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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: John's Gospel

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Frameworks: John's Gospel, chapter 3


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in in italic a description of what is happening)

(Additional Note: As this chapter starts to increasingly use Old Testament references, the new reader is encouraged to read the notes at the beginning of the page covering Chapter 2)



v.1-15 Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

v.16-21 John's Commentary (1)

v.22-30 John the Baptist Testifies Again About Jesus

v.31-36 John's Commentary (2)


v.1-15 Jesus Teaches Nicodemus


v.1 (introducing Nicodemus) Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.

v.2 (he came at night, accepting Jesus as a teacher) 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.”

v.3 (Jesus says one need to be born again to see the kingdom) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

v.4 (Nicodemus questions how this can be) “ 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!”

v.5 (born of water and the Spirit) Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

v.6 (each gives birth to its own kind) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

v.7 (Jesus says you shouldn't be surprised) You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'

v.8 (consider the wind – so it is with the Spirit) 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.”

v.9 (Nicodemus questions this) “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

v.10 (but you're a teacher) “You are Israel's teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?

v.11 (Jesus speaks of what he knows (from heaven) yet is not believed) 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.

v.12 (these are earthly things, how about heavenly ones?) I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?

v.13 (only the Son of Man has come from heaven) No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

v.14,15 (remember Moses' snake, so it must be with me) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”



v.16-21 John's Commentary (1)


v.16 (God's love for us demonstrated by Jesus coming) 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.

v.17 (Jesus came to save not to condemn) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

v.18 (believers aren't condemned, only unbelievers) 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.

v.19 (Jesus the light came but sinful mankind preferred darkness) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

v.20 (evil hates the light and hides from it) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

v.21 (the righteous come to the light) 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.


(Note: in this chapter it is sometimes difficult to know when the writer John is quoting John the Baptist and when he had added his own commentary. We have followed those translators who have indicated the divisions by the presence or absence of quotation marks – see end of v.15 & 30)



v.22-30 John the Baptist Testifies Again About Jesus


v.22 (Jesus teaches and baptises in the countryside) After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.

v.23 (John was still baptizing) Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized.

v.24  (This was before John was put in prison.)

v.25 (an argument arises) An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.

v.26 (they ask John about Jesus) 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.”

v.27 (John declares all ministry comes from heaven) To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.

v.28  (he had said before he wasn't the Messiah) You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.'

v.29  (he uses the picture of the bridegroom – he's just his friend) 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.

v.30  (Jesus must become more and he less) He must become greater; I must become less.”


v.31-36 John's Commentary (2)


v.31 (earthly ministries speak of earth, those from heaven about heaven) 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.

v.32 (Jesus testified about heaven but no one believed) He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.

v.33 (believers know it is true) Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.

v.34 (he who comes from God brings God's words) For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.

v.35 (because the Father loved Jesus He had given him all he had) The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

v.36 (belief in Jesus bring eternal life, unbelievers incur God's wrath) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.