Another King James Bible Believer


John 3:3 "born again" or "born from above"?

John 3:3 “born AGAIN” or “born FROM ABOVE”?

Bible agnostics (they don’t know for sure what God said in hundreds of places), Version Rummagers and wanna be “experts” with their school boy Greek who think they are smarter than the 47 plus learned men God used to give us his perfect and inerrant Book in the King James Bible, sometimes object to and criticize John 3:3 and 7 where the Lord Jesus tells Nicodemus that a man must be BORN AGAIN in order to see or to enter the kingdom of God.  

They tell us that the Greek REALLY means “born FROM ABOVE” and that the King James Bible translators didn’t understand this and they got it wrong.

Of course not one of these Bible critics actually believes that ANY Bible in any language - including “the” Greek and Hebrew - is now or ever was the complete and inerrant words of God.  Each one of them has made his own mind and understanding his final authority, as he pieces together his own peculiar “bible” version.  And you can bet that NOBODY before them got it all right and nobody now will totally agree with what he thinks the Bible should say.

One such KJB critic wrote me recently and told me that the KJB got it wrong.  He said - “In John 3:3 the Greek word "ανωθεν" means "from above". 

He then listed 5 different versions and quoted Young’s 1898, which reads: “Jesus answered and said to him, 'Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born FROM ABOVE, he is not able to see the reign of God.”

He also gave me the ASV 1901 - “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born ANEW, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

And The New English Bible 1970 - “Jesus answered, 'In truth, in very truth I tell you, unless a man has been born OVER AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

And The Christogena N.T - “Yahshua replied and said to him: "Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man should be born FROM ABOVE, he is not able to see the Kingdom of Yahweh."  

And the NIV- In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born AGAIN.”

Actually, the ASV and The New English Bible say the same thing as does the KJB but with different words. Neither one of these means “born FROM ABOVE.”

Nicodemus obviously understood Jesus as saying that a man must be born AGAIN, because he asks Jesus “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter THE SECOND TIME into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

Born Again = the second time.

The Greek word in question here is anothen - ανωθεν - and it can have different meanings. One is “again” and the other is “from above”.

The KJB translators were certainly not ignorant of this alternative meaning.  The Great Bible of 1540 said - “except a man be borne FROM ABOVE, he cannot se the kyngdom of God.”  And they rejected it.

Among the relatively few versions that have translated this as “born FROM ABOVE” are Young’s 1898, Rotherham’s 1902, Goodspeed 1923, Moffatt 1926, The NRSV 1989, God’s Word Translation 1995, The Message 2002,  Dan Wallace’s NET Version 2006, Names of God Bible 2011, the Lexham English bible 2012, Biblos Bible 2013, The Pioneer’s N.T. 2014 and the ISV 2014.  

The Catholic Connection

The older Catholic versions like the Douay-Rheims 1582 and the 1950 Douay Version both read: “except a man be BORN AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

BUT the more recent St. Joseph New American bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 both read: “no one can see the kingdom of God without being BORN FROM ABOVE.”

The Bible itself is its own commentary.  Other portions of Scripture clearly speak of the new birth as being AGAIN and not “from above”.

1 Peter 1:3 and 23 both tell us about having been born AGAIN - 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy HATH BEGOTTEN US AGAIN unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3) 

“BEING BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

And then we have the Doctrine of Regeneration

The word Regeneration means “to be spiritually Reborn, or simply “born again”.  The word Regeneration is used in Titus 3:5 where we are told that “according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and RENEWING of the Holy Ghost.”

In other words - BORN AGAIN!

Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford Press 1968 page 169 tells us that the Greek word “anothen” (ανωθεν) can mean either “from above” (which is does in places like James 1:17 “every perfect give is from above”) AND it can mean “AGAIN, anew, afresh” and they then list John 3:3 as an example.

Likewise A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by William Arndt and Wilbur Gingrich, University of Chicago Press 1957 on page 76 tells us that the Greek word anothen - ανωθεν  can mean such things as “from above”, “from the top to the bottom”, “from the beginning” and “AGAIN, ANEW”. 

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Harper & Brothers 1889 on page 52 discusses the various meanings of this Greek word and even mentions the alternative view that in John 3:3 it means “from above” and not “again”. 

He tells us the word can mean “from above” or “from the first” OR “anew, over again, indicating repetition.”  He then states that this meaning of “again” is “wrongly denied by many, where others explain it as ‘from above’, that is, from heaven.  BUT according to this explanation, Nicodemus ought to have wondered how it was possible for any one to be born FROM HEAVEN; BUT THIS HE DID NOT SAY.”

In other words, he agrees with the way the King James Bible and most Bibles in history have translated the word as “born AGAIN” and not “born from above.”  




Not only does the King James Bible have the Lord Jesus Christ telling Nicodemus that a man must be BORN AGAIN (or “anew”) but so too do the following Bible translations - Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Geneva Bible 1587, the Douay-Rheims 1582, The Beza N.T. 1599, Mace N.T. 1729, John Wesley’s N.T. 1755 - “born again”, Worrell N.T. 1770, Haweis N.T. 1795, the Thomson Bible 1808, Living Oracles 1835, Sawyer N.T. 1858, Alford N.T. 1870, the Revised Version 1885, Darby 1890, ASV 1901 (born anew), Weymouth 1902, Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta,  New Life Version 1969, The RSV 1946-1971, Living Bible 1971, J.B. Phillips N.T. 1972, NKJV 1982, Good News Translation 1992, NASB 1995, The Lawrie N.T. 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, The Last Days N.T. 1999, World English Bible 2000, The Yah Sacred Scriptures 2001, The Tomson N.T. 2002, Complete Apostle’s bible 2003, New Century Version 2005, New Heart English bible 2005, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, The Easy To Read Version 2006, The Mebust Bible 2007, Holman Standard 2009, Jubilee Bible 2010, The New European Version 2010, The Conservative Bible 2010, The Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, the NIV 2011, Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, The ESV 2011, Mounce Reverse-Interlinear N.T. 2011, The Work of God’s Children Bible 2011, The Common English Bible 2011, The Bond Slave Version 2012, The Concordant Version 2012, The English Majority Text N.T. 2013, The Modern English Version 2014, the New International Reader’s Version 2014,  The Hebrew Names Version 2014, The Modern Literal N.T. 2014, The Translator’s Bible 2014, The Open English Bible 2014 - “unless a person is REBORN”, The New Living Translation 2015 and The International Children’s Bible 2015 - “unless you are BORN AGAIN, you cannot be in God’s kingdom.”

Notice that the RSV 1971 went with “born anew”, then the NRSV 1989 had “born from above” and now the latest ESV 2011 has gone back to “born again.”

The King James Bible is absolutely correct when it records the Lord Jesus telling Nicodemus “Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God” and this is confirmed by 1 Peter 1:3 and 23 and by the doctrine of Regeneration.




“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy HATH BEGOTTEN US AGAIN unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3) 

“BEING BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

All of grace, believing the Book - the infallible King James Holy Bible.

Will Kinney

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