3:1 There 1 was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a a
ruler of the Jews:
(1) There are none sometimes more unlearned than the learned,
but the learned as well as the unlearned must desire wisdom
from Christ only.
(a) A man of great estimation and a ruler amongst the Jews.
3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi,
we know that thou art a b teacher come from God: for no
man can do these miracles that thou doest, c except God be
(b) We know that you are sent from God to teach us.
(c) But he in whom some part of the excellency of God
appears. And if Nicodemus had rightly known Christ, he
would not only have said that God was with him, but in
him, as Paul does in (2Co 1:19).
3:32 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say
unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot d see the
e kingdom of God.
(2) The beginning of Christianity consists in this, that we
know ourselves not only to be corrupt in part, but to be
wholly dead in sin: so that our nature has need to be
created anew, with regard to its qualities, which can be
done by no other power, but by the divine and heavenly, by
which we were first created.
(d) That is, "go in", or "enter", as he expounds himself
below in (Joh 3:5).
(e) The Church: for Christ shows here how we come to be
citizens and to have anything to do in the city of God.
3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How f can a man be born when he
is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's
womb, and be born?
(f) How can I who am old be born again? For Nicodemus
answers as if Christ's words were only addressed to
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is g flesh; and that which
is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(g) That is, fleshly, namely, wholly unclean and under the
wrath of God: and therefore this word "flesh" signifies
the corrupt nature of man: contrary to which is the
Spirit, that is, the man ingrafted into Christ through
the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose nature is
everlasting and immortal, though the strife of the flesh
3:8 The wind bloweth where it h listeth, and thou hearest the
sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the
(h) With free and wandering blasts as it wishes.
3:93 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these
(3) The secret mystery of our regeneration which cannot be
comprehended by man's capacity, is perceived by faith, and
that in Christ only, because he is both God on earth, and
man in heaven, that is to say, man in such a way that he is
God also, and therefore almighty: and God in such a way
that he is man also, and therefore his power is made
manifest to us.
3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know,
and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our i
(i) You handle doubtful things even though you have no
solid basis for believing them, and yet men believe
you: but I teach those things that are of a truth and
well known, and you do not believe me.
3:13 And no k man l hath ascended up to heaven, but he that
came down from heaven, [even] m the Son of man which n
is in heaven.
(k) Only Christ can teach us heavenly things, for no man
(l) That is, has any spiritual light and understanding, or
ever had any, but only the Son of God who came down to
(m) Whereas he is said to have come down from heaven, this
must be understood as referring to his Godhead, and of
the manner of his conception: for Christ's birth upon
the earth was heavenly and not earthly, for he was
conceived by the Holy Spirit.
(n) That which is proper to the divinity of Christ, is here
spoken of the whole Christ, to show us that he is but
one person in which two natures are united.
3:165 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth o in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life.
(5) Nothing else but the free love of the Father is the
beginning of our salvation, and Christ is he in whom our
righteousness and salvation dwells: and faith is the
instrument or means by which we apprehend it, and
everlasting life is that which is set before us to
(o) It is not the same to believe in a thing, and to
believe about a thing, for we may not believe in anything
except in God alone, but we may believe about anything
whatever, says Nazianzene in his Oration of the Spirit.
3:176 For God sent not his Son into the world p to condemn
the world; but that the q world through him might be
(6) Christ does not condemn, but rather despising Christ
(p) That is, to be the cause of the condemning of the
world, for indeed sins are the cause of death;
however, Christ will still judge the living and the
(q) Not only the people of the Jews, but whoever will
believe in him.
3:197 And this is the r condemnation, that light is come
into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.
(7) The only reason why men refuse the light that is offered to
them is wickedness.
(r) That is, the cause of condemnation, which remains in
men, unless through God's great benefit they are
delivered from it.
3:21 But he that s doeth truth cometh to the light, that his
deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought t in
(s) That is, he that leads an honest life, and is void of
all cunning and deceit.
(t) That is, with God, God as it were going before.
3:258 Then there arose a question between [some] of John's
disciples and the Jews about purifying.
(8) Satan inflames the disciples of John with a fond emulation
of their master in order to hinder the course of the
gospel: but John, being mindful of his office, not
only puts a stop to their endeavours, but also takes
occasion by that means to give testimony of Christ, that in
him alone the Father has set forth everlasting life.
3:27 John answered and said, A man u can receive nothing,
except it be given him from heaven.
(u) Why are you trying to better my state? This is every
man's lot and portion, that he cannot better himself in
the slightest way.
3:31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the
earth is x earthly, and y speaketh of the earth: he
that cometh from heaven is above all.
(x) Is nothing else but man, a piece of work made of the
slime of the earth.
(y) Is characterized by nothing but corruption, ignorance,
3:32 And what he hath z seen and heard, that he testifieth;
and a no man receiveth his testimony.
(z) What he knows fully and perfectly.
(a) That is, very few.
3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath b given all things
into his hand.
(b) Committed them to his power and will.
3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he
that believeth not the Son shall not c see life; but the
wrath of God abideth on him.