John 3:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 3:12, NIV: "I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?"

John 3:12, ESV: "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

John 3:12, KJV: "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"

John 3:12, NASB: "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

John 3:12, NLT: "But if you don't believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?"

John 3:12, CSB: "If I have told you about earthly things and you don't believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?"

What does John 3:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Because Jesus is God, and was with God in the beginning (John 1:1), He has direct knowledge of what He's claiming. Jesus states that if a person won't believe His words about things on earth, they won't believe His words about things in heaven. There are two applications of this. First, some spiritual ideas are fairly easy, and others are not. If a person won't accept the basics of Christianity, such as salvation, they aren't going to grasp more complex ideas, such as the Trinity. This is why some debates over spiritual issues need to be kept between mature believers.

Second, if a person is so skeptical of Christianity that they won't even believe the mundane aspects of it, they have no hope of understanding the gospel. It is one thing for a non-believer to doubt miracles or the existence of God. It's another to be so hardened against God that even the non-spiritual ideas are resisted. This is most easily seen in people who give grossly inaccurate claims about the Bible as reasons why they don't believe. If they won't accept simple, everyday facts, they certainly won't accept miraculous ones.