John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth,

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The spirit/wind breaths wherever it wants. And you hear its voice but you cannot perceive from what source it comes nor where it goes. this is the case for each man born out of the spirit/wind.

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse is one of those that loses so much meaning in translation that there may be no way to explain it all.

First, Christ continues his point about being born twice, explaining that how our spiritual birth is different from our physical birth. The word for wind and spirit are the same: pneuma. This verse introduces an important part of the analogy between wind and spirit: that we cannot see the wind or the spirit. More importantly, we cannot see the source of the wind or its destination, that is, its beginning or end. The contrast is with the physical, where we can see both birth and death. Our spiritual genesis and end as in our purpose is hidden.

Notice that Christ makes a point of saying that we can hear the wind. this is consistent with his later statements about hearing the Spirit of Truth in Jhn 16:13. The Greek word used for "hear" is the same here as in that verse. In a sense, our spirit is the part of us that does hear and understand.

The Greek word for "sound" in the KJV also means "voice." Animals hear and make sounds. People hear make voices. The difference is the spirit.

In Jhn 3:6, Christ spoke in terms of "that which is born" but the form was singular neuter. This suggest that there are "things" that are born from the physical and other things that are born from the spiritual. Here, however, Christ speaks of each man that is born, the form is singular masculine. People are different because they are born of both the flesh and the spirit. As usual, we assume the change was to make Christ's meaning clearer. 


 The same word means "wind," "breath," and "spirit" and each meaning is used here. 


τὸ πνεῦμα "The wind" is from pneuma (pneuma), which means "blast", "wind", "breath", "the breath of life," and "divine inspiration."

ὅπου "Where" is from hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

θέλει (3rd sg pres ind act) "It will" is from thelô (thelo), which as a verb means "to be willing", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

πνεῖ (3rd sg imperf ind act or 3rd sg pres ind act) "Bloweth" is from pneo, which means "blow", "breath", "give off an odor", "breath forth," and "breath out."

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."

τὴν φωνὴν "The sound" is from phone, which means "sound", "tone", "sound of a voice", "speech", "voice", "utterance", "cry" [of animals], "sounds" [of inanimate objects], "faculty of speech", "phrase", "saying", "rumor," and "report."

αὐτοῦ "Thereof" is from autos (autos), which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of ones own accord."

ἀκούεις (2nd sg pres ind act) "Thou hearest" is from akouô (akouo), which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

ἀλλ᾽ "But" is from alla (alla), which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

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

οἶδας (2nd sg perf ind act) "Canst...tell" is from (eidon) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

πόθεν "Whence" is from pothen , (pothen) which means "whence" and "from what source."

ἔρχεται "It cometh" is from erchomai (erchomai), which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

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."

ποῦ "Wither" is from pou, which means "where" and "in what manner."

ὑπάγει (3rd sg pres ind act) "It goes" is from hupagô (hupago), which means "to lead under", "to bring under", "to bring a person before judgment", "to lead on by degrees", "to take away from beneath", "to withdraw", "to go away", "to retire", "to draw off," and "off with you."

οὕτως "So" is from houtos (houtos), which means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "therefore," and "that is why."

ἐστὶν (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.")

πᾶς "Every one" is from pas (pas), which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

γεγεννημένος (part sg perf mp masc nom) "That 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 "With" 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."

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