“Born of water...” -- exactly what does it mean?

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Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
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#1
The Lord Jesus Christ stated in His teaching on the New Birth: 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 phrase – “born of water” – has led to a lot of confusion because it has not been interpreted in the light of all Gospel truth, and the automatic assumption has been made that it is a reference to ordinary water.

Thus two interpretations have generally been presented: (1) it is a reference to the water of baptism and (2) it is a reference to the amniotic fluid (water within the womb) through which a child is naturally born. The third interpretation, which is that “water” here is a metaphor for the Word of God – specifically the true Gospel – has generally escaped recognition. Hence we have all kinds of erroneous teachings about water baptism as a means of salvation.

1. The New Birth is supernatural
Scripture makes it crystal clear that the New Birth – when a sinner is born again – is totally supernatural. Hence it is stated as “born of God”, “born of the Spirit”, “born from above”, hence “born again”. In other words all human beings arrive on earth through natural birth, but only those who believe and obey the Gospel receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And it is God the Holy Spirit who produces “the washing of regeneration [the New Birth], and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). So this automatically cancels out any ordinary or natural agent -- ordinary water -- in the regeneration of a lost soul. Any talk about “holy water” is pure superstition.

Now there is no question that there are a few Scriptures which give the impression that salvation includes the necessity of faith and water baptism. But we are to go by the totality of Gospel truth. And if baptism was necessary for salvation, we would not have this statement by Paul (1 Cor 1:17):
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. This was not a repudiation of water baptism, but a focus on the preaching of the Gospel, which brings us to the scriptural meaning of “born of water”.

2. The amniotic fluid cannot even be considered
Why? Because Jesus Himself made it clear that ordinary human birth has nothing to do with the New Birth:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. This is so plain that it needs no interpretation. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” simply means that that which is born of the human body is a human body. And since natural birth always includes the amniotic fluid, it is also “of the flesh”. So clearly this is incorrect.

3. To be “born of water” is to born again through the Gospel
Is the Word of God represented as “water” in Scripture? It certainly is (Eph 5:25,26), (and I have capitalized Word and Gospel for that purpose):
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.

While here it speaks of sanctification, there are other Scripture which make the Gospel the power of God unto salvation. So Christians must literally believe that the Gospel is indeed “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16):
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

When the true Gospel is preached, the almighty power of God the Holy Spirit accompanies it in order to convict and convince the sinner. To convict him of his sinfulness, and to convince him of who Christ is, and how His finished work of redemption is sufficient for his salvation.

Thus the Gospel becomes the “seed” of the New Birth, as proclaimed by both the Peter and James:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you. (1 Pet 1:23-25).

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
(James 1:17,18).
 
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Feb 21, 2012
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#2
The Lord Jesus Christ stated in His teaching on the New Birth: 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 phrase – “born of water” – has led to a lot of confusion because it has not been interpreted in the light of all Gospel truth, and the automatic assumption has been made that it is a reference to ordinary water.
<snip>

2. The amniotic fluid cannot even be considered
Why? Because Jesus Himself made it clear that ordinary human birth has nothing to do with the New Birth:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. This is so plain that it needs no interpretation. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” simply means that that which is born of the human body is a human body. And since natural birth always includes the amniotic fluid, it is also “of the flesh”. So clearly this is incorrect. <snip>

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, Born of water = that which is born of the flesh . . .
of the Spirit = that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

When one is born of the flesh one is carried within the amniotic fluid, i.e. water . . . a woman's water breaks and gushes out shortly before the baby is born or during birth.

The comparison is plain . . .

 

MattforJesus

Senior Member
Apr 15, 2017
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#3
Joh 3:5 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.

Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

Act 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Act 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
Act 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus(by water baptism).
Act 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The man Christ Jesus,died,was buried,and rose from the dead.

Saints,repent,water baptized,receive Holy Ghost,and they are a living sacrifice unto God.

The saints have to identify with the man Christ Jesus,for if we are buried in the likeness of His death,water baptism,we shall arise to newness of life,receive the Spirit.

The man Christ Jesus is human,so we as a human have to do what He did,but in the way of repenting,dying out to sin,being water baptized,laying down those sins,and receiving the Spirit,arising to newness of life.

And the example of the thief on the cross does not apply,for the thief had no way to get water baptized,and God is a fair God.
 

loveme1

Senior Member
Oct 30, 2011
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#4
In light of the conversation the Messiah had with Nicodemus my belief is that it means birth from the womb and then New birth of the Holy Spirit through Faith in the Messiah.
 
Dec 9, 2011
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#5
If a person Is not born normally,then they have no right to be here.The person has to be born naturally and then the person has to be born again supernaturally.
 

OneFaith

Senior Member
Sep 5, 2016
2,014
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#6
I was up with my newborn granddaughter, so I thought I’d take an extra minute to answer this...

