1

John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Knowing the 120 were born of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and that no one can enter into the Kingdom without a new birth, and aware that His disciples had no commission to baptize until after the Resurrection, where were the disciples born of the Water?

migrated from hermeneutics.stackexchange.com Jun 21 '15 at 2:50

This question came from our site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts.

1

A couple of points about your last paragraph. First, the recorded commissioning of the disciples to baptize was not at the Resurrection (that is, Easter Day), but at the Ascension some 40 days later. But since the Ascension preceded the day of Pentecost, by the time the 120 were born of the Spirit, the disciples had the commission to baptize. But the answer to the question, "where were the disciples baptized" is answered in proxy by the last verse of the Gospel of John:

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (RSV)

Is it not reasonable that the disciples would have been baptized before they were commissioned to tasks like the preaching mission in Matthew 10:5-15

These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomor′rah than for that town. (RSV)

1

Born of water here is not necessarily referring to baptism, but when considering the context of the surrounding verses would seem to be referring to the natural birth. In other words, We are first born a natural birth and then those who receive the Holy Spirit are born a second time with a spiritual birth. It follows then that every human is born of water, but those who have been born again are not only born of water, but also the Spirit. Not everyone is born again, but only those who are born of the Spirit.

When looking at any verse in the scriptures it is important to consider the context in which it is written. Verse 5 is talking about two births and it is further explained in verse 6 when it says: "That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Again, there are two births mentioned here, not just one. The first birth is a fleshly birth and the second birth a spiritual birth.

  • 2
    This is a common belief. Your answer would be much better if you indicate at least some of the Christian groups that believe it, and include a reference to an official or widely recognized source. Another view is that water baptism is meant, and I don't see any difficulty with the early believers having all been baptized; we do know that Jesus and/or some of His disciples baptized a number of people before His crucifixion and resurrection. – disciple Jun 21 '15 at 6:39
  • 1
    Saying that “Being Born Again” does not refer to Baptism, is in direct opposition to the teachings of the early Church. “Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated [reborn]: in the name of God the Father . . . and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing of water. For Christ said, ‘Except you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ . . . The reason for doing this, we have learned from the Apostles” Justin Martyr. C 100-165AD – Marc Jun 22 '15 at 12:13
  • Baptism is certainly an important symbolic act that represents being born again and because of that baptism with water is often used in the context of being born again. However, it is also possible to get baptized with water and not be born again. I also did not say that baptism never refers to being born again (or vice versa as you say), but was referring to the John 3 passage specifically. It is clear from that passage that Jesus is comparing the natural birth (in the flesh) with the spiritual birth (in the Spirit). See specifically verse 6. – kojow7 Jun 22 '15 at 22:53
  • Can you please provide a reference where being baptized with water and Spirit does not result in being born again. I believe I see your confusion, you are assuming by verse 6 that being born of water is being born as an infant and being born in the spirit (separate from the water), is being born again. In other words, you are making the same mistake as Nicode'mus, you are not seeing the connection of water in Spirit when God Creates. Read Gen 1:1-2 – Marc Jun 23 '15 at 2:11
  • I think you are confused as to what I am saying. I never said that "being baptized with water and Spirit does not result in being born again." – kojow7 Jun 23 '15 at 19:40
1

I think that Jesus's followers, being the Jews they were, would look at how Jesus's theology fits with the Torah. When Christ says "water and the Spirit," the first thing that pops in my head is Genesis (John's Gospel is like Genesis part II):

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The last sentence, "the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters," is one of the Torah passages I think Christ has in mind here. The world was created in water and Spirit, and must be reborn in water and Spirit.

The next thing that pops into my head is Noah's ark (which St. Peter in his first letter points out).

And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.

I connect this to Jesus's Baptism:

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The floodwaters of Baptism and the Spirit in the form of the Dove cause the world to be reborn. And this is very important, because before Creation can be born again, the Word Himself must be reborn. The Word was born eternally as Son of the the Father, and reborn as Son of Mary. His rebirth leads to the rebirth of the rest of creation (this is straight from St Leo the Great's Tomb, btw).

The Exodus comes to mind next:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

Israel was saved from slavery in Egypt by seawater and a strong east wind. Now, "spirit" is Latin for breath. The connection between wind and breath are obvious. The new Israel is saved from slavery in sin by water and the Spirit.

Christi pax,

Lucretius

0

Born of water and of the Spirit

John 3:3-6 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

In context the reference to water is seems to be natural physical human birth. Nicodemus misunderstands the reference to "born again" and Jesus contrasts the flesh (water at the first birth) with the Spirit (that which is received at the second birth). I do not see any application in these verses to baptism.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy