N. T. Wright’s Kingdom Translation of John 3:1-17 (with modifications)
from N. T. Wright’s The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation (HarperOne, 2011)
1There was a man of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a ruler of the Judaeans. 2He came to Jesus by night. “Rabbi,” he said to him. “We know that you’re a teacher who’s come from God. Nobody can do these signs that you’re doing, unless God is with him.”
3“Let me tell you the solemn truth,” replied Jesus. “Unless someone has been born from above, they won’t be able to see God’s kingdom.”
4“How can someone possibly be born,” asked Nicodemus, “when they’re old? You’re not telling me they can go back a second time into the mother’s womb and be born, are you?”
5“I’m telling you the solemn truth,” replied Jesus. “Unless someone is born from water and spirit, they can’t enter God’s kingdom. 6Flesh is born from flesh, but spirit is born from spirit. 7Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear the sound it makes; but you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going to. That’s what it’s like with someone who is born from the spirit.
9“How can this be so?” asked Nicodemus.
10“Well, well!” replied Jesus. “You’re a teacher of Israel, and yet you don’t know about all this? 11I’m telling you the solemn truth: we’re talking about things we know about. We’re giving evidence about things we’ve seen. But you won’t admit our evidence. 12If I told you earthly things and you don’t trust, how will it be if I tell you heavenly things? Are you going to trust then? 13And nobody has gone up into heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the son of man.
14“So, just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, in the same way the son of man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who trusts in him may share in the life of God’s new age. 16This, you see, is how God loved the world: by giving his only, special son, so that everyone who trusts in him should not be lost but should share in the life of God’s new age. 17After all, God didn’t send the son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world could be saved by him.”
Notes: I changed the word “condemn” [krisis] to “judge” in vs. 17, and the four instances of “believe(s)” [pisteō] to “trust(s).” Also, I modified the translation of houtōs in v. 16 to reflect the manner in which God loved the world (‘this is how’), not the amount (‘so much’). The other modifications from standard readings – such as rendering zōēn aiōnion, “eternal life,” as “life of God’s new age” – are N. T. Wright’s. — Paul Nuechterlein