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John 3 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Jesus and Nicodemus

There was a man named Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. One night he came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help.”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, everyone must be born again. Anyone who is not born again cannot be in God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus said, “How can a man who is already old be born again? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?”

Jesus answered, “Believe me when I say that everyone must be born from water and the Spirit. Anyone who is not born from water and the Spirit cannot enter God’s kingdom. The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. Don’t be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it, but you don’t know where it is coming from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born from the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked, “How is all this possible?”

10 Jesus said, “You are an important teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these things? 11 The truth is, we talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don’t accept what we tell you. 12 I have told you about things here on earth, but you do not believe me. So I’m sure you will not believe me if I tell you about heavenly things! 13 The only one who has ever gone up to heaven is the one who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.

14 “Moses lifted up the snake in the desert.[a] It is the same with the Son of Man. He must be lifted up too. 15 Then everyone who believes in him can have eternal life.”[b]

16 Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world. He did not send him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18 People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. But people who do not believe are already judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19 They are judged by this fact: The light[c] has come into the world. But they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light. They will not come to the light, because the light will show all the bad things they have done. 21 But anyone who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that whatever they have done was done through God.

Jesus and John the Baptizer

22 After this, Jesus and his followers went into the area of Judea. There he stayed with his followers and baptized people. 23 John was also baptizing people in Aenon, a place near Salim with plenty of water. People were going there to be baptized. 24 This was before John was put in prison.

25 Some of John’s followers had an argument with another Jew about religious washing.[d] 26 Then they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River? He is the one you were telling everyone about. He is also baptizing people, and many are going to him.”

27 John answered, “A person can receive only what God gives. 28 You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only the one God sent to prepare the way for him.’ 29 The bride always belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who helps the bridegroom just waits and listens. He is happy just to hear the bridegroom talk. That’s how I feel now. I am so happy that he is here. 30 He must become more and more important, and I must become less important.

The One Who Comes From Heaven

31 “The one who comes from above is greater than all others. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth. He talks about things that are on the earth. But the one who comes from heaven is greater than all others. 32 He tells what he has seen and heard, but people don’t accept what he says. 33 Whoever accepts what he says has given proof that God speaks the truth. 34 God sent him, and he tells people what God says. God gives him the Spirit fully. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. But those who do not obey the Son will never have that life. They cannot get away from God’s anger.”


  1. John 3:14 Moses lifted … desert When God’s people were dying from snake bites, God told Moses to put a brass snake on a pole for them to look at and be healed. See Num. 21:4-9.
  2. John 3:15 Some scholars think that Jesus’ words to Nicodemus continue through verse 21.
  3. John 3:19 light This means Christ, the Word, who brought to the world understanding about God.
  4. John 3:25 religious washing The Jews had religious rules about washing in special ways before eating, before worshiping in the Temple, and at other special times.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

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