1There was a man named Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came at night to where Jesus was and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God, for nobody could do the miraculous signs you're doing unless God was with him.”
3“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “Unless you are reborn,#3:3. Or “born from above.” you can't experience God's kingdom.”
4“How can you be reborn when you're old?” Nicodemus asked. “You can't go back into your mother's womb and be born a second time!”
5“I tell you the truth, you can't enter God's kingdom unless you are born of water and the Spirit,” Jesus told him. 6“What's born of the flesh is flesh, and what's born of the Spirit is Spirit. 7Don't be surprised at my telling you, ‘You must be reborn.’#3:7. The first “you” refers to Nicodemus in the singular. The second “you” is plural, and refers to a wider audience. 8The wind blows wherever it wants, and just as you hear the sound it makes, but don't know where it's coming from or where it's going, that's how it is for everyone who is born of the spirit.”
9“How is this possible?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You're a famous teacher in Israel,#3:10. Literally, “you are the teacher of Israel.” and yet you don't understand such things?” Jesus replied. 11“I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know and give evidence regarding what we have seen, but you refuse to accept our testimony. 12If you don't trust what I say when I tell you about earthly things, how would you ever trust what I say if I were to tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has gone up to heaven, but the Son of man came down from heaven. 14Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,#3:14. See Numbers 21:9. so the Son of man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who trusts in him will have eternal life.
16For God loved the world, and this is how:#3:16. The word often translated “so” (as in “so loved”) is primarily describing the way or manner in which God loves rather than the extent or intensity of his love. he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who trusts in him shouldn't die, but have eternal life. 17God didn't send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Those who trust in him are not condemned, while those who don't trust in him are condemned#3:18. Or “have condemned themselves.” already because they didn't trust in the one and only Son of God. 19This is how the decision#3:19. Or “judgment.” is made: the light came to the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light, for their actions were evil. 20All those who do evil hate the light and don't come into the light, because they don't want their actions to be exposed. 21But those who do good#3:21. Literally, “doing the truth.” come into the light, so that what God accomplishes in them can be revealed.”
22After this Jesus and his disciples went into Judea and spent some time with the people, baptizing them. 23John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there and people kept coming to be baptized. 24(This was before John was imprisoned). 25An argument developed between John's disciples and a Jew over ceremonial purification. 26They went to John and told him, “Rabbi, the man you were with on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you testified in support of—see, now he's baptizing, and everyone is going to him!”
27“No one receives anything unless they're given it from heaven,” John replied. 28“You yourselves can testify that I declared, ‘I'm not the Messiah. I've been sent to prepare his way.’ 29The bridegroom is the one who has the bride! The best man waits, listening for the bridegroom, and is so happy when he hears the bridegroom's voice—in the same way my happiness is now complete. 30He must become more important, and I must become less important.”
31He who comes from above is greater#3:31. Or “above” in the sense of authority. than all; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth and talks about earthly things. He who comes from heaven is greater than all. 32He gives evidence about what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts what he has to say. 33Yet anyone who accepts what he says confirms#3:33. Literally, “stamp of approval.” that God is truthful. 34For the one God sent speaks God's words, because God doesn't restrict the Spirit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Anyone who trusts in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to trust the Son will not experience eternal life but remains under God's condemnation.