John 3:5

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Stephen, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. Stephen

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    First post/question.

    I'm still a little confused about the meaning of part of this verse (John 3:5).

    "Except a man be born of water"

    I had a friend at work ask if this means you have to be baptisted to get to heaven. I told him no that my Pastor said this means being born as in your original birth. But I'm confused on why it was neccessary for Jesus to mention "Except a man be born of water" when everyone is born. Would someone please elaborate on this please?

    Stephen [​IMG]
     
  2. ChozGod

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    I agree with your Pastor, this is talking of your natural birth but maybe
    Jesus used it for clarification , so folks would not assume “I was born so I am ok” so He explained there are “two births”.
    Paula
     
  3. John Wells

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    I disagree with ChozGod. I used to think that's what it meant also, until the study of Hebrew culture of Lazarus's day. They had no concept of the embriotic fluid associated with "water birth." Today a woman uses the term "my water broke." The Hebrew culture was void of anything closely resembling that saying, so Jesus could not have expected Lazarus to make that association with His choice of words. I think the association that Jesus intended Lazarus to make is found in: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezek 36:25-26 NIV)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Jesus gave an illustration of this when He washed the disciples' feet.

    Literally I think the verse means: God washes us clean, and then indwells us. He would not indwell us while we are stained with sin. Therefore, the indwelling is a two-step process of cleansing and indwelling.
     
  4. Pastor KevinR

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    "water" can mean here God's Word. cp Rom 10:17;Eph 5:26. However, I am more inclined to believe that it is speaking of the natural birth as previously stated. The context here is contrasting the natural birth
    with the spiritual. Verse 6 says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
     
  5. John Wells

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    To add support to my first post on this subject: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> born of water and the Spirit. Jesus referred not to literal water here but to the need for “cleansing” (e.g., Ezek. 36:24–27). When water is used figuratively in the OT, it habitually refers to renewal or spiritual cleansing, especially when used in conjunction with “spirit” (Num. 19:17–19; Ps. 51:9, 10; Is. 32:15; 44:3–5; 55:1–3; Jer. 2:13; Joel 2:28, 29). Thus, Jesus made reference to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (cf. Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5), required for belonging to His kingdom.
    John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  6. HankD

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    OK , I'll disagree with everyone [​IMG]

    KJV John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    There is no definite article in the original language for the word Spirit and reads literally:
    Except a man be born of water and Spirit...
    "Water" and "Spirit" are in the same case and number and the passage could be (notice I said could be) translated...

    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of Spirit-water, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    See also John 7:38-39
    KJV John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
    39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

    HankD
     
  7. Lorelei

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by HankD:

    There is no definite article in the original language for the word Spirit and reads literally:
    Except a man be born of water and Spirit...
    "Water" and "Spirit" are in the same case and number and the passage could be (notice I said could be) translated...
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You lost me here. What word are you saying is not in the original?
    udor(water) kai(and) pneuma(spirit)?

    I am not versed in the ancient languages, I just have an interlinear and lexicon and hope their definitions are correct.


    ~Lorelei
     
  8. word_digger

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>They had no concept of the embriotic fluid associated with "water birth." Today a woman uses the term "my water broke." The Hebrew culture was void of anything closely resembling that saying, so Jesus could not have expected Lazarus to make that association with His choice of words. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I disagree with this line of reasoning. The Hebrew rabbi's were a lot more educated in such things then you give them credit for. Certainly they knew that all life, plant and animal, depended on water, and that they were made up mostly of water, and had given great thought about such things (they were miles ahead of the Greeks in Philosopy, at the time). They may not have been able to express it in the scientific lingo of our day, but they certainly knew the concept and would have understood what Jesus was saying.

    We in these modern times have an inclination to think we are smarter, more intellegent, and better educated than people back then. The very fabric of today's society demonstrates otherwise. Technology is one thing...comon sense knowledge is something else. Born of water and Spirit...
     
  9. Briguy

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    Word_digger, Great answer and i believe you are right. The water is water (fluid from the women) because flesh is mentioned in the next verse. Sometimes we take the obvious and look right past it
     
  10. Chick Daniels

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    It likely means "water even spirit" which suggests a washing effect that the Spirit has at new birth. Please see D.A. Carson's commentary on John's Gospel (Published by Eerdmans in the Pillar Commentary set). Carson demonstrates the fallicy of the amniotic fluid position, the semen position, the water baptism position, and other less possible positions. He admits that he was convinced by one of his students, now NT scholar, Linda Belleville.

    Chick
     
  11. HankD

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    Dear Lorelei,

    Concerning...

    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of Spirit-water, he cannot enter into the
    kingdom of God.

    See also John 7:38-39
    KJV John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
    39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

    The grammar suggests that Spirit and water are descriptive of one another.

    "Water" in an arrid community such as Palestine was synonomous with LIFE. The Spirit gives birth to a LIFE which is of a different order than flesh (SARX). It is Eternal life not the life of the flesh (temporary).
    That which is born of the flesh is flesh (temporary).
    That which is born of the Spirit is spirit (eternal).

