What does John 1:13 mean?
ESV: who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
NIV: children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
NASB: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.
CSB: who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
NLT: They are reborn — not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
KJV: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Verse Commentary:
Verse 13 is this gospel's first mention of being "born" into the Kingdom of God. The term "born again" has become a cliché, and one many people misunderstand. It's an important idea, though, because of what it implies. When a child is born, all of the effort, energy, and pain is endured by the mother. And yet, it is the child who experiences the most change. Salvation is exactly the same: God's pain and effort result in our benefit. Saying that this does not occur "by blood" means it is not a natural occurrence. Saying that it is not "of the will of the flesh" means it is not a matter of human decisions. This rebirth is entirely the work of God, and according to His will. Our salvation is not dependent on anything in our human nature. This is good, because if it was, we'd all be lost forever! Jesus will clarify this concept during His conversation with Nicodemus, in John chapter 3.
Verse Context:
John 1:1–18 is a poetic introduction of Jesus Christ. Jesus is referred to using the Greek word Logos, meaning “The Word.” This passage clearly describes Jesus as identical to God, and co-creator with God. These verses summarize Jesus’ ministry and mission on Earth. The passage also explains how John the Baptist (a different John from the author of this gospel) was sent ahead of Christ to prepare for His arrival.
Chapter Summary:
The first chapter of John introduces Jesus as “the Word,” from the Greek Logos. This chapter clearly describes Jesus as identical to God. After this prologue, the chapter describes Jesus recruiting the first of His disciples, as well as a conversation between John the Baptist and the Pharisees. There are seven names for Christ in this chapter, including “The Son of God,” “The Word,” and “The King of Israel.”
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of the gospel of John equates Christ with God, and introduces John the Baptist. The Baptist specifically points to Jesus as the Promised One. Jesus collects the first five of His disciples. In this chapter, Jesus is given seven descriptive names, including “The Word,” “The Son of God,” and “The King of Israel.” This chapter sets the stage for the rest of the gospel, by giving the reader a sense of who Jesus truly is, and why He has come. The rest of the gospel is an exploration of the claims made in this initial passage.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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