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John 3:5

Context

3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, 1  unless a person is born of water and spirit, 2  he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 2:1-4

Context
The Holy Spirit and the Day of Pentecost

2:1 Now 3  when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2:2 Suddenly 4  a sound 5  like a violent wind blowing 6  came from heaven 7  and filled the entire house where they were sitting. 2:3 And tongues spreading out like a fire 8  appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. 2:4 All 9  of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages 10  as the Spirit enabled them. 11 

1 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

2 tn Or “born of water and wind” (the same Greek word, πνεύματος [pneumatos], may be translated either “spirit/Spirit” or “wind”).

sn Jesus’ somewhat enigmatic statement points to the necessity of being born “from above,” because water and wind/spirit/Spirit come from above. Isaiah 44:3-5 and Ezek 37:9-10 are pertinent examples of water and wind as life-giving symbols of the Spirit of God in his work among people. Both occur in contexts that deal with the future restoration of Israel as a nation prior to the establishment of the messianic kingdom. It is therefore particularly appropriate that Jesus should introduce them in a conversation about entering the kingdom of God. Note that the Greek word πνεύματος is anarthrous (has no article) in v. 5. This does not mean that spirit in the verse should be read as a direct reference to the Holy Spirit, but that both water and wind are figures (based on passages in the OT, which Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel should have known) that represent the regenerating work of the Spirit in the lives of men and women.

3 tn Grk “And” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style does not.

4 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated for stylistic reasons. It occurs as part of the formula καὶ ἐγένετο (kai egeneto) which is often left untranslated in Luke-Acts because it is redundant in contemporary English. Here it is possible (and indeed necessary) to translate ἐγένετο as “came” so that the initial clause of the English translation contains a verb; nevertheless the translation of the conjunction καί is not necessary.

5 tn Or “a noise.”

6 tn While φέρω (ferw) generally refers to movement from one place to another with the possible implication of causing the movement of other objects, in Acts 2:2 φέρομαι (feromai) should probably be understood in a more idiomatic sense of “blowing” since it is combined with the noun for wind (πνοή, pnoh).

7 tn Or “from the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven” depending on the context.

8 tn Or “And divided tongues as of fire.” The precise meaning of διαμερίζομαι (diamerizomai) in Acts 2:3 is difficult to determine. The meaning could be “tongues as of fire dividing up one to each person,” but it is also possible that the individual tongues of fire were divided (“And divided tongues as of fire appeared”). The translation adopted in the text (“tongues spreading out like a fire”) attempts to be somewhat ambiguous.

9 tn Grk “And all.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

10 tn The Greek term is γλώσσαις (glwssai"), the same word used for the tongues of fire.

sn Other languages. Acts 2:6-7 indicates that these were languages understandable to the hearers, a diverse group from “every nation under heaven.”

11 tn Grk “just as the spirit gave them to utter.” The verb ἀποφθέγγομαι (apofqengomai) was used of special utterances in Classical Greek (BDAG 125 s.v.).



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