Malankara World

Bible Commentary / Bible Study

3rd Sunday After Denho

Geneva Notes/ Commentary on John 3:1-17

From the Geneva Notes

Joh 3:1
3:1 There {1} was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a {a}
ruler of the Jews:

(1) There are none sometimes more unlearned than the learned,
but the learned as well as the unlearned must desire wisdom
from Christ only.
(a) A man of great estimation and a ruler amongst the Jews.

Joh 3:2
3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi,
we know that thou art a {b} teacher come from God: for no
man can do these miracles that thou doest, {c} except God be
with him.

(b) We know that you are sent from God to teach us.
(c) But he in whom some part of the excellency of God
appears. And if Nicodemus had rightly known Christ, he
would not only have said that God was with him, but in
him, as Paul does in 2Co 1:19.

Joh 3:3
3:3 {2} Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say
unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot {d} see the
{e} kingdom of God.

(2) The beginning of Christianity consists in this, that we
know ourselves not only to be corrupt in part, but to be
wholly dead in sin: so that our nature has need to be
created anew, with regard to its qualities, which can be
done by no other power, but by the divine and heavenly, by
which we were first created.
(d) That is, "go in", or "enter", as he expounds himself
below in Joh 3:5.
(e) The Church: for Christ shows here how we come to be
citizens and to have anything to do in the city of God.

Joh 3:4
3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How {f} can a man be born when he
is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's
womb, and be born?

(f) How can I who am old be born again? For Nicodemus
answers as if Christ's words were only addressed to

Joh 3:6
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is {g} flesh; and that which
is born of the Spirit is spirit.

(g) That is, fleshly, namely, wholly unclean and under the
wrath of God: and therefore this word "flesh" signifies
the corrupt nature of man: contrary to which is the
Spirit, that is, the man ingrafted into Christ through
the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose nature is
everlasting and immortal, though the strife of the flesh

Joh 3:8
3:8 The wind bloweth where it {h} 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

(h) With free and wandering blasts as it wishes.

Joh 3:9
3:9 {3} Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these
things be?

(3) The secret mystery of our regeneration which cannot be
comprehended by man's capacity, is perceived by faith, and
that in Christ only, because he is both God on earth, and
man in heaven, that is to say, man in such a way that he is
God also, and therefore almighty: and God in such a way
that he is man also, and therefore his power is made
manifest to us.

Joh 3:11
3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know,
and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our {i}

(i) You handle doubtful things even though you have no
solid basis for believing them, and yet men believe
you: but I teach those things that are of a truth and
well known, and you do not believe me.

Joh 3:13
3:13 And no {k} man {l} hath ascended up to heaven, but he that
came down from heaven, [even] {m} the Son of man which {n}
is in heaven.

(k) Only Christ can teach us heavenly things, for no man
ascends, etc.
(l) That is, has any spiritual light and understanding, or
ever had any, but only the Son of God who came down to
(m) Whereas he is said to have come down from heaven, this
must be understood as referring to his Godhead, and of
the manner of his conception: for Christ's birth upon
the earth was heavenly and not earthly, for he was
conceived by the Holy Spirit.
(n) That which is proper to the divinity of Christ, is here
spoken of the whole Christ, to show us that he is but
one person in which two natures are united.

Joh 3:16
3:16 {5} For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth {o} in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life.

(5) Nothing else but the free love of the Father is the
beginning of our salvation, and Christ is he in whom our
righteousness and salvation dwells: and faith is the
instrument or means by which we apprehend it, and
everlasting life is that which is set before us to
(o) It is not the same to believe in a thing, and to
believe about a thing, for we may not believe in anything
except in God alone, but we may believe about anything
whatever, says Nazianzene in his Oration of the Spirit.

Joh 3:17
3:17 {6} For God sent not his Son into the world {p} to condemn
the world; but that the {q} world through him might be

(6) Christ does not condemn, but rather despising Christ
(p) That is, to be the cause of the condemning of the
world, for indeed sins are the cause of death;
however, Christ will still judge the living and the
(q) Not only the people of the Jews, but whoever will
believe in him.

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