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Dressed in white, a woman is baptized in water; text reads "Do we need to be Born Again to be Christian?"

What does “Born Again” Mean in John 3:3?

To be a Christian do you need to be “Born Again”? Is that what John 3:3 is teaching us about baptism and following Christ? You asked, the Bible answers.


Born Again




Brother Bob: Hello and thank you for joining us on this podcast episode of That’s in the Bible. I’m Brother Bob Pellien. Let’s go to our first question that was sent in by Curtis Childs from San Diego, California. Here’s the question of Curtis:


Curtis: My name is Curtis, and I’m here to ask the question concerning Christianity. And I would like to know, do you have to be born again to become a Christian? That’s my question.


Brother Bob: That’s a very nice question, and it’s contained even in a conversation between our Lord Jesus Christ and Nicodemus back in the first century. They discussed about being born again. And to answer the question of Curtis, let’s go directly to that conversation and see what our Lord Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus about that issue. It’s recorded in John, chapter 3, beginning in verse 3. He said:


Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

[John 3:3 New King James Version]


Brother Bob: So right away, Curtis, we can see from the words of our Lord Jesus here that being born again has direct relevance to one’s attainment of being a Christian, being a true servant of God, and entering the kingdom of God. Jesus made very clear, “unless you’re born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God.” Now did Nicodemus understand it when Jesus said to him that you need to be born again? Did he understand it to be putting a placard on the name of your chapel, naming the religion ‘Born Again’, and having that kind of a title, if you’re born again, then you’ll enter the kingdom of God? How did Nicodemus understand these words of Jesus? Let’s continue. Verse 4, 5 and 6:


Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

[John 3:4-6 New King James Version]


Brother Bob: Did Nicodemus understand? Nicodemus didn’t get it. He was actually thinking it very literally and said, “What, do I need to be born again literally? Return to my mother’s womb, and be again born?” So Jesus made the clarification. How? What did he say? He said, well, in verse 6, “that which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” You need to be born again, therefore, by being born of the Spirit. John 4:24 tells us that God is Spirit; to be born of the Spirit, is to be born of God. 


Well, how is it that one can be born of God? Therefore, born of the Spirit? Therefore, born again, and worthy to enter the kingdom of God? Apostle Peter gives response this way. 1 Peter, chapter 1, verse 23, and also verse 22:


having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 


Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

[1 Peter 1:23, 22 New King James Version]


Brother Bob: Apostle Peter used the term also to be born again; chose to be born of God, to be born of the Spirit. How are we born of the Spirit? We are to be born of the word of God. When we then listen to the word of God, and become born again by means of the words of God that we have listened to and heard, is it then just a declaration? “I’m a born again Christian?” Romans, chapter 6, the Bible’s answer is contained here in verse 4. It says:


Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

[Romans 6:4 New King James Version]


Brother Bob: We hear the word of God; we’re born then of God, born of the Spirit, born again. Who are they to enter the kingdom of God? And we are baptized, baptized into the death of Christ, and then we walk in a newness of life. Those who have undergone that process are baptized into what? The answer of the Bible – 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 13 makes mention what we are baptized into. Verse 13 reads this way:


For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body –

[1 Corinthians 12:13 New King James Version]


Brother Bob: We’re all baptized into one body. Those then who are born again, are born of the word of God; they’re taught the truth, they’re baptized into one body. As we’ve read before, Colossians 1:18, that body is identified in the Bible as the Church. Acts 20:28 tells us that is the Church Of Christ. Born again, then, is not the name or title of a religion – it is the process whereby one becomes a member of the true Church Of Christ. 


Make sure to list and subscribe to this podcast of That’s in the Bible and turn on your notifications for new episodes. Please feel free to email your questions about the Bible, about salvation, at I’m Brother Bob Pellien and I hope you join us next time for more programming of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, or Church Of Christ. To watch episodes of That’s in the Bible go to Thanks again for listening, and God bless.