The Year of our Lord Jesus Christ
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The term “born again” has been used for over two millennia. It’s a good term. A Bible term. A term that Jesus used to teach an unseen spiritual truth to those who can only see the physical. He uses a physical word “birth” coupled with “again.” Everyone that can read can understand the word “birth” this means a new person has been brought into the world. Parents, grandparents, family members, and friends of all degrees of friendship to the parents rejoice in the birth of a child. “Again” means another time or once more. To be “born again” means to be born once more.
The unusualness of this term did not escape the Savior. He knew that there would be confusion, so He explained. Please read the entire chapter of John 3 to gain the full grasp of all that this term means and how it happens. While reading this chapter beware of one injudicious tendency. A tendency that is rampant among Bible readers and theologians of all stripes. That tendency is to prejudge the teachings of this chapter based on additional Scriptures. While it is true, very true, that no part of the Bible stands alone, and each verse can be verified and understood based upon study of other verses. It is also very true that verses wrongly applied can destroy the overall meaning of the topic at hand.
Remember this, Jesus was speaking to one man in John 3, Nicodemus. The Lord gave Nicodemus everything in this conversation that Nicodemus needed to understand this thing called “born again.” This means that everything you need to understand about being born again can be found in this chapter. Other portions of Scripture agree with everything the Lord said, but to use other portions to explain that which Jesus taught Nicodemus seem superfluous.
Just as John 3:16 is simple to understand, so is this thing of being “born again.” The Lord explains it thoroughly. Put it this way, if the only part of the Bible a person has is John 3 they can be “born again”. Nothing can, or should, be added to it or taken away from it. This is true with all Scripture. For certainly, all Scripture stands alone, and all Scripture stands together. If the Lord needed additional information for Nicodemus to understand what it means to be “born again” isn’t it logical that Jesus would have given him that additional information?
Just trust all that the Savior said, it really is that simple. To make it otherwise leans toward nothing more than theological subterfuge. Nobody knows where this phrase originated but it’s right: “Born once die twice; born twice die once.” After all Jesus said: Ye must be born again.
Until next time,
William T. Howe, Ph.D.