The reason Peter did not baptize people is because he was busy preaching while others did the baptizing. In
John 4:1,2 it was said that Jesus was baptizing people, but it was meant that His apostles were doing the baptizing, not Jesus Himself, Jesus was busy preaching. It is the same when Paul wrote down scripture ‘not of his own hand’- in other words he at times had a secretary do it.

To be born again, of water and the Spirit, means baptism and having the Holy Spirit. There’s nothing magical about the water, it is simply obeying the gospel- which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How do we obey the gospel? We die to ourself, bury our sinful self in the watery grave of baptism, and are raised a new creature. “With flames of fire He will take vengeance on those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of His Son.”

The new birth is supernatural because God performs circumcision of the heart (spiritually) when we are baptized into Christ’s death- where He shed His life-saving blood. This is the only way the Bible says we are in Christ. Christ’s body is the church, and baptism is the way in. “And the Lord added...” (who?) those being baptized were added to His church.

In 1 Peter 3:21 Noah being saved through water represents baptism which does now save us.


 
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garee

Senior Member
Mar 28, 2016
5,908
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#7
Both literal as that seen water and blood represent the living Spirit of God as the living water of the word not seen .. It is represented by pouring out that which does make our heart soft so that the spiritual seed of Christ which teaches us God is gracious might grow in our new hearts.

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:Deu 32:1

All of the descriptors represent the water of the word brought by the Spirit of the word. Its not so much water and the Spirit but is the water of the Spirit as one work.

Like manna (what is it ) coming down like rain was placed on the dew of the ground. water is always used to represent the spiritual authority of the word giving us the hidden understanding of manna which again means what is it? It should be foreign from our taste and not come as familiarity.The Jews downfall.


1)drop as the rain
2)distil as the dew
3)small rain upon the tender herb
4) showers upon the grass

Interestingly in the Deuteronomy account .

The Holy Spirit declares .Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth

It reminded me of the verse in Jeremiah. He will put his words in our mouths to make sure he is performing that which he appoints to us..as a God who is watching to make sure his word is performed just as He by faith planned it would.

Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it. Jer.1


For he who works in us by a work of his faith it that work of His faith both wills and perform the good pleasure of His will, planting the incorruptible spiritual seed in a heart that has been prepared by the rain of His doctrine.

1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
 

mailmandan

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2014
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#8
There are those who would argue that the natural sense of the passage parallels "water" with being born out of a mother’s womb and with "flesh". By that interpretation, Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God two births are necessary. The first is a physical, literal, "flesh" birth, which is, of course, accompanied by amniotic "water"; the second is a metaphorical, "Spirit" birth into God’s family.

Has anyone considered "living water?" Jesus did say, "born of water and the Spirit" and He did not say born of baptism and the Spirit. To automatically read "baptism" into this verse simply because it mentions "water" is unwarranted, yet that is exactly what those who teach salvation by works do. Scripture interprets itself. Notice in John 7:38-39, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of LIVING WATER. But this He spoke concerning the SPIRIT.

If "water" is arbitrarily defined as baptism, then we could just as justifiably say, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living baptism" in John 7:38. If this sounds ridiculous, it is no more so than the idea that water baptism is the source or the means of becoming born again.

In John 4:10, Jesus said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." In John 4:14, Jesus said, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

*Jesus connects this living water here with everlasting life. *Living water is not water baptism. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, we also read - ..drink into one Spirit.
 

birdie

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2014
282
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#9
Sanctify them through thytruth: thywordistruth.
Thanks Nehemiah6 for your very good commentary on those who can see the kingdom of heaven, as being those who are born of the water (meaning the word) and of the spirit. There is a very similar BIBLE verse that makes for good comparison. It is in John 4: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." In this verse, also speaking of true believers, the terms used are spirit and truth. Of course the term 'spirit' is identical as it is in the verse you mention and needs no explanation. However, the term 'truth' should be looked at. The Bible tells us about the word 'truth'. John 17:17 tells us:"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." That is interesting because it is telling us that the term 'truth' is describing the word. Now we are sounding more like Nehemiah6's explanation. He tells us that the term 'water' also means the word. Indeed, it does seems to. We read in Ephesians 5:26: "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,". Yes, the term 'water' does seem to mean the word. And not only that, but again we have a verse of sanctifying in relation to it, just as when the term truth was used.
 

valiant

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2015
8,025
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#10
when Jesus said, 'born of water, even of the Spirit' He was referring to Old Testament Scriptures such as Is 32,15; 44.1-45; 55.11 onwards; Ezek 36.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
26,018
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#11
Peter makes it clear one thing is needful thus making water in John 3 a metaphor for God's living Word...

1 Peter 1:23 KJVS
[23] Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
 
Sep 6, 2017
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#12
After man had been banned from the garden,

man, animals, plants etc. are born out of water, egg or seed.
 

OneFaith

Senior Member
Sep 5, 2016
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#13
There are those who would argue that the natural sense of the passage parallels "water" with being born out of a mother’s womb and with "flesh". By that interpretation, Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God two births are necessary. The first is a physical, literal, "flesh" birth, which is, of course, accompanied by amniotic "water"; the second is a metaphorical, "Spirit" birth into God’s family.

