John 1:6-8; John 1:20; John 1:22-37; Mark 1:6-8.

3) "But that I am sent before him." (all’ hoti apestalmenos eimi emprosthen ekeinou) "But that I exist as the one having been sent (commissioned or mandated) before that one," Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1. Before that one who is the Messiah, Matthew 3:1-3; John 1:15; John 1:19; John 1:23; John 1:26; John 1:29-34. John had witnessed that Jesus was: 1) The Word, 2) The Light, 3) The Christ, 4) The Lamb of God, and 5)The Bride­groom, John 1:9; John 1:14; John 1:25; John 1:27; John 1:29; John 3:29-30.

Verse 29

1) "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom:" (ho echon ten numphen numphios estin) "The one (now) having, holding, or possessing the bride is (exists as) the bridegroom," right now, at this time. The term "bride-like the term "Light of the Word," "Salt of the earth," "House of God, or house that Jesus built," and "the kingdom of heaven," refers to the church that Jesus built, established, or instituted, and later purchased with His own blood, Matthew 22:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:7­9; 21:9.

2) "But the friend of the bridegroom;" (ho de philos tou numphiou) "Yet the friend of the bridegroom;- John the Baptist was that friend of our Lord, who had Himself already called out, chosen, selected His bride (His church), to bear His message. It was and is and shall always be made up exclusively, specifically, restrictedly, and definitively, only of children of God, saved people who have been scripturally baptized and entered in covenant with others of like kind, and faith, to carry on a program of worship and work, after the order that Jesus ordained, Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:21-27; 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Revelation 21:9.

3) "Which standeth and heareth him," (ho hestekos kai akouon philos tou numphiou) "The one standing and hearing of him," of the bridegroom, who "has the bride," which He had from His early Galileean ministry, Matthew 4:13­17, 18-22; John 15:16; John 15:26; Acts 1:8-11; Acts 1:21-22; Acts 10:37; Acts 15:13-15.

4) "Rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice:”- (chara chairei dia ten phonen tou numphiou) "Re­joices with joy on account of the voice (testimony) of the bridegroom;" Jesus was the bridegroom; John was the rejoicing friend of the bridegroom; The church was then the bride, is, and will always be the bride of Christ, with a special relationship of service, honor, and rewards awaiting her, different from and beyond that of the saved of this and other ages, who have become His children, but not identified in His church worship and service, Ephesians 3:21; Luke 22:28-30.

5) "This my joy therefore is fulfilled." (aute oun he chara he eme peplerotai) "Therefore this joy of me has been fulfilled." Or the object of my joy has come, in the bridegroom, who now has gathered and is gathering His bride. The term church, or the bride, never refers to the sum total of the saved, either in the past, the present, or any future age, in the opinion of this writer. As both Israel and the church have special and separate positions of honor, service, and glory to receive and give to God in the millennial age; So shall such continue thereafter, Ephesians 3:21; Revelation 22:1-21

Verse 30

1) "He must increase," (ekeinon die auksanein) "That one must increase," in His labors, influence, testimony, and works, doing what the Father had sent (mandated) Him to do, John 3:17; Luke 19:10; John 4:34; John 17:4. John’s morning Star led to the Sun of righteousness.

2) "But I must decrease." (eme de elattousthai) "How­ever I must decrease," in influence, public labors, and foretelling the coming of the Savior; For John now recog­nized and had announced His presence, John 1:29-37.

Verse 31

1) "He that cometh from above is above all:- (ho anothen erchomenos epano panton estin) "The one coming of his own accord, from above, is over, superior to, all," He is greater than Solomon, Jonah, the prophets (including John), and greater than Moses, so that the "house that He built," is declared to be "better" or greater than that one Moses built, Hebrews 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:15; Matthew 12:6; Matthew 12:41-42.

2) "He that is of the earth is earthly," (ho on ek tes ges ek tes ges estin) "The one existing out of the earth, out of the earth he is, or exists," according to the earthly order of nature. Depraved, natural born men, can not rise above the fountain nature of their origin. Their sinful deeds are fruits of their sinful nature, Psalms 1:5; Psalms 58:3; Jeremiah 9:17; Romans 3:8-21; James 1:15.

3) "And speaketh of the earth:”- (kai ek tes ges lalei) "And he speaks out of the earth," or he speaks out of and from the earth order of the depraved heart, except he be born again, Ephesians 2:3; Matthew 15:18-19; Mark 7:21; Ephesians 4:29.

4) "He that cometh from heaven is above all." (ho ek tou ouranou erchomenos epano panton estin) "The one who is come to be out of and away from heaven he is over all," and above all persons and things upon the earth or in the universe; He had a supernatural or miraculous birth, lived a supernatural life, performed supernatural or miraculous deeds, came forth in a supernatural resurrection, had a supernatural ascension into heaven, now makes a supernatural intercession (for His own) and will one day make a supernatural appearance for His own, Acts 1:10-11; John 14:3; Hebrews 10:36-37; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Verse 32

1) "And what he hath seen and heard," (ho heoraken kai ekousen) "What he has seen and heard," in and from heaven, from where He has come down. Seeing and hearing constitute reliable testimony evidence, experi­mental knowledge of a nature that Jesus brought from His Father in heaven, 2 Corinthians 8:9, John 17:4.

