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John 3


 1 There (1) was now a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a (a) ruler of the Jews.


(1) There are none sometimes more unlearned, than the learned, but as well the learned as the unlearned must desire wisdom of Christ only.
(a) A man of great estimation, and a ruler amongst the Jews.


 2 This man came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a (b) teacher come from God, for no man could do these miracles that thou doest, (c) except God were with him.


(b) We know that thou are sent from God to teach us.
(c) But he in whom some part of the excellency of God appeareth. And if Nicodemus had known Christ aright, he would not only have said that God was with him, but in him; as Paul doeth in 2 Corinthians 1:19 . 


 3  (2) 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 consisteth in this, that we know ourselves not only to be corrupt in part, but to be wholly dead in sin; so that our nature hath need to be created a new, as touching the qualities thereof; which can be done by no other virtue, but by the divine and heavenly, whereby which we were first created.
(d) That is, go in, or enter, as he expounded himself afterward, John 3:5 .

(*) To enter therein.
(e) The Church; for Christ sheweth in this place, how we come to be citizens, and to have ought to do in the city of God.

(♣) Which thing is to be assembled and incorporated into the Church of God.


 4 Nicodemus said unto him, How (f) can a man be born which is old? Can he enter into his motherís womb again, and be born?


(f) How can I that am old, be born again? For he answereth, as if Christ his words belonged to none but to him.


 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except that a man be born of (*) water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


(*) Which is the spiritual water where the holy Ghost doeth wash us into newness of life.


 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, to wit, wholly unclean and under the wrath of God; and therefore this word (Flesh) signifieth the corrupt nature of man; contrary to which is the Spirit, that is, the man engrafted into Christ through the grace of the holy Ghost, whose nature is everlasting and immortal, though the strife of the flesh remaineth.                 


 7 Marvel not that I said to thee, Ye must be born again.


 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 man that is born of the Spirit.


(*) As the power of God is manifest by the moving of the air, so is it in changing and renewing us, although the manner be hid from us.

(h) With free and wandering blasts, as it listeth.


 9  (3) Nicodemus answered, and said unto him, How can these things be?


(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 that he is both God on earth, and man in heaven, that is to say, in such sort man, that he is God also, and therefore almighty; and in such sort God, that he is man also, and therefore his power is manifest unto us.


 10 Jesus answered, and said unto him, Art thou a teacher of Israel, and (*) knowest not these things?


(*) Although he was excellently learned, yet knew he not those things which the very babes in Christís school ought to know.


 11 Verily, verily I say unto thee, we speak that we (*) know, and testify that we have seen, but ye (♣) receive not our (i) witness.


(*) We may not teach our own inventions.

(♣) He reproveth him, for that men do teach things which they understand not, and yet others believe them; but Christ teacheth things most certain and known, and men will not receive his doctrine.

(i) You handle doubtful things, and such as you have no certain author for, and yet men believe you; but I teach those things that are of a truth and well known, and you believe me not.     


 12 If when I tell you (*) earthly things, ye believe not, how should ye believe, if I shall tell you of heavenly things?


(*) Which was after a common and gross manner.


 13 For no (k) man (l) ascendeth up to heaven, but he that hath descended from heaven, (m) the Son of man which (n) is in (*) heaven.


(k) Only Christ can teach us heavenly things for no man ascendeth, etc.
(l) That is, hath any spiritual light and understanding, or ever had, but only that Son of God, which came down to us.
(m) Whereas he is said to have come down from heaven, that must be understood of his Godhead, and of the manner of his conception; for Christ his birth upon the earth was heavenly, and not earthly, for he was conceived by the holy Ghost.
(n) That which is proper to the divinity of Christ, is here spoken of whole Christ, to give us to understand that he is but one person, wherein two natures are united, and this kind of speech men call, the communicating of proprieties.

(*) By reason of the union of his Godhead with his manhood.


 14  (*) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must that Son of man be (♣) lifted up,


(*) Numbers 21:9; John 12:32 .

(♣) His power must be manifest, which is not yet known.


 15 That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life.


 16  (*) (5) For God so loved the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth (o) in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.


(*) 1 John 4:9 .

