RE: John 3:5 and the genetive

From: Dave Haggard (
Date: Wed Mar 12 1997 - 18:59:44 EST

   I concur with your conclusion about "born of water" referring to physical birth. I think Jesus was drawing sharp contrast between what he was saying and what Nicodemus was saying.
   Therefore, I put an emphasis on the KAI-- "Unless a person is born of water AND the spirit..." "I hear what you're saying, Nicodemus. But there's a lot more to it than being physically born...."
   I don't see a simultaneous element here. I've known some who claim that one does not receive either forgiveness or the Holy Spirit until one is water baptized. Making these simultaneous events sounds like eisegesis to me, as does the interpretation of cleansing. 'Course, if you consider Paul's words about "being baptized into his death...," then baptism could be an element here........
   <There! That oughtta get me flamed good>

Dave "Renegade" Haggard

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Kulikovsky []
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 1997 5:38 PM
To: ''
Cc: ''
Subject: John 3:5 and the genetive

Fellow Greeks,

at my Bible study last night, a question was raised about the meaning of
John 3:5. In this verse Jesus responds to Nicodemus's question "How can
a man enter a second time into his mother's womb and be reborn?"


"Unless a person is born of water and the spirit, it is not possible to
enter into the kingdom of God"

Now, the question raised was what does the water signifiy? And what does
it mean to be "born of water"

Someone suggested that water often signifies cleansing. Therefore being
born of water indicates repentence.

This seems a bit eisagetical to me...

My present feeling is that the water signifies the amniotic fluid we
swim in when we were in our mother's womb. Therefore, being born of
water means to be born physically.

I am assuming EX UDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS are compond genitives of source.
Does this mean that a person must be born of water and the spirit
*simultaneously*? If so then my suggestion above (physical birth) would
obviously be incorrect.

How should this genitive be understood? These sill little KAIs keep
causing me problems!

Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS
Software Engineer
CelsiusTech Australia
Module 6 Endeavor House
Fouth Ave, Technology Park
Adelaide, Australia
Ph: +618 8343 3837
Fax: +618 8343 3777

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