1 Ἦν δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων· 2 οὗτος ἦλθεν πρὸς αὐτὸν νυκτὸς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Ῥαββί, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἐλήλυθας διδάσκαλος· οὐδεὶς γὰρ δύναται ταῦτα τὰ σημεῖα ποιεῖν ἃ σὺ ποιεῖς, ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ ὁ θεὸς μετ’ αὐτοῦ. 3 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, οὐ δύναται ἰδεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ. 4 λέγει πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Νικόδημος· Πῶς δύναται ἄνθρωπος γεννηθῆναι γέρων ὤν; μὴ δύναται εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν καὶ γεννηθῆναι; 5 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ πνεύματος, οὐ δύναται εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ. 6 τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς σάρξ ἐστιν, καὶ τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος πνεῦμά ἐστιν. 7 μὴ θαυμάσῃς ὅτι εἶπόν σοι Δεῖ ὑμᾶς γεννηθῆναι ἄνωθεν. 8 τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ’ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος.
(1) Then there was a certain man from the Pharisees (his name was Nicodemus), a ruler of the Jews. (2) He came to him during the night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come as a teacher from God. For no one is able to execute the signs that you are performing, unless God is with him. (3) Jesus answered and said to him, “I assure you that unless someone is born again, he is not able to see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus said to him, “How is a man able to be born again? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (5) Jesus answered, “ I assure you that unless one is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) The one who is born of the flesh is flesh and the one who is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Do not be amazed that I said, ‘It is necessary for you to be born again.’ (8) The wind blows where it desires, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it come from and where it goes; in this manner is everyone who is born from the Spirit.
To see the Kingdom of God, one must be born again (regenerated).
One prayer, one day, and one decision has become the vanguard to modern American Christendom. This easy, decision based evangelism has practically put all other ideas under its own authority and put evangelicalism back in the Dark Ages; except, people who claim to be Christian have the Bible, just no desire—the Holy Spirit—to read it. One decision without life change means there is no regeneration. No regeneration means that a goat is not really a sheep. But preachers do well to convince goats they are sheep. Accordingly, evangelism has been corrupted by pragmatism and consumerism:
“Do you know you’re a sinner? Do you know you make bad choices?”
“Why yes, quite often.”
“Well, God is holy and hates sin and you will go to a place of eternal torment because of your sin. Do you want to go to Hell?”
“Okay, do you want to go to heaven?”
“Do you know how to get there?”
“Well, Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross to take the wrath God had designed for you so you can go to heaven. Do you have five minutes to pray this prayer after me and ask Jesus into your heart?”
“Now, understand this prayer won’t save you. These words are merely an expression of what you want to happen.”
“Okay, can you give me three prayers? I want my friends to be with me when I get to heaven; otherwise, I don’t know how nice it would be.”
Poking fun at this particular idea is in no way intended to make light of such a weighty issue. Given the option of choice, no human would choose God (Matt. 19:25-16, Rom. 3:11). John speaks to this very issue, “He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true” (John 3:32-33). On this surface, this seems very contradictory. How is it possible for no one to receive Christ’s testimony and for some people to find God true? The answer is given around the context of the passage: the Holy Spirit. No one receives Christ’s testimony, but, “The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
Therefore, the regenerating work of the Spirit logically precedes the “decision” the person makes. Explaining salvation should not run people through the McEvangelical’s drive-thru. Evangelism should be exactly what evangelism means: sharing the Gospel. That is, sharing the Gospel until the Lord changes people’s hearts (Acts 16:14), not convincing people they need to “invite Jesus into their hearts.”
This thesis is not without wrestling. The idea comes first and foremost out of the doctrine of Total Depravity. Man has a heart of stone (Ezek. 36:26), no one seeks for God (Rom. 3:11), and as stated in this passage, “The one who is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6). Without question, regeneration is not a human ability. Problematically, if man is unable to seek God, what makes him able to seek him?
