What does John 3:7 mean?
ESV: Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
NIV: You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
NASB: Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
CSB: Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again.
NLT: So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
KJV: Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
NKJV: Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
Verse Commentary:
Earlier, Jesus stated that a person had to be "born again" to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Then He clarified that this is because of the difference between "the flesh" and "the Spirit" (John 3:6).

The term "flesh" is often used in the Bible as a reference to our human nature. All people are, by default, opposed to God and disobedient to Him. It is impossible for those who have a nature of "the flesh" to relate to God. It is also impossible for the flesh to change its own nature. The only way for a person to change his nature is through a rebirth—this means being reborn through the Spirit of God.

This is why Jesus says Nicodemus should not be surprised. Flesh cannot change itself. It is the same since birth. Yet flesh cannot be part of the kingdom of God. So, logically, a person must be given a new nature—"born again"—to make this change.
Verse Context:
John 2:24—3:15 describes a meeting between Jesus and a Pharisee. The last two verses of chapter two highlight the fact that Jesus knew men better than they knew themselves. Nicodemus was the ancient equivalent of a politician, cleric, and professor all rolled into one. Jesus proves that this man doesn't understand religion as well as he'd like to think. In contrast to the loud, public spectacle of clearing the temple, this encounter is a private, nighttime meeting. Their actual conversation was probably longer than the summary recorded here.
Chapter Summary:
John chapter 3 is one of the most important passages in the entire gospel. Many crucial ideas are explained here, including the role of Jesus as Savior. After the loud, public commotion at the temple, John transitions to a quiet, nighttime discussion. The speakers are Jesus and a Pharisee, Nicodemus, who is sincerely interested in understanding Jesus' ministry. These verses make it clear that Christ—and Christ alone—is the means of salvation for the entire world. This text also states that those who reject Jesus are rejecting God.
Chapter Context:
The gospel of John intends to prove that Jesus is God. Chapter 3 contains some of the most direct, most important concepts in Christianity. The ideas of spiritual rebirth and the necessity of belief in Christ are reinforced by the rest of the information in this gospel. John continues to use contrast, moving from the loud and public temple cleansing to the quiet of this conversation. After Jesus injects humility into a powerful leader, chapter 4 will transition again, as Jesus gives dignity to an outcast stranger.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. 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"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in 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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