Saturday, August 12, 2017

John 3 "Sticky Spots"


PROBLEM: Traditionally, Christians have believed that the Bible does not teach the doctrine of reincarnation (cf. Heb. 9:27). However, many groups use this verse to claim that Jesus taught that it was necessary to be reincarnated.


PROBLEM: Jesus told Nicodemus that “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Does this mean a person has to be baptized to be saved?


3:5. Converts to Judaism were said to become “as newborn children” when they were baptized to remove Gentile impurity. “Born of water” thus clarifies for Nicodemus that “born from above” means conversion, not a second physical birth.
The Greek wording of 3:5 can mean either “water and the Spirit” or “water, that is, the Spirit.” Ezekiel 36:24–27 used water symbolically for the cleansing of the Spirit (cf. especially the Dead Sea Scrolls), so here Jesus could mean “converted by the Spirit” (cf. 7:37–39)—a spiritual proselyte baptism. Whereas Jewish teachers generally spoke of converts to Judaism as “newborn” only in the sense that they were legally severed from old relationships, an actual rebirth by the Spirit would produce a new heart (Ezek 36:26).
3:6–7. The “spirit” that is born from God’s Spirit may reflect the “new spirit” of Ezekiel 36:26.
3:8. One could also translate “sound of the wind” as “voice of the Spirit” (for plays on words, see comment on 3:3–4). The wind is unpredictable and uncontrollable (see Eccles 8:8; cf. Eccles 1:6, 8, 14, 17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9). The Spirit was symbolized as wind in Ezekiel 37, which some Jewish interpreters linked with Genesis 2:7 (cf. Jn 20:22).[1]

[1] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Jn 3:5–8.



PROBLEM: Jesus declared in this text that “No one has ascended to heaven...” However, the OT records Elijah’s ascension into heaven in a chariot (2 Kings 2:11).


Did anyone ascend into heaven before Jesus or not?

Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11 and John 3:13

  1. Yes
    1. Genesis 5:24, "And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."
    2. 2 Kings 2:11, "Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven."
    3. Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God."
  2. No
    1. John 3:13, "And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man"


John 3:14Just as  Moses lifted up the serpent   in the wilderness,  so must the Son of Man be lifted up,!bible/John+3:15

Numbers 21:5-9  English Standard Version (ESV)

And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”So Moses made a bronze[a] serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.


  1. Numbers 21:9 Or copper


Does God hate people or love them?

John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:7-8 and Psalm 5:5; 11:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Hosea 9:15

  1. God loves
    1. (John 3:16) - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
    2. (Rom. 5:8) - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    3. (1 John 4:7-8,16)- "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love...16God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God... "
  2. God hates
    1. (Psalm 5:5) - "The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity."
    2. (Psalm 11:5) - "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates."
    3. (Proverbs 6:16-19) - "There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers."
    4. (Hosea 9:15) - "All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels."
God both loves and hates. His nature is...



PROBLEM: According to this verse, God did not “send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” He added later, “I judge no one” (John 8:15; cf. 12:47). However, in other places Jesus claimed “authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27). Indeed, He even claimed, “For judgment I have come into this world” (John 9:39) and the Father “has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
(3:22) "There he tarried with them, and baptized."
Did Jesus baptize anyone?  
This verse does not specifically say: "Jesus personally baptized people,” which would make it a contradiction. But given chapter 4:2 the meaning is that Jesus disciples actually performed the baptism. The next verses right up to chapter 4:2 are all part of the same passage, describing how there was a time when both John and Jesus were in the same area, baptizing. Although Jesus did not personally baptize, unlike John.