Surveying church history finds a multiplicity of ideas on regeneration. Cyprian (3rd century A.D.), in speaking on the Lord’s prayer, emphasizes the sovereignty of God in the act of regeneration. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) repeatedly fixed the problem of original sin with baptismal regeneration (not emphasizing the power of the water but the Spirit). He also brought about the ideas of effectual grace, the general and effectual call to salvation. John Calvin determined that knowledge of all spiritual things were undeterminable before regeneration. The majority of reformers rejected baptismal regeneration accepting proof texts such as John 3:5 and Eph. 5:26, (still insisting on some power within baptism) believing instead regeneration rested on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Observing contemporary theologians in “fixing” total depravity, Norman Geisler purports “prevenient grace” quoting Titus 2:11. According to Geisler, prevenient grace is God’s unconditional monergistic work of grace in all men prior to salvation. This view has become widely unpopular among non-Reformed theologians (most likely due to its lack of Biblical support). More recently purported to fix the fall has been the Gospel Calling. This comes from an Anabaptist tradition. The idea that the Gospel is the power to save and it goes out to all men repairing their total inability. Wayne Grudem, in his popular Systematic Theology, holds to the contemporary Reformed view that regeneration itself fixes man’s total inability. Millard Erickson purports the idea that the specific (effectual) call fixes mans inability and regeneration proceeds faith and repentance.
I. Arrival of Nicodemus (vv. 1-2)
A. Description of Nicodemus (v.1)
B. Nicodemus’s prompt (v.2)
II. The Dialogue (vv. 3-4)
A. Affirmation of omniscience (v.3)
B. Admission of ignorance (v.4)
III. The Monologue (vv. 5-8)
A. Reaffirmation of Proposition (v.5)
B. Explication of Proposition (vv. 6-8)
1. Detail (v.6)
2. Command (v.7)
3. Illustration (v.8)
One shaping of a worldview comes from the narrative, or “where do we come from” story. Understating where these first century Jews came from will give a better understanding of the passage and conversation between Jesus and one of the rulers of the Jews.
In the beginning, God created everything good (Gen. 1:1, 31). Mankind sinned and the curse of creation ensued (Gen. 3:6). From the very beginning of this curse, God promises a redemption through a seed (Gen. 3:15). Later, God calls a man named Abram up from the land of Ur and promises him land, seed, and blessings (Gen 12:1-3). This man becomes the first Patriarch of the nation of Israel. The remainder of Genesis contains Patriarchal Narratives which leads to the nation of Israel in Egypt. Israel was enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, but God did not forget his covenant. God displays his power as the one true God by hardening Pharaoh’s heart, warring against the gods of Egypt, freeing his people, and leading them to a journey to the land promised so long ago.
Found on this journey is the introduction of the Law and the Mosaic Covenant. Under the keeping of the Law, God desired to dwell in the midst of his people. Throughout the scripture one sees the themes of the mission of God: “I will be your God, you will be my people, and I will dwell in your midst” (Ex. 6:7, Lev. 26:12, Jer. 30:22, Ez. 11:20, Joel 2:27, Heb 11:16, Rev. 21:7). And this relationship is for a higher cause: the praise of his glory (Eph 1:6, 12, 14). The Law which forms the contract of the relationship establishes another key point to the Jewish identity: God’s dwelling. So the people are on there way to the promised land, were given the law, and the promise God would dwell with them under keeping the law.
In the book of Joshua, the people take the majority of the land, but are only able to inhabit very little due to the small population. Throughout the time of the judges, the people struggle to maintain the land during times of rebellion against God and repentance. In the books of Samuel, God choses kings for the people of Israel. Under the third king, Solomon, Israel sees her pinnacle of greatness. The temple is raised. The people are in the land, the law is being kept (yet not completely), and God is dwelling in their midst in the temple.
Soon, things take a turn for the worse. The kingdom splits (1 Sam 12), the people rebel against God (2 Chron. 36:16), God no longer dwells in their midst (Ezek 10:18), the kingdoms fall to great dynasties (2 Chron. 36:17), the people are removed from their land (save the poor; 2 Chron 36:20), the temple is razed (2 Chron 36:19), the law is forgotten. The people are spread throughout the world until the Edict of Cyrus (539 B.C) which allowed the people to return home (though many remained around the world). Out of the renewal of the law, the first century scribes trace their origin to Ezra 7:6-26.
During the Intertestament period, the nation of Israel is ruled by the Greeks under the conquering of Alexander the Great. Palestine formed the buffer zone between two out of the four kingdoms that formed after Alexander the Great’s death. During the wars between these two kingdoms, soon the Seleucids gained control. During this time a man named Antiochus Epiphanies ruled the area and desecrated the temple. Life became horrid for the Jews (especially those who did not compromise). Antiochus also attempted to outlaw Judaism. This began the Maccabean Revolt which began a time of Jewish independence. Freedom, a kingdom, and a king had been supplied as had been promised. Soon Roman rule squashed their independence. And again Israel sat awaiting a king and a kingdom from God.
