1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
There was a man named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish religious council. He belonged to the Pharisee [religious sect].
2The same came to him by night, and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”
He went to see Jesus at night, [to talk to him about God's kingdom]. He said to Jesus, “Teacher, [we believe that] you are a teacher who has come from God. [We believe this because] we know that someone could perform the miracles you are doing only if God were helping him.”
3Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”
Jesus replied to him, “Listen to this carefully: Unless people are born again and [have a new life from God], they cannot even see the place where God rules [MET]!”
4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”
Then Nicodemus said to him, “(No one can be born when he is old!/How can anyone be born when he is old?) [RHQ] (There is no way he can enter his mother's womb and be born a second time!/How can he enter his mother's womb and be born a second time?) [RHQ]”
5Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom.
Jesus answered, “Note this: Being born naturally is not [enough]; people need to also be born [spiritually] by God's Spirit. If that does not happen, they cannot experience God ruling [MET] [their lives].
6That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Humans give birth to humans. But those who are born [again ] as a result of what [God's ] Spirit [does receive a new ] spiritual [nature from God ].
7Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’
Do not be surprised about my telling you that you must be born again [and have a new life from God].
8The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
[Let me illustrate]: The wind blows wherever it wants to blow. You hear its sound, but you do not know where the wind comes from or where it is going. Similarly, those [who do not know God cannot understand/control/predict] how people are born again as a result of what God's spirit [does].”
9Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?”
Nicodemus replied to him, “How can that happen?”
10Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things?
Jesus replied to him, “You [(sg)] are a [well-known] teacher among [us] Israelite people, so (I am surprised that you do not understand these things!/how is it that you do not understand these things?) [RHQ]
11Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness.
Listen to this carefully: (My disciples and I/I) tell you [(pl)] about the things that my disciples and I have seen and know [are true], but you [(pl)] do not admit that what my disciples and I are saying [is true].
12If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
I have told you about the things [that happen here] on earth that are true, but you [(pl)] do not believe me. So if I tell you [(sg)] about things [that happen] in heaven, (you certainly will not believe me!/how will you believe me?) [RHQ]
13No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
I am the only one who has gone up to heaven; no one else has gone up there. I am also the one who came down from heaven. [So I know what happens there].
14As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
[Long ago when the Israelite people rebelled against God] in the desolate area, [God sent poisonous snakes to bite them]. But when Moses lifted up [on a pole] the [model of a] poisonous snake, [everyone who looked at that model was healed from their snake bites]. Similarly, [even though I] am the one who came from heaven, [some day people] will lift me up [on a cross to kill me].
15that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (aiōnios g166)
As a result, everyone who believes/trusts in me will have eternal life.” (aiōnios g166)
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (aiōnios g166)
God loved us people [MTY] in the world so much that he gave his only Son [as a sacrifice for us], in order that everyone who believes in him would not be separated from God forever. Instead, they would have eternal life. (aiōnios g166)
17For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
When God sent his Son into the world, his purpose was not to punish the [people in] [MTY] the world for their sins. Instead, he sent him in order that they might be saved by him {he might save them} [from being] ( [guilty/punished]) [for their sins].
18He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
Everyone who trusts in his Son, [God says that they] will not be punished {that he will not punish them}. But God has already [said that] everyone who does not trust in his Son will be punished {that he will punish everyone who does not trust in his Son}, because they have not trusted in what his only Son [has done for them].
19This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.
The [one who was like a] light [MET] [to reveal God's truth to us] came into the world. But people loved doing what was [evil, like] darkness [MET] [is evil], instead of loving the [one who was like a] light. That is the reason [God will] judge people [and condemn them].
20For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.
Everyone who does what is evil hates the [one who is like a] light, and they will not come to the [one who is like a] light, because it would be shown { [the one who is like a light] would show} that their deeds [are evil, and he would rebuke them].
21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”
But those who live according to [God's] truth come to the [one who is like a] light, in order that it may be seen clearly {that people may see clearly} that the things they have done, they did them because [they have depended] on God.
22After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them and baptized.
Some time later Jesus and we disciples went to Judea district. He stayed with us there and [directed us as we] baptized people.
23John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized;
John [the Baptizer] was also baptizing people. He was doing that at Aenon [village] near Salim [town in Samaria district], because there were many springs in that area. [Many] people kept coming [to John] and were being baptized {he was baptizing them}.
24for John was not yet thrown into prison.
That happened before John was put {they put John} in prison.
25Therefore a dispute arose on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification.
Then some of John's disciples and a certain Jew started arguing about the Jewish rituals of washing things [to make them acceptable to God].
26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, he baptizes, and everyone is coming to him.”
Then those disciples went to John and said to him, “Teacher, [do you remember] the man who was with you when you were baptizing people on the other side of the Jordan River? He is the one you were telling us about. Well, now he is baptizing people, and many people are going to him [instead of coming to us]!”
27John answered, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.
John replied, “A person can become [important] only if God [MTY] permits it. [So] we [should not be jealous about Jesus being popular]!
28You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’
You yourselves can verify what I said. I told you that I am not (the Messiah/God's promised king). Instead, I [told you that] I was sent {that [God] sent me} to prepare the way for him.
29He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full.
[Let me illustrate] [MET]: [He is like a] ( [bridegroom/man who is being married]), [and I am like his friend]. The friend of the bridegroom stands there and waits [for him to come]. That friend is very happy when he hears the bridegroom's voice [when he arrives]. Similarly, I am very happy [about what you have told me].
30He must increase, but I must decrease.
It is necessary for Jesus to become more important [by making more disciples than I have], and for me to become less [important].”
31He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
[Jesus] came from heaven. He is more important than anyone else. Those who are born from [parents here] on earth [MTY] are just humans, and they speak about things [that happen here] on the earth. But since Jesus came from heaven, his [words are] more important than anyone else's.
32What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness.
He tells people what he has seen and what he heard [in heaven], but very few people [HYP] listen to what he says.
33He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.
Those who have accepted what he has said verify that what God has said is true.
34For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure.
[We know it is true] because [Jesus], the one God sent, speaks the message of God. [That is also true] because God causes his Spirit to live [in Jesus] to completely [direct everything he says and does].
35The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.
God loves his Son, and has caused him to have control/power over everything.
36One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (aiōnios g166)
Those who trust in [God's] Son have eternal life. But those who reject God's Son will never have [eternal] life. Instead, God is angry with them [and he will surely punish them]. (aiōnios g166)