Has anyone considered "living water?" Jesus did say, "born of water and the Spirit" and He did not say born of baptism and the Spirit. To automatically read "baptism" into this verse simply because it mentions "water" is unwarranted, yet that is exactly what those who teach salvation by works do. Scripture interprets itself. Notice in John 7:38-39, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of LIVING WATER. But this He spoke concerning the SPIRIT.

If "water" is arbitrarily defined as baptism, then we could just as justifiably say, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living baptism" in John 7:38. If this sounds ridiculous, it is no more so than the idea that water baptism is the source or the means of becoming born again.

In John 4:10, Jesus said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." In John 4:14, Jesus said, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

*Jesus connects this living water here with everlasting life. *Living water is not water baptism. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, we also read - ..drink into one Spirit.
First of all, I do not teach salvation by works. I teach that if you don’t obey God He won’t give it to you. The obedient ones are the ones He chooses to give it to. Their obedience does not earn it, cause it can’t.

Second of all, whether you accept it or not, the Bible says “baptism saves”. If you say that you are saved before baptism, that means that baptism does not save- which makes God out to be a liar. And we know this baptism is speaking of H2O because it’s compared to Noah’s ark, and it points out that it is not a bath that removes dirt from the body. Peter and the Eunich stopped the chariot to baptize where they did because there was much water (H2O).

Third of all, baptism envolves both physical water and spiritual living water anyways. Unlike us, when Jesus was pierced both blood and water flowed. This shows us that He is the living water that He spoke of with the woman at the well. And just as when we take the Lords Supper, it is both physically and spiritually done, and it envolves Christ’s spiritual blood, baptism is both physically and spiritually done, and envolves Christ’s spiritual blood. For we are baptized into His death- where both His blood and water flow- which saves us and makes us Holy. (Romans 6:3). For it is during baptism that we are placed in Christ, and God performs circumcision of the heart not by human hands. (Colossians 2).

Did belief save Paul? No. Did prayer save Paul? No. Did fasting save Paul? No. Did being physically healed save Paul? No. Did obeying God save Paul? No. Ananias said to him “What are you waiting for? Arise, be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

The only thing that saves is Christ’s spiritual blood, because it spiritually washes away our sins. How did Paul get this spiritual blood of Christ in order to wash away his sins? Does this verse say “What are you waiting for, believe in God in order to wash away your sins.” No, it does not say that. I know you have many more verses, good verses about the importance of faith, but what does this scripture mean to you? Cause to me it means I must obey the gospel by baptism in order to receive Christ’s blood.

“With flames of fire (hell) He will take vengeance on those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of His Son.”

Good day to you sir.
 
Sep 6, 2017
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#14
Physical water is so precious, that even God did not explain the origin.
 

Zmouth

Senior Member
Nov 21, 2012
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#15
The Lord Jesus Christ stated in His teaching on the New Birth: 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.
If you noticed in John 3:11, it is written, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." Since faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen then he obviously speaking about any new birth.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
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#16
Physical water is so precious, that even God did not explain the origin.
Indeed it is extremely precious. The primary component of the plant kingdom is water, and the human body is approximately 50-75% water. When God created the universe, He first made the earth surrounded by an envelope of water, and then He separated land from water. But when it comes to the spiritual and the supernatural, water is a metaphor for either the Word of God or the Holy Spirit. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and the words of Christ are Spirit and Life (John 6:63-70).
 
Sep 6, 2017
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#17
Hmm, if a man is not born of water and only in spirit then what?
 
Sep 6, 2017
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#18
Indeed it is extremely precious. The primary component of the plant kingdom is water, and the human body is approximately 50-75% water. When God created the universe, He first made the earth surrounded by an envelope of water, and then He separated land from water. But when it comes to the spiritual and the supernatural, water is a metaphor for either the Word of God or the Holy Spirit. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and the words of Christ are Spirit and Life (John 6:63-70).
nice post explained the above I wrote pretty well, :)
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
5,776
538
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#19
Hmm, if a man is not born of water and only in spirit then what?
To be born of water is to be born of the Spirit, and to be born from above.

Normal, natural human birth is a given, but except a man be born again he can neither see nor enter into the Kingdom of God.
 

PJW

Banned
Oct 6, 2017
859
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#20
John 3:5 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.

And the example of the thief on the cross does not apply,for the thief had no way to get water baptized,and God is a fair God.
Hi,Matt.
If you look at Romans 6:3-6, you will see that the thief did exactly as we do when we are water baptized.
We are crucified with Christ.
We are buried with Christ.
We are raised with Christ to walk in nenwness of life.
The thief died with Jesus.
The thief was buried on the same day as Jesus.
The thief was promised paradise.
The events in the thief's last hours, and beyond, mirror our own experience.
Death, burial, and rebirth.