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John 3 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

Jesus and Nicodemus

There was a man named Nicodemus who was one of the Pharisees. He was an important Jewish leader. One night Nicodemus came to Jesus. He said, “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do the miracles you do, unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth. Unless you are born again, you cannot be in God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus said, “But if a man is already old, how can he be born again? He cannot enter his mother’s body again. So how can he be born a second time?”

But Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth. Unless you are born from water and the Spirit, you cannot enter God’s kingdom. A person’s body is born from his human parents. But a person’s spiritual life is born from the Spirit. Don’t be surprised when I tell you, ‘You must all be born again.’ The wind blows where it wants to go. You hear the wind blow. But you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going. It is the same with every person who is born from the Spirit.”

Nicodemus asked, “How can all this be possible?”

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

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

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18 He who believes in God’s Son is not judged guilty. He who does not believe has already been judged guilty, because he has not believed in God’s only Son. 19 People are judged by this fact: I am the Light from God that has come into the world. But men did not want light. They wanted darkness because they were doing evil things. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light. He will not come to the light because it will show all the evil things he has done. 21 But he who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things he has done were done through God.”

Jesus and John the Baptist

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

25 Some of John’s followers had an argument with a Jew about religious washing.[c] 26 So they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you spoke about? He is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27 John answered, “A man can get only what God gives him. 28 You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Christ. I am only the one God sent to prepare the way for him.’ 29 The bride belongs only to the bridegroom. The friend who helps the bridegroom waits and listens for him. He is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That is the same pleasure I have. And my time of joy is now here. 30 He must become greater. And I must become less important.

The One Who Comes from Heaven

31 “The One who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and talks about things on the earth. But the One who comes from heaven is greater than all. 32 He tells what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts what he says. 33 The person who accepts what he says has proven that God is true. 34 God sent him, and he tells the things that God says. God gives him the Spirit fully. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life. But he who does not obey the Son will never have that life. God’s anger stays with him.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:13 the Son of Man Some Greek copies continue, “who is in heaven.”
  2. 3:14 Moses . . . desert. The people of Israel were dying from snake bites. God told Moses to put a bronze snake on a pole. The people who looked at the snake were healed (Numbers 21:4–9).
  3. 3:25 religious washing The Jews washed themselves in special ways before eating, before worshiping in the Temple, and at other special times.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

John 3 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John Testifies Again About Jesus

22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Footnotes:

  1. John 3:3 The Greek for again also means from above; also in verse 7.
  2. John 3:6 Or but spirit
  3. John 3:7 The Greek is plural.
  4. John 3:8 The Greek for Spirit is the same as that for wind.
  5. John 3:13 Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven
  6. John 3:14 The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.
  7. John 3:15 Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 21.
  8. John 3:30 Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 36.
  9. John 3:34 Greek he
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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