Jhn 3:5 Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 3:5 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.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I am teaching you the real truth. If someone would not be begotten from water and the breath of life, he does not have the power to come into the reign of God.

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse is an Greek exact parallel to the previous one, Jhn 3:3. The key verbs ("born" and "can") parse exactly the same. In such cases, the differences become the key part of the statement.

In the earlier verse, the "from" statement (anothen - literally "from above") was a part of the word used. Here, the parallel is completed by using the Greek preposition for "from", ek. This part of the parallel does not work if we use the KJV translation of this word as "again." Here, it is important to note that the "again" translation comes from the Latin Vulgate version, which was the source of the Greek that the KJV was translated.

In the previous verse, the discussion was about someone begotten "from above," which seems to refer to Christ himself. Here, Christ moves the discussion to someone who is born from water and spirit, where the word translated as "spirit" means, more literally, "the breath of life."

Most take these to refer to baptism and the Holy spirit, but in Greek, the phrase is more open to interpretation, referring to two of the four classical elements, water and wind. Given the context, "entering the kingdom of God," Christ might also be referring to our human birth followed by our resurrection. In either case, Christ seems to be referring here to two forms of birth, a physical and a spiritual. This is in response to Nicodemus's question about reentering the womb for rebirth, which seems to be a mistaken idea of Christ's meaning in 3:3.

The word translated as "enter" is a version of the Greek word "erchomai" with the added prefix of "eis," that is, "eiserchomai." This is interesting because "erchomai" is usually translated as "come," but "eiserchomai" is the Greek word that really means "come." The primary meaning of "erchomai" is "to start" and it refers to movement without meaning toward or away from any place.


 The Greek refers being born of two key elements of classical science, "water" and "wind." 


Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν "Verily" is from amên (amen), which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω "I tell" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," "nominate," and "command."

σοι "You" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

ἐὰν "Except" is from ean (with me below), which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

μή "Except" is also from (me), which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective,οὐ objective.

τις "A man" is from tis (tis) which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "many a one", "whoever," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

γεννηθῇ (3rd sg aor subj pass) "Be born" is from gennaô (gennao), which means "to beget", "to bring forth", "to produce from oneself", "to create," and "to engender." This is the causal form of gignomai, which is translated as "done" in the NT, but which comes closer in meaning to "become."

ἐξ "Of" is from ek, which means "out of", "from", "by," and "away from."

ὕδατος "Water" is from hudôr (hydor), which means "water", "spring water", "drinking water", "rain water", "rain", "time running out" (from the water clocks used in courts), "liquid," the constellation Aquarius, the winter solstice, and a place with mineral waters.

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

πνεύματος "Spirit" is pneuma (pneuma), which means "blast", "wind", "breath", "the breath of life," and "divine inspiration."

οὐ "Not" is from οὐ ou "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

δύναται (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Can" is from the verb, dunamai (dynamai), which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

εἰσελθεῖν "Enter" is from εἰσελθάτω (eiserchomai)which means both "to go into", "to come in", "to enter", "to enter an office", "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind."

εἰς "Into" is from eis (eis), which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὴν βασιλείαν "The kingdom" is from basileia (basileia), which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τοῦ θεοῦ "Of God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," the Deity."

Related Verses: