John 3:10-21



Israel’s teacher” is literally “the teacher of Israel

Notice the article is “the” and not “a”

Nicodemus then was a teacher and probably a very important one



amen” is used for the third time.

“we” is necessary in order that there be plural witness to the truth.   This is Jesus calling on other                                                                                                observers of these facts that know them to be true.

“we” is most likely the trinity, but could be to disciples who had experience the faith already.



“I” singular is returned to here.
“earthly things” refer to the current conversation and information that is understandable   to Nicodemus. 

  • This Greek phrase indicates things in the present state of fulfillment

“heavenly things refer to things not yet known to men but are soon to come in the church age.

  • This Greek phrase is not fulfilled but is still future.



Prov. 30:4  “Who has gone up to heaven and come down?                                                                                                                                                                    Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands?                                                                                                                                              Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak?                                                                                                                                                                                      Who as established all the ends of the earth?                                                                                                                                                                 What is his name, and the name of his son?  Tell me if you know!”


The words in the English “who is in heaven” are not in the best manuscripts and are probably not original.



Numbers 21 – Looking people where healed. 

“Lifted Up” refers to the crucifixion because:

1)      of the context

2)      John uses the verb uyow in 8:28, 12:32, 34  for the crucifixion

a.       John 12:323, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’                                                                                                      He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”


“believes” is in the present tense to indicate that at the point of belief the person posses eternal life.


“Life” – Colossians 3:3 says this life is “hidden with Christ in God”.  This life is unattainable and can not be found outside of Christ.


“Eternal” is aiwnioV means “pertaining to an age”

The Jewish had two ages in eschatology:

1)      present age

2)      future age

They used this term to refer to the Life of that future age

Since the coming age never ends it came to mean everlasting.

It is not about the length of the life but about the quality of the life of the coming age.

Death is associated with an ethical failure and so is seen as the condition of a failed and much inferior life.

Eternal Life then would be discussing the success equivalent to a future age.

John uses  aiwnioV  (17 times, 3x more than others)



This begins Johns explanation and thoughts because:

1)      Jesus was the one who uses the phrase “son of man” and this was used in 3:15

2)      The work of the cross seems to be spoken of in the past tense in 3:16 which means this is John’s reflection.

There where no quotation marks used in the first century.


“Loved World” is radical for Jewish thinking.

The cross shows us God’s love not the Sons love.

(Gal. 2:20 tells us of Christ’s love.)

The important point is not God’s love but that God gave in this verse



“Judgment” is not the focus but the result of Christ coming.

“Judgment” is obvious here since God is trying to save us from it.

If there where judgment there would be no point of salvation.

Judgment verses and points:


5:22, 27

5:30; 816, 26



5:24; 3:19

12:31; 16:11




krinw is used 19 x

krisiV 11x

No one else comes close (Acts 21 x)

Jesus did not come to judge anymore than the sun comes to cast a shadow.



Brings out the importance of faith.

Christ died for people, but no one is saved without believing.


“Does not believe” means “continues in unbelief.”


“Believe” is mentioned 3x in this verse



“Verdict” in NIV is the kpisiV and refers to the process of judging and not to the sentence of condemnation.

The purpose here is to explain how the process works. 

It is like saying “This is how the judgment works:  Light has come but people chose darkness because they are dark.

Men “loved” darkness.  Love is in the aorist and means a full and completed state.


Notice men are choosing



This explains more of verse 19.

“Hate” is used 12 x by John

The conflict is very, very intense.

Men hate the light because it exposes their darkness.


Does evil here is described in the verse as “will not come into the light” and refers to not coming to the savior.



“lives by the truth” is literally “does the truth”
This refers not to doing good deeds for salvation.

This refers (as an opposite to verse 20) to place faith in the savior.