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Nicodemus replied,[a] “How can these things be?”[b] 10 Jesus answered,[c] “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand these things?[d] 11 I tell you the solemn truth,[e] we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but[f] you people[g] do not accept our testimony.[h]

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Footnotes

  1. John 3:9 tn Grk “Nicodemus answered and said to him.”
  2. John 3:9 snHow can these things be?” is Nicodemus’ answer. It is clear that at this time he has still not grasped what Jesus is saying. Note also that this is the last appearance of Nicodemus in the dialogue. Having served the purpose of the author, at this point he disappears from the scene. As a character in the narrative, he has served to illustrate the prevailing Jewish misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching about the necessity of a new, spiritual birth from above. Whatever parting words Nicodemus might have had with Jesus, the author does not record them.
  3. John 3:10 tn Grk “Jesus answered and said to him.”
  4. John 3:10 sn Jesus’ question “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand these things?” implies that Nicodemus had enough information at his disposal from the OT scriptures to have understood Jesus’ statements about the necessity of being born from above by the regenerating work of the Spirit. Isa 44:3-5 and Ezek 37:9-10 are passages Nicodemus might have known which would have given him insight into Jesus’ words. Another significant passage which contains many of these concepts is Prov 30:4-5.
  5. John 3:11 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”
  6. John 3:11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to show the contrast present in the context.
  7. John 3:11 tn The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied in the translation to indicate that the verb is second person plural (referring to more than Nicodemus alone).
  8. John 3:11 sn Note the remarkable similarity of Jesus’ testimony to the later testimony of the Apostle John himself in 1 John 1:2: “And we have seen and testify and report to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was revealed to us.” This is only one example of how thoroughly the author’s own thoughts were saturated with the words of Jesus (and also how difficult it is to distinguish the words of Jesus from the words of the author in the Fourth Gospel).

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