    HankD
     
  12. Barnabas H.

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    It is interesting how the same subject comes around. As you may know, this subject has been discussed in length on the old BB, before the site was transferred to where we are today. I have given the three prevailing views, which are being voiced in Christian circles. Namely, that water, in John 3:5, represents:

    1. The natural birth.
    2. Baptism.
    3. Washing by the Word of God.


    If we accept the natural birth theory, then we have to contend with Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and sin did my mother conceive me.” According to this doctrinal stand we are only half cleansed in the “born-again” process.

    If we accept the baptism theory, then we have to contend with the fact that baptism doesn’t save us, Jesus saves. We are not baptized first and then saved but we are saved first and then baptized.

    On the other hand, if we take the spiritual implication of being washed by the water (the word of God) and renewed (or regenerated) by the Holy Spirit, then we have something going for us. Just examine what was Jesus told to Nicodemus. He was talking about the new birth. A birth from above, which is pure, not corrupted by the flesh and not shapen in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). Please note that when Nicodemus did not understand this new birth (being born again) and was referring to the physical birth (v. 4), Jesus corrected him (v. 5). And when Nicodemus still didn’t follow the spiritual implications, Jesus asked him this profound question: “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (v. 10b). Now why did Jesus ask this question? Because from the Old Testament writings Nicodemus was thoroughly educated about the purifying qualities of the water. Water was a foreshadowing of the purifying quality of the Holy Spirit. Not only was the water constantly used to cleans and purify, but God Himself used the symbolism [as has been already quoted above so eloquently by “Wellsjs”] in Ezekiel 36:25-27. Hope this will help. [​IMG]
     
  13. Stephen

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    Wow... I new this was the right place to ask questions! All of the answers seem valid. I had not thought of washing with the Word but that really makes since. Although the other opininons seem valid too. I just couldn't figure out why it would be neccessary for Jesus to state the obvious (that of a regular birth). Thanks folks.

    Stephen
     
  14. Barnabas H.

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    Stephen, you have a neat Church website! Are you an active member of the New Hope Baptist Church? [​IMG]
     
  15. John Wells

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    word_digger,

    Can you back up your line of disagreement, or is that just what you think? Your link does a very good job of talking about the "spirit" part of this passage, but doesn't address the "water" at all, so I don't see what your point was with it, but I did enjoy reading it. Thanks.

    Chick, thanks for correcting me on "amniotic fluid." I was close. Guess the secret's out I'm not a doctor! :D

    Thanks B.J., you bring out some good points. In fact Ezekiel 36:25-27 can be viewed as saying the same thing as John 3:5, but without the "born again" conceptualization.

    [ July 20, 2001: Message edited by: wellsjs ]
     
  16. word_digger

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
    (John 3:5-6 KJV) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The subject is being BORN and the word wash or the act of "washing with the Word" is not mentioned in this passage, and is completely out of the context of the passage. The passage itself defines the meaning: water birth = flesh and spirit birth = spirit. A very simple, spiritual metaphor. The confusion arrises only when you try to read something into the passage that isn't even there. :rolleyes:

    [ July 20, 2001: Message edited by: word_digger ]
     
  17. Briguy

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    BJHalo writes:

    If we accept the natural birth theory, then we have to contend with Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and sin did my mother conceive me.” According to this doctrinal stand we are only half cleansed in the “born-again” process.

    I don't have a clue how you come to that conclusion based on this verse. This is the vers time I have really thought about this verse (Psalm 51:5 that is) but it just says to me that we are in Sin, steeped deep in Sin right from the begining. That is why we needed the messiah to come to save us from the Sin that we have even in our mothers womb. Does anyone else see it that way?
     
  18. word_digger

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    The Briguy, I agree that the Bible says we are concieved in the nature of sinful flesh, and are born that way. When we are born again, it is not the flesh that gets born again but the soul. Can't do much with the flesh in this life but try to keep it in subjection until it's time to feed the worms. :D

    Here is an interesting doctrinal thought to ponder:

    Born once, die twice.
    Born twice, die once.

    Do you understand that? God bless.
     
  19. John Wells

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    word_digger,

    No one involved in this "healthy debate" appears to have a problem understanding what "born again" means. Therefore your last post diverts us from the real issue, what does "water" mean in John 3:5? B.J. did an excellent job of the three possibilities:
    1. The natural birth.
    2. Baptism.
    3. Washing by the Word of God.
    Your position of #1 is the minority view at this point and you have avoided answering my question: can you substantiate your claim that the knowledge of amniotic fluid was universally understood in that day? Couple that with the references from my MacArthur quote of numerous references in the OT that equate "water" to "cleansing" in the given context, and the defense of your position is an uphill battle! ;)
     
  20. word_digger

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Therefore your last post diverts us from the real issue, what does "water" mean in John 3:5? B.J. did an excellent job of the three possibilities:
    1. The natural birth.
    2. Baptism.
    3. Washing by the Word of God.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It means born of the flesh, just as the passage says. It has nothing to do with water baptism and has nothing to do with the washing of the word. To claim otherwise is to read something into the text that is not there. I don't need to defend anything. That's what the words of the Bible plainly say in that passage.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> can you substantiate your claim that the knowledge of amniotic fluid was universally understood in that day? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Probably not in such a scientific context, but any fool that witnessed a birth knew quite well that when that water broke a baby soon followed afterward. That would make the association quite clear in my mind, and I'm not a doctor. :D

    [ July 20, 2001: Message edited by: word_digger ]
     

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