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Ferrar Fenton Bible: John 3

The Gospel as Recorded by St. John

Jesus and Nicodemus

There was, however, among the Pharisees, as man named Nicodemus, one of the Judean princes. He came to Him during the night, and said to Him:

“Rabbi, we know that You are a Teacher come from God; because no one could produce the proofs which You do unless God were with him.”

“Most assuredly I tell you,” replied Jesus, “that unless any one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus therefore asked: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he be conceived of his mother a second time, and be born?”

“Most assuredly I tell you,” replied Jesus, “that if a man is not born from water and Spirit, he is unable to enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born from the flesh is flesh; and that which is born from the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind indeed blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound; but yet you neither see whence it comes from, nor where it goes; so it is with all born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus, answering Him, asked: “How can this be?”

“Are you the teacher of Israel,” remarked Jesus, in response to him, “and yet unable to discern this? I tell you most certainly, that what we know, that what we declare, and we witness to what we have seen; but you do not accept our evidence. If you do not believe when I tell you about earthly matters, how can you credit what I tell you relating to the heavenly? No one has ascended to the heaven except the One Who descended from heaven – the Son of Man.1 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up; so that all believing in Him may have eternal life.”

A Comment by the Evangelist

[For God so loved the world that He gave the only-begotten Son, so that everyone believing in Him should not be lost, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son to the world that He might condemn the world; but that He might save the world through Him. The believer in Him will not be condemned; whoever does not trust, however, is already convicted, because he has not confided on the only-begotten Son of God. And the indictment is this: that the Light came into the world, and men love the darkness rather than the Light, because their practices were wicked. For every one who acts vilely, not only hates the light, but shrinks from it, so that his doings may not be detected. But he who does right comes to the light, so that his actions may be displayed; because the origin of his conduct is in God.]

Jesus in Judea

After this, Jesus and His disciples proceeded to the district of Judea, where He resided with them, and baptized. And John was also baptizing in Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and they came and were baptized: for John had not as yet been imprisoned.

A discussion accordingly took place between some of the disciples of John and a Judean concerning purification. So they came to John, and said to him:

“Teacher, the Man Who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, concerning Whom you have yourself given evidence – this Man is now also baptizing, and all the people flock to Him.”

“A man can obtain no success,” John made answer, “unless it has been granted to him from heaven. You are yourselves witnesses of the fact that I stated, ‘I myself am not the Messiah, but that I am sent as His forerunner.’ The possessor of the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands listening to him, is delighted with delight at the voice of the bridegroom. This pleasure, therefore, which is mine, is now complete. He must increase, but I myself decrease.

“He Who comes from above is above all. The one who originates from the earth is from the earth, and speaks from the earth. He Who comes from the heaven is above all; and He gives evidence of what He has seen and heard; yet His evidence is accepted by none.”

[Whosoever accepts His evidence is assured that it is Divine truth. For He Whom God has sent proclaims the message of God, because He did not grant the Spirit with limitation. The Father loves the Son, and has given all into His hands. Every believer in the Son possesses everlasting life; but whosoever disregards the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.]


  1. The words, “Who exists in the heaven,” are omitted by the best and oldest authorities.

Transcribed by JT Atkinson on 02-13-2015