Historical (Current to Narrative)
As the people await their king, their Messiah, God sends him: Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to save from Roman oppression, but from Satan’s oppression. During Jesus’s ministry, the question on everyone’s mind was, “who is Jesus?” And the Sanhedrin, or the rulers of the Jews, took on the leadership to answer that question. The rulers of the Jews were made up of two major sects: the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees only canonized the Pentateuch and were usually aristocratic. Their power came from ties within Roman government. The Pharisees canonized the entire Tanakh and had popular sovereignty. The Pharisees were the teachers of the Law to the Jewish people.
The idea that the Apostle John wrote the fourth Gospel is supported in tradition by Irenaeus and Theophilus of Antioch in the late second century. The author was also a witness of the events throughout the Gospel (John 1:14). John refers to himself as the beloved disciple (John 20:20-25). Indeed, John was close to Jesus and you witness conversations even plausibly confidential.
Little is known about the intended audience of John within the text; however it is known the purpose was belief that Jesus is the Christ (John 20:31). Some favor regards him writing to some Johannine community as the address for the Johannine Epistles. Strauss argues for this community due to fact that the opposition Jesus faces in the Gospel parallels the opposition the readers are facing. The proposal of this recipient is in no way intended to diminish the greater purpose of the book and the greater audience (everyone).
The Fourth Gospels opens with the incarnation of Christ, but not in a narrative manner such as Matthew or Luke. John uniquely articulates Christ’s eternality and deity in his prologue setting about his purpose immediately: Jesus is the Christ. Following the prologue, five narratives point again to the deity of Christ before the selected passage: the proclamation of John the Baptist (1:19-34), the calling of the disciples (1:35-51), the first sign (2:1-12), the cleansing of the temple (2:13-22), and the prologue to the Nicodemus Narrative (2:23-25). Following the selected passage, Jesus continues to answer Nicodemus’s incredulity in one of the most beautiful and well known self attestations of Christ. In this monologue, Christ gives his origins, foreshadows his death, and proclaims his purpose.
The preceding narrative is key to understanding the selected text. The major Christological theme of John 2:23-25 is Christ is omniscient. This theme continues in the selected text.
I. Arrival of Nicodemus (vv. 1-2)
“Then there was a certain man from the Pharisees (his name was Nicodemus), a ruler of the Jews.”
“Then” closely connects this narrative with the previous narrative. John 2:23-25 establishes the prologue for the Nicodemus Narrative. The prologue shows Christ’s omniscience and ends by explaining Jesus “knew what was in man” (John 2:25). Then a certain man came to Jesus. The word “certain” is used to bring about the comparison between the two texts: Jesus knows what is in all men including the certain man. This would show that Nicodemus came intrigued by the signs (v. That minor narrative of omniscience also builds the foundations for other conversations with the Samaritan woman, the Gentile official, and the man at the pool of Bethesda.
So in some sense, Nicodemus believed, but Christ did not entrust himself to him. Such as in the previous text, Nicodemus came as a representative of the people mentioned in the previous text. And a good representative at that, for he was a Pharisee and knew the law well. Not only was he a mere Pharisee, he was also a part of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin were the ruling council of the Jewish people. Nicodemus appears two more times in John’s Gospel as his faith in Christ seems to grow (John 7:45-52, 19:38-42).
“He came to him during the night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you have come as a teacher from God. For no one is able to execute the signs that you are performing, unless God is with him.’”
First, the text shows Nicodemus coming to Christ which again illustrates that Christ did not entrust himself to him, for Christ did not go to Nicodemus. “Night” indicates the appearance outside rather that the time on the clock (cf. footnote 5). This further explains that Nicodemus was unsure of his faith in Christ as Messiah. He came at night for any belief he may have had was in Christ’s signs and not Christ himself (John 2:23). Intriguingly, Nicodemus addresses Christ as “Rabbi,” only recognizing him as teacher. For this reason, Nicodemus places a high regard on knowledge (for he was the teacher of Israel, John 3:10). This establishes a major contrast in the text which again emphasizes the deity of Christ. Nicodemus has a high view of knowledge, but Christ has all knowledge.
Now, the assessment as Jesus as merely teacher from God, denies the more positive of him being the Messiah, the Prophet, or even a prophet. At the same time, it also denies the lesser options of Jesus being from Satan. Overall, Nicodemus is the best humanity can offer (from a Jewish worldview) especially in knowledge of the law; yet, his knowledge and reasoning is still tainted by the curse of sin.
