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Born of Water and the Spirit


Why is it imperative that we be born again?

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

If we have any hope of seeing and entering the kingdom of God, we must be born again.  Therefore we must understand how to be born again.


How are we born again?

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3: 5).

Jesus makes it clear that to be born again, is to be born of water and the Spirit.


What is “water” and “Spirit” in this passage?

Plain Talk proposes a novel interpretation of these words in these days.  “Water” means “water” and “Spirit” means “Spirit”.  So many say that “water” means amniotic fluid, or the word or the Spirit or something else.  It simply is not necessary and its wrong.  Others say that “Spirit” refers to the spirit of man or to an attitude of heart or mind.  Don’t be deceived by these people!

For hundreds and hundreds of years there was almost universal agreement that “water” refers to the water of baptism and “Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit.  Then the reformation came with new theologies of salvation necessitating new interpretations of basic terms to conform with their theology, not the Bible’s..

The words taken at their face value give a very plausible explanation of being born again.


What grammatical considerations do we have in the phrase, born of water and the Spirit?

In this phrase, “born” has equal reference to two word. water and the Spirit.   Therefore if “born of water” is figurative then so is “born of the Spirit”.  If “born of water” refers to a birth and not a begettal, then so does “born of the Spirit”. 


What is the meaning of the word, “born”?

“Born” has reference to a birth.  When we read the entire passage, it is clear that

a new birth is under consideration.

In the natural realm, a birth is a coming forth from the womb into a new life.  Similarly, in the spiritual realm,  to be born of water is come forth from water to a new life in Christ.  To be born of the Spirit is to come forth from the Spirit into a new life in Christ.


What does this view presuppose?

A “coming forth from” water and the Spirit, presupposes immersion in water and the Spirit.  We can’t come forth from water unless you have been placed in water.  You can’t come forth from the Spirit unless Christ has placed you in the Spirit.


Do the Scriptures indicate that believers have been immersed in water and the Spirit?

Baptized in water- Jesus instructed the Apostles to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  (Matthew 28: 19)

The Holy Spirit was promised to all, even those far off, who repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.  (Acts 2: 38, 39)

Baptized in the Holy Spirit- John the Baptist told all that came out to be baptized of Him that Jesus would baptize them all with the Holy Spirit and fire.

(Luke 3: 16)

Paul said that we all were baptized by or with one Spirit into the one body.

(1 Corinthians 12: 11)


When are we born of water and the Spirit?

When we are repent and are baptized in water for the forgiveness of our sins, Christ pours out the Spirit richly and abundantly, baptizing us in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit remains to dwell in us.  When we come forth from this experience we are born of water and the Spirit, arising to a new life in Christ

God, in His sovereignty, can alter the normal sequence, as He did with Cornelius and his household, giving the Spirit before baptism in water (Acts 10) or He can delay the reception of the Spirit, as He did with the Samaritans.  (Acts 8)  In both cases the new birth was not completed until they had been born of both water and the Spirit.


Are there two births, one of water and one of the Spirit?

No, there is only one birth but two elements, water and Spirit.  The new birth is a unity and is not complete until both elements are experienced.

There is also one baptism, a baptism in water and the Spirit.  (Ephesians 4: 5)  When the fathers were baptized into Moses, there was one baptism but two elements, the sea (water) and the cloud (the Spirit) and were partakers of Christ as they drank the spiritual water which came from the spiritual rock.  (1 Corinthians 10: 1- 4)


Why is it essential to be born of both water and the Spirit?

Baptized in water:


Baptized with the Holy Spirit:

          (Galatians 5: 22-23)



Friends, it is imperative to be born of water and the Spirit if we hope to enter the kingdom of heaven.  There is a lot of misinformation about the new birth; study the issue carefully. 


God Bless.

Arland  Pafford  


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Last Update   09/26/12