(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 is resident; and faith is the instrument of mean whereby we apprehend it, and life everlasting is that which is set before us to apprehend.
(o) It is not all one to believe in a thing, and to believe of a thing, for we may not believe (in anything) save only in God, but we may believe (of anything) whatsoever, this saith Nazianzene in his oration of the Spirit.


 17  (*) (6) For God sent not his Son into the world, that he should (p) (♣) condemn the world, but that the (q) (♠) world through him might be saved.


(*) John 9:39; John 12:47 .

(6) Not Christ, but the despising of Christ doeth condemn.
(p) That is, to be the cause of the condemning of the world, for indeed sins are the cause of death, but Christ shall judge the quick and the dead.

(♣) The concept of Christ, and the sins of the wicked condemn them; yet Christ as a just judge giveth sentence against the reprobate.
(q) Not only the people of the Jews, but whosoever shall believe in him.

(♠) Not only the Jews, but whosoever should believe in him.


 18 He that believeth in him, is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of that only begotten Son of God.


 19  (*) (7) 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.


(*) John 1:9 .

(7) Only wickedness is the cause, why men refuse the light that is offered them.
(r) That is, the cause of condemnation, which sticketh fast in men, unless through God his great benefit they be delivered from it.

(♣) The cause and matter of condemnation.


 20 For every man that evil doeth, hateth the light, neither cometh to light, lest his deeds should be reproved.


 21 But he that (s) doeth (*) truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds might be made manifest, that they are wrought (t) (♣) (♠) according to God.


(s) That is, he that leadeth an honest life, and void of all craft and deceit.

(*) In walking roundly and sincerely.
(t) That is, with God, God as it were going before.

(♣) Or, in God.

(♠) As they do which set God only before their eye and follow the rule of his word.


 22  ∂ After these things came Jesus, and his disciples into the (♣) land of Judea, and there tarried with them, and (*) baptized.


(♣) Or, territory.

(*) John 4:1 .


 23 And John also baptized in Aenon besides Salim, because there was much water there; and they came and were baptized.


 24 For John was not yet cast into prison.


 25  (8) Then there arose a question between Johnís disciples and the Jews, about (*) purifying.


(8) Satan inflameth the disciples of John with a fond emulation of their master, to hinder the course of the Gospel; but John being mindful of his office, doeth not only break off their endeavors, but also taketh occasion thereby to give testimony of Christ, how that in him only the Father hath set forth life everlasting.

(*) That is, how they might be made clean, before God, which the washings under the Law did represent.


 26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, (♣) he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom (*) thou barest witness, behold, he baptizeth, and all men come to him.


(♣) They were led with ambition fearing lest their master should have lost his fame.

(*) John 2:24 .


 27 John answered, and said, A man (u) can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.


(u) What mean you to go about to better my state? This is every man's lot and portion that they cannot better themselves one jot.  


 28 Ye yourselves are my witnesses, that (*) I said, (♣) I am not that Christ, but that I am sent before him.


(*) John 1:20 .

(♣) No man ought to usurp anything further than God giveth him.


 29 He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly, because of the bridegroomís voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.


 30 He must (*) increase, but I must decrease.


(*) And be exalted, and I esteemed as his servant.


 31 He that is come from on high, is above all, he that is of the (*) earth, is of the (x) earth, and (y) speaketh of the earth; he that is come from heaven, is above all.


(*) The minister compared to Christ is but earth.

(x) Is nothing else but man, a piece of work and of the slime of the earth.
(y) Savoreth of nothing but corruption, ignorance, dullness, etc.


 32 And what he hath (z) seen and heard, that he testifieth; but (a) no man receiveth his testimony.


(z) What he knoweth fully and perfectly.
(a) That is, very few.


 33 He that hath received his testimony, hath sealed that (*) God is true.


(*) Romans 3:4 .


 34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God giveth him not the Spirit by (*) measure.


(*) For unto Christ was given the full abundance of all grace, that we might receive of him as of the only fountain.


 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath (*) (b) given all things into his hand.


(*) Matthew 11:27 .

(b) Committed them to his power and will.


 36  (*) He that believeth in the Son, hath everlasting life, and he that obeyeth not the Son, shall not (c) see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.


(*) 1 John 5:10 .

(c) Shall not enjoy.



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