John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh;

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

What is produced by the physical exists physically, and also what is produced by the spiritual exists spiritually.

Hidden Meaning: 

The word translated as "flesh" (sarx) is used most generally to refer to the physical world, especially when it is contrast with the word for the spirit (pneuma). In using the term "sarx," Christ is moving the discussion from the world of classical elements (water and air) in the previous verse, to the separation of the world into the physical and spiritual.

This parallels the reference to "water" in the last verse to the reference to the physical or flesh in this verse. This means that the previous verse does not necessarily refer to baptism as it is usually assumes. Baptism is a spiritual rebirth. Here, the water birth is the birth of the flesh. The human body is, after all, 70% water. People are physically born when the water of the amniotic sac breaks. We are literally all born out of the water in which we grew.

Notice that Christ uses the conjunction "and" here, connecting these ideas. The Greek "kai" can also be translated as "also." While in English, we can read these connected sentences as opposing, in Greek, Christ is joining them together. What is born of the flesh is also born of the spirit. We have two births, one from below and one from above referring us back to Jhn 3:3.

Remember, in Christ's time, Judaism did not accept the concept of a spiritual existence. Even those that believed in the resurrection of the dead (and this was not necessarily a majority), believed in a physical resurrection, not a spiritual one. The idea of people having both a physical birth and a spiritual one was a new idea for Christ's time.

Vocabulary: 

τὸ γεγεννημένον (part sg perf mp neut nom) "That which is 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."

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

τῆς σαρκὸς "The flesh" is from sarx (sarx), which means "flesh", "the body", "fleshy", "the pulp of fruit", "meat," and "the physical and natural order of things" (opposite of the spiritual or supernatural).

σάρξ "Flesh" is from sarx (sarx), which means "flesh", "the body", "fleshy", "the pulp of fruit", "meat," and "the physical and natural order of things" (opposite of the spiritual or supernatural).

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act ) "Is" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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."

τὸ γεγεννημένον (part sg perf mp neut nom) "That which is 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."

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

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

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

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act ) "Is" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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