II. The Dialogue (vv. 3-4)
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘I assure you that unless someone is born again, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.’”
Again, Christ affirms his omniscience with his response. He knows what is in man (John 2:25); accordingly, he knows what Nicodemus does not know. Being a Pharisee (especially the teacher) means that he believes himself to be blameless under the law (Phil. 3:6). Nicodemus knows the law, follows the law, and teaches the law. Sadly, the law does not justify (Gal. 2:16). Consequently, Jesus reveals this flaw in explaining the beauty of regeneration. For human effort or reasoning can never give a man rebirth, only the Holy Spirit can do such a work. No amount of Biblical mental assent or heart-wrenching stories or scares of hell can convert a man, only the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.
As mentioned in the translation, “again” in this verse also has the meaning of “from above” (cf. footnote 11). These reflect both truths that Christ is trying to present. “Again” presents the idea of complete change, and “from above” shows this is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Jewish eschatological understanding of rebirth (especially among the Pharisees) was the renewal at the end of the age. Interestingly, the “not able” is in indicative present tense. Seeing the kingdom and renewal were no longer eschatological, for the kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). How is it that someone has a glimpse of the Kingdom? Primarily, decisions, knowledge, repentance, faith, and works do not cause one to see the Kingdom. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit causes one to be able to see the kingdom of God.
“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How is a man able to be born again? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’”
Again, Nicodemus is contrasted with Christ’s omniscience. Nicodemus does not know. Again John emphasizes the ability of man with Nicodemus’s question: “How is a man able to be born again?” This also shows Nicodemus’s lack of faith. He was able to believe the miracles and signs that he saw, but was incredulous toward the miracle of regeneration which he had not seen. Even Nicodemus’s response exemplifies Christ’s point. Jesus gives teaching from the kingdom of God which Nicodemus is not able to understand due to the fact that he is not born again.
III. The Monologue (vv. 5-8)
“Jesus answered, ‘I assure you that unless one is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’”
One of the most confusing ideas to interpret is the meaning “water and the Spirit.” One idea is that water refers to physical birth; however, rebirth is accomplished in water and the Spirit, not water then the Spirit. D.A. Carson advocates a view that the water is used in a figurative sense linking it with how the Tanakh uses the water and Spirit together. This idea would be more likely due to the fact that Christ points out Nicodemus is the teacher of Israel. As a Pharisee, Nicodemus would be teaching the entire Tanakh along with interpretations.
Water in this case would not refer to baptism as a sign of the New Covenant (cf. Rom. 6:3-4). Water is used in the figurative sense such as its cleansing power. Unlike the daily ritual washings of Judaism, the believer is washed once by the Holy Spirit which begins a continue process of sanctification growing in repentance and faith. John 2:6 shows these purification rites passing as the New Covenant begins, being a type of the true purification in the Holy Spirit.
So given the example comes to again, what ‘fixes’ the fall? Nicodemus is the best man can offer having vast knowledge of the scriptures. Christ does not mention any idea of grace given beforehand, nor does He mention the Gospel as modern evangelists would understand it, nor does he give a special call to Nicodemus (in fact He does not entrust Himself to him). Christ talks about the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration allows the entering (most likely semantic variation) into the kingdom of God.
“The one who is born of the flesh is flesh and the one who is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
John often establishes dualities in his writings. Light and darkness (John 1:4-5), life and death (John 3:16), from above and from the earth (John 3:31), and, in this case, the flesh and the Spirit. These two terms reflect the nature of humanity: what humans are. John gives two options and nothing in between. This reflects the nature of the fall and again our ability. What can our flesh produce? Nothing but the flesh. The only one who can produce any good is the Spirit. Balthasar Hubmaier argues that both man and God work together among the reception of the Word and the work of the Spirit. However, as the Beloved Apostle sets out in his dualities, there is no middle ground. The flesh does not give birth to spiritual things with the assistance of the Spirit; but, the Spirit gives birth to spiritual things. How does anyone do what is of the law? The law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14). Only the sole work of the Spirit overcomes the death in the fall. The beauty of regeneration develops beyond creation in that it takes something utterly hopeless and dead and makes that new rather than simply nothing. Did God work with nothing to create? No, for synergism cannot apply to nothing. How can it apply to that which is less than nothing? Nothing cannot rebel; nothing cannot be dead; nothing cannot hate God; nothing cannot “not seek for God.” If God created ex nihilo by Himself, then how can one say he who is rebellious, dead, hateful, and rejecting somehow works with God? Molding formless clay is simple; however, trying to mold clay that is already hardened is a more difficult work.
