Gospel Lection March 16, 2014; John 3:1-17, Comments on the Greek Text

Gospel Lection March 16, 2014

John 3:1-17, Comments on the Greek Text

Jn 3:1 Ἦν δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων[A]· There was a man from the Pharisees—Nicodemus [was] his name—a ruler of the Jews.
Jn 3:2 οὗτος ἦλθεν πρὸς αὐτὸν νυκτὸς[B] 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. This one came to him [during the] night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God [as] a teacher, for no one is able to do these signs that you are doing, unless God is with him.”
Jn 3:3 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν[C], οὐ δύναται ἰδεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ. Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from above/again, he [or she] is not able to see the kingdom of God.”
Jn 3:4 λέγει πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Νικόδημος· Πῶς δύναται ἄνθρωπος γεννηθῆναι γέρων ὤν; μὴ[D] δύναται εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν καὶ γεννηθῆναι; Nicodemus says to him, “How can someone be born while being old?  He [or she] is not able to enter into the womb of his [or her] mother a second time and to be born, is he [or she]?”
Jn 3:5 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἐξ ὕδατος[E] καὶ πνεύματος, οὐ δύναται εἰσελθεῖν[F] εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from water and Spirit, he [or she] is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.
Jn 3:6 τὸ γεγεννημένον[G] ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς σάρξ ἐστιν, καὶ τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος πνεῦμά ἐστιν. What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the Spirit is spirit.
Jn 3:7 μὴ θαυμάσῃς ὅτι εἶπόν σοι Δεῖ ὑμᾶς γεννηθῆναι ἄνωθεν. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again/from above.’
Jn 3:8 τὸ πνεῦμα[H] ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ’ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως[I] ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος. The wind/Spirit blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but you do not know from where it comes and where it goes.  Thus is each who is one born from the Spirit.”
Jn 3:9 ἀπεκρίθη Νικόδημος καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Πῶς δύναται ταῦτα γενέσθαι;[J] Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can these things be?”
Jn 3:10 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Σὺ εἶ ὁ[K] διδάσκαλος τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ταῦτα οὐ γινώσκεις; Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things?
Jn 3:11 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι ὅτι ὃ οἴδαμεν λαλοῦμεν καὶ ὃ ἑωράκαμεν μαρτυροῦμεν, καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἡμῶν οὐ λαμβάνετε.[L] Truly, truly I say to you, “What we know, we speak, and what we have seen, we bear witness [to], and y’all do not receive our testimony.
Jn 3:12 εἰ τὰ ἐπίγεια εἶπον ὑμῖν καὶ οὐ πιστεύετε, πῶς ἐὰν εἴπω ὑμῖν τὰ ἐπουράνια πιστεύσετε; If I told y’all earthly things and y’all do not believe, how will y’all believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Jn 3:13 καὶ οὐδεὶς ἀναβέβηκεν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. And no one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
Jn 3:14 καὶ καθὼς Μωϋσῆς ὕψωσεν τὸν ὄφιν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, οὕτως ὑψωθῆναι δεῖ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, And just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
Jn 3:15 ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ἐν αὐτῷ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον[M]. so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
Jn 3:16 Οὕτως[N] γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ[O] ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλὰ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. For God so loved the world that he gave the only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not be destroyed, but might have eternal life.
Jn 3:17 οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα κρίνῃ[P] τὸν κόσμον, ἀλλ’ ἵνα σωθῇ[Q] ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ. For God did not send the son into the world in order that he might judge the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

[A] There is a big debate in Johannine scholarship over whether this should be translated “Jews” or “Judeans.”

[B] Genitive case with expressions of time denotes time-within-which.

[C] this word can mean either “from above” or “again.”  The drama of the scene arises from the fact that Jesus means it in both ways, but Nicodemus only understands it as “again,” missing the notion of birth from God.

[D] The expected answer to this question, of course, is “no,” as is always the case with questions using the negative μη.

[E] There is some debate about whether this is a reference to the water of birth or of baptism.  I am inclined to think it’s the latter, and the two form a hendiadys—two ways of speaking about the same thing.

[F] Note the shift from “seeing” in verse 3 to “entering” here.

[G] Note the neuter tenses!  Interestingly, this is not referring to persons.

[H] Note the double meaning that is hard to translate into English.

[I] “Thus” in the sense of “This is the way it is with”

[J] Nicodemus’ last words in this chapter.

[K] Hard to know whether this article should be emphasized or not—the teacher of Israel.

[L] Note the shift to the plural tenses throughout this verse.

[M] The adjective doesn’t focus primarily on “eternal” in the sense of endless, but rather as a life characteristic of the age to come.

[N] Two ways to render this:  (1)  God loved the world in this way, namely that he gave . . . “  (2) God loved the world to such an extent that he gave . . .”  Either is grammatically possible.

[O] Not “only-begotten” but “only” or “unique.”

[P] The verb can have either a neutral connotation “judge” or a negative one, “condemn.”

[Q] One might even consider translating this as “healed.”

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