2) ’’That he testifieth;”- (touto marturei) "To this he testifies," bears witness. More than twenty times the phrase "He that sent me," and "the Father that sent me," occurs in this gospel alone, John 4:34; John 8:26; John 8:28; John 15:5; John 15:15.

3) "And no man receiveth his testimony." (kai ten marturian autou oudeis lambanei) "And yet the witness or testimony of him not one receives," no one compara­tively speaking, or was receiving at that particular time --a drought of response had then fallen; No man then responded to the testimony of Jesus. This does not mean that He had been universally rejected, though "His own re­ceived Him not," John 1:11.

Verse 33

1) "He that hath received his testimony," (ho labon autou ten marturian)"The one who is receiving, or has re­ceived his witness," as the Savior, the Messiah, John 1:11-12.

2) "Hath set to his seal that God is true." (esphragisen hoti ho theos alethes estin) "He has sealed that God is true," has given his approval, certified, endorsement, or confirmation, by his change of life, and his testimony that God is true, genuine, or real, John 1:11-12; 1 John 5:10. To set one’s seal is compared with affixing a notary seal, or a state seal, attesting the accuracy of a claim, backed by the character, name, power, and assets of the witness, Isaiah 55:4; Isaiah 55:11.

Verse 34

1) "For he whom God hath sent," (hon gar apesteilen ho theos) "For he whom God mandated or commis­sioned," John 3:17; John 4:34; John 7:16; Galatians 4:4-5.

2) "Speaketh the words of God;"- (ta hremata tou theou lalei) "He speaks the word (message) of God," repeatedly, continually, saying and doing the things that pleased His Father, John 8:29.

3) "For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (ou gar ek metrou didosin to pneuma) "For he does not give (or dole out) the Spirit by measure," in limited or re­stricted manner, John 1:16; Colossians 1:19. Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit, and raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit, not by a part or fragment of the Holy Spirit. One receives the same Holy Spirit when he is saved, but the Holy Spirit or Christ does not receive the surrender of all of man’s life and will when he is saved. See Matthew 1:20; Matthew 3:16; Luke 4:18; Matthew 4:1; John 6:63; Romans 8:11.

The Holy Spirit is a person, not a liquid or a solid to be measured, controlled in parts or fragments, see? To be "filled with the spirit" means to be "governed or con­trolled" by the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18. Just as to be filled with wine means to be "governed or controlled" by wine. The Scriptures simply teach that one who is born of the spirit, should let the Spirit govern or control his life.

Verse 35

1) "The Father loveth the Son," (ho pater agapa ton huion) "The Father loves the Son," the heir redeemer, H is only begotten Son, as John the Baptist audibly heard, visibly saw, and learned when he baptized Jesus, Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22.

2) "And hath given all things into his hand." (kai panta dedoken en te cheiri autou) "And he has given all things to his hand,’’ to His administration, as certified repeatedly, Matthew 11:27; Matthew 28:18; John 5:22; John 5:27, 1 Corinthians 15:27; Revelation 1:18 asserts that He has, holds, or possesses the "keys of hell and of death," denoting His power and authority to set men free or liberate them from the powers of both.

Verse 36

1) "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life”: (ho pisteuon eis ton huion echei zoen aionion) "The one trusting into the heir-redeemer has, holds, or possess life eternal," everlasting, or forevermore. In Jesus is eternal security and rest and release from the fear and dangers of hell, as expressed also by our Lord, John 3:15-16; John 5:24; 1 John 5:13; John 10:27-28. The possession of everlasting life, by a believer in this life, is a fact, not a farce! As is espoused by those who teach the evil doctrine of apostasy.

2) ’’And he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life," (ho de apeithon to huio ouk opsetai zoen) "Yet the one disobeying (trusting or believing not) the heir-redeemer Son will not see life," The one going on in a state of rejecting Jesus as the Savior, only person and source of salvation, as the ceremonial Pharisee and Sadducee religionists did, shall not see life, everlasting life, Matthew 5:20; Romans 10:1-4; John 8:24.

3) "But the wrath of God abideth on him." (all’ he orge tou theou menei ep’ auton) "But in contrast the wrath of God remains upon him," in his obstinate distrust of, and belief in, the Son of God as the redeemer, the Savior, the deliverer of all who believe in Him. He is lost, perishing, condemned, as a child of wrath, afar off from God, in spiritual ignorance, with God’s anger against him and His wrath over him every day, Psalms 7:11-12; Luke 19:10; Isaiah 53:4-6; John 3:16; John 3:18; Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 1:22-23.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on John 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/john-3.html. 1985.
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