“Do not be amazed that I said, ‘It is necessary for you to be born again.’”
Christ’s command not only insists his omniscience, but also his authority over the teacher of Israel. Not only just over Nicodemus, but the plural ‘you’ indicates over all Pharisees and the contingent τις (v. 3) shows Christ has authority over all people. He commands all to be born again. Christ knows more than the best humanity can offer and has more authority than the best humanity can offer because, “He who comes from above is above all” (John 3:31).
“The wind blows where it desires, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it come from and where it goes; in this manner is everyone who is born from the Spirit.”
Christ again hits on the teacher’s lack of knowledge in this example of the wind. “The wind blows” shows the Spirit’s action. “Where it desires” shows how the Spirit operates. Just as Nicodemus could understand the miracles, but not the miracle worker; so can he understand the effect of the wind but not how to control it. Connecting this to regeneration, D.A. Carson points out, “The person who is ‘born of the Spirit’ can be neither controlled not understood by persons of but one birth.”
Building a good foundation from men of old, one understands regeneration as God’s work acted out by the Holy Spirit. However a brief exploration of each repairing of man’s inability needs to be explored to discover the order of regeneration in salvation. First, prevenient grace is supported, according to Geisler, by three main texts: Titus 2:11, 2 Cor. 8:9, and Rom. 2:4. Sadly, these verses have nothing to do with the idea of prevenient grace. Overall, looking especially at Titus 2:11, one can see the idea of common grace: Christ has satisfied the wrath of God for every human (1 John 2:1). Those with synergist presuppositions take this to mean Christ has plausibly satisfied the wrath for every man; however, the verse maintains the exact opposite. Those with monergist presuppositions try to understand the meaning of “the whole of the world” as only the elect; however, the verse maintains the exact opposite. The Bible speaks against universalism; so, what could this verse mean? Christ is (definite) the savior of every single human; however Christ especially saves his Church (1 Tim. 4:10).
Anabaptists have commonly cited Romans 1:16 and the Parable of the Sower as common proofs that the preached Gospel enables total depraved men to chose or reject God. Opposing, Romans 1:16 is addressed to “everyone who believes.” The Parable of the Sower begs the question, “who prepared the soil?” For soil does not prepare itself. If salvation works in this manner, that is, it rests in man’s hands, does that not worsen the position of the unreached? Praise be to God that he is sovereign and salvation rests in his hands (Rev. 7:10).
Finally the most interesting opinion is that effectual calling brings about repentance and faith which leads to regeneration. This view is similar to Prevenient Grace and the Gospel Call; however, the Effectual Call only goes to those who believe, and, as the name suggests, effectively brings about salvation (conversion (repentance and faith) then regeneration). God exerts special effort in this effective calling which would lead to repentance. However, the effectual calling brings about regeneration which brings about repentance and faith. Lazarus exemplifies this when Christ effectively calls him, then he comes to life, and is in the state of living (conversion).
Whatever the case may be, the Church must be most guarded against evangelicals who sell their God with some decision then pronounce people to be saved with some superstitious method; thereby making the listeners two times the child of Hell. Believers should faithfully preach the Word, not sell out to modern American consumerism. One cannot simply buy God, as Simon Magus himself knows very well. Everyone must be born again by the work of the Holy Spirit to presently see the Kingdom of God.
Allison, Gregg R. Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine: a Companion to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.
Augustine. Against Two Letters of the Pelagians. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887. Accessed November 3, 2013. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1509.htm.
Arndt, William F., and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Edited by Frederick William Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. (abv. as BDAG)
Beasley-Murray, George R. Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 36, John (second Edition). 2 ed. Leicester, England.: Thomas Nelson, 1999.
Berding, Kenneth, and Matt Williams, eds. What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: a Survey of Their Writings. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2008.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Gospel of John: an Expositional Commentary. Pbk. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005.
Borchert, Gerald L. New American Commentary Vol 25A: John 1-11. Nashville: Holman Reference, 2002.
Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991.
Cyprian. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885. Accessed November 3, 2013. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.pdf.
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998.
Geisler, Norman L. Systematic Theology: in One Volume. One ed. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2011.
Gundry, Robert H. A Survey of the New Testament. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.
Harvey, Van A. A Handbook of Theological Terms: Their Meaning and Background Exposed in Over 300 Articles. Reprint ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Touchstone, 1997.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John (the New International Commentary On the New Testament). Revised ed. New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
Josephus The Works of Flavius Josephus. N.p.: Trans by William Whiston, 1737. Accessed November 5, 2013. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/index.htm.
Strauss, Mark L. Four Portraits, One Jesus: an Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007.
Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. Enlarged ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1997.
Whitlock, Michael. “God’s Immanent Attributes.” Lecture, Truett McConnell College, Cleveland, GA, October, 30, 2013.
Williams, George H., and Angel M. Mergal, eds. Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers (library of Christian Classics). Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox Press, 1957.
 A marker linking narrative segments (BDAG 213).
 This word added to bring about the strong connection between this verse and 2:25 (Wallace, 229, 597).
 The parenthetic nominative is the subject of a clause embedded in another clause (Wallace, 54).
 Member of the Sanhedrin. Cf. Lk 18:18, 23:13, 35,24:20 (BDAG 140).
 The genitive is used to emphasize the condition of the time Nicodemus came (night/darkness) rather than a particular time (dative) (Wallace, 123-4). Cf. John 19:39
 An honorary title for outstanding teachers of the law (BDAG 902).
 Perfect with a present force (Wallace 580).
 Iterative present (Wallace, 521).
 Instantaneous present indicating no progressive aspect (Wallace 517).
 Strong affirmation of what is being said (BDAG 53).
 This is designedly ambiguous and suggests also a transcendent experience (BDAG 92).
 Translated as such to include the understood negative response.
 Prohibitive subjunctive (Wallace 469); not a continuous present (Wallace 717).
 This ‘you’ is plural
 Gnomic present (Wallace 524).
 BDAG 741-2
 All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the English Standard Version.
 Gregg R. Allison, Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine: a Companion to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 738.
 Gregg R. Allison, Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine: a Companion to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 497.
 John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (n.p.:, n.d.), under “2.2.18-21,” accessed November 3, 2013, http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/calvin_discernment.html.
 Gregg R. Allison, Historical Theology: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine: a Companion to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011),483-9
 Van A. Harvey, A Handbook of Theological Terms: Their Meaning and Background Exposed in Over 300 Articles, Reprint ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Touchstone, 1997), 38.
 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology: in One Volume, One ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2011), 843.
 Michael Whitlock “God’s Immanent Attributes” (lecture, Truett McConnell College, Cleveland, GA, October, 30, 2013).
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 702.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998), 943.
 Kenneth Berding and Matt Williams, eds., What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: a Survey of Their Writings (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2008), 11.
 Mark L. Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus: an Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 130.
 Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 21-31.
 The Works of Flavius Josephus (n.p.: Trans by William Whiston, 1737), under “Antiquities XIII 10.5,” accessed November 5, 2013, http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/index.htm.
 Kenneth Berding and Matt Williams, eds., What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: a Survey of Their Writings (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2008), 88.
 Mark L. Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus: an Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 301.
 D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 185.
 James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: an Expositional Commentary, Pbk. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 186.
 James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: an Expositional Commentary, Pbk. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 195.
 Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (the New International Commentary On the New Testament), Revised ed. (New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 187.
 D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 186-7.
 George R. Beasley-Murray, Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 36, John (second Edition), 2 ed. (Leicester, England.: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 47-8. Explains the LXX rendering of Job 14:14 in support of this.
 D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 190.
 James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: an Expositional Commentary, Pbk. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 199.
 D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 194. Cf. Num. 19:17-19, Psalms 51:9-10, Is. 32:15, Jer. 2:13, Joel 2:28-29, et. al.
 George H. Williams and Angel M. Mergal, eds., Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers (library of Christian Classics)(Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox Press, 1957), 123.
 I do not mean to say that humans are less than nothing in accord to worth but in accord to their disposition towards God.
 D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 197.
 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology: in One Volume, One ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2011), 843-4
 Michael Whitlock “God’s Immanent Attributes” (lecture, Truett McConnell College, Cleveland, GA, October, 30, 2013).
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998), 945.Accordingly scripture he uses to back this view include Acts 16:31 and Acts 2:38 where Paul and Peter are commanding people to repent and believe. To say either way (effective calling to bring regeneration and vis versa) would seem too much reading into the texts. In regards with discussion with Erickson, it would seem odd for Paul or Peter to command a person to be regenerated (for this is a complete work of God, one cannot control his own rebirth such as his first birth). Therefore the imperative of repentance and faith would not unsubstantiate the idea of the work of the Spirit to bring about that faith and repentance.