Bible Terms

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Bible Terms

Read  John 3:1-10 & Romans 2:17-29

Why did Jesus use the term 'Born Again' when he was talking to Nicodemus?

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, in fact, he was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  He acknowledged that Jesus was from God, to which Jesus replied that "nobody can see the Kingdom of God unless he is Born Again"

In other words, he was saying to Nicodemus that he was Born Again as he was able to discern that Jesus was from God.

When Abraham and his descendents believed God, they were not only circumcised in the flesh but also in the heart by the Spirit. 

Circumcision of the heart by the Spirit is regeneration too.  

Nicodemus asked "how can one so old be Born Again?" not really understanding what Jesus had said.

Jesus replied that "nobody can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."  ........"You are Israel's teacher" Jesus said "and do you not understand all these things?"

Jesus was not saying that the Jews were not born again or would miss out on salvation, after all, the Jews were saved through water on several occasions eg the Red Sea and the Cloud (1Cor 10:1-6) and the Jordan as was Noah.  The Jews also received the Baptism of John and still practice Baptism today.

Jesus was saying this because the Gentiles would also need to be saved through faith and obedience to God by baptism in water.  Instead of being circumcised by the Spirit, they were to be Baptized by the Spirit.  

Baptism in the Spirit was to replace circumcision by the Spirit and Baptism in water was to replace circumcision.

They Jewish leaders rejected Jesus because they were expecting the Messiah to come in power (as indeed he will - next time he comes at the end of the age).  The Jews rejection of Jesus brought Salvation to the Gentiles.  The Jews were already in covenant relationship with God.  Jesus could not have become the atoning sacrifice for our sins or theirs if the Jews did not reject him and put him to death.  

I think Jesus will still fulfill his covenant with the Jews when he comes at the end of the age.  But Jesus is offering them a better covenant, one in which they can be set free from having to sacrifice animals to atone for sin.  They just have to believe that he has paid the price for them and make him Lord of their lives and be baptized in water (as many of the Jews did).

Why isn't the term 'Born Again' used in the other Gospels?

Because it is equivalent to baptism in the Spirit and Baptism in water put together.  These terms are used in all Gospels.

Can you enter the kingdom of heaven if you are not Born Again?


Are the Jews God's chosen people?


Will they go to Heaven?

Yes, if they are truly Jews; that is circumcised in heart by the Holy Spirit.

Are they Born Again?

Yes.  At least those that truly love God and remain circumcised in heart.

Can they be saved under the Old Covenant?


Do they need to be Baptized in water?

Yes.  Once God reveals something, he expects his people to do it.

See Acts 19:1-7.  In this passage, Paul met some disciples who only new the Baptism of John.  They must have been Jews as John only preached to the Jews and his baptism was for them.  Paul told them that John said to believe in the one coming after him - Jesus.  So the disciples of John were Baptized into Christ and received the Holy Spirit.

This passage shows that the Jews should be Baptized into Christ to receive the Holy Spirit.

What is circumcision of the Heart by the Spirit?

It is a work by the Holy spirit on the Heart of Jewish believers.  It is a cutting of of the old fallen nature; the flesh.

It possible to become uncircumcised.  This was the case in Jeremiah's time.  The Jews had turned away from the Lord and had become uncircumcised in heart.  Jeremiah 4:4 & Jeremiah 9:25-26  This was also the case in Christ's time.

Does God want the Gentile nations to be saved?


How can they be Born Again?

By believing in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, being baptized in water and  receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What is Baptism by the Spirit?

It is when we receive the Holy Spirit at conversion. (When we believe and invite Christ to become our Lord and Savior)   It is the same as regeneration.  It is accompanied by Baptism in fire which is kind of like circumcision of the Heart destroying the flesh.

For the faithful Jews, who were already regenerate as a result of circumcision by the Spirit, Baptism in the Spirit is an additional work of the Holy Spirit in the Hearts of Believers who accepted Christ as Lord.  It confers additional powers and benefits to all believers who accept Christ.

For the Gentiles, it is the only way that they can be regenerated.  It is when a person receives the Holy Spirit for the first time and becomes a new person in Christ.  It is essential for regeneration.  Gentiles cannot be born again without it.  It is God making his home in their heart.


Is it possible to be saved without the baptism of Jesus?

Not any more.  Prior to Jesus' coming, people were saved if they were a descendant of Abraham, circumcised in Heart.

What about the Baptism of John?

Johns baptism was a forerunner of Jesus' Baptism.  It was offered only to the Jews for a short period and has now been replaced by the Baptism of Jesus which is for both Jew and Gentile alike.

Who was John preaching to?

John was preaching to the Jews only.

What will happen to God's people in Old Testament times?

They will be saved if they were circumcised in heart by the Spirit.

What is the difference between baptism by the Spirit and Circumcision by the Spirit?

Baptism in the Spirit is available to all who ask for it.  Sin is dealt with by the blood of Jesus once and for all.

Circumcision by the Spirit is for Abraham's household including his slaves.  Sin is dealt with by the blood of animals offered to God on a regular basis indefinitely.

Who was Baptism and Circumcision intended for?

Baptism in the Spirit is for both Jews and Gentiles and has been available since Pentecost for the Jews and Acts 10 for the Gentiles.  The Samaritans received the Spirit in Acts 8.  Interestingly, the Samaritans were half Jews and half Gentiles.

Circumcision of the heart by the Spirit was for Abraham's descendants and his household, including his slaves.

Can you be Born Again by Baptism and Circumcision?

Baptism in the Spirit is the only way for Gentiles to be born again.  This happens when they believe and invite Christ into their heart.  Baptism in water should then follow shortly afterwards.

As a Jew, you are born of the Spirit by being circumcised in heart by the Spirit.  Children of believers were circumcised outwardly on day eight but became uncircumcised in heart if they did not believe when they grew up.   It is likely that the same principal applies to Baptism of Gentile believers' children but there are no guidelines for this in the Bible.

As long as you are Born Again, it doesn't matter how you got Born Again.  However, I would much rather be under the new covenant than the old covenant.  Fancy having to sacrifice sheep and goats all the time??  Since the Baptism of John, however, it may no longer be necessary for Jews to sacrifice animals for sin. 

Is 'Born Again' the same as receiving the Spirit?


Are 'Regeneration' and 'Baptism in the Spirit' the same thing?

Yes, but I would not advise people to neglect the water aspect of being Born Again.

What is the evidence of regeneration in a person's life?

Fruit, gifts, signs.  Most importantly repentance and praising God.

What does filled with the Spirit mean?

We need to be filled with the Spirit in order to bear fruit and please God.  If we do not regularly turn to God for answers and praise him in worship, we will run dry, just like the foolish virgins.

What are the fruit of being Filled with the Spirit?

Galatians 5 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self Control.






Home Page Contents Change Language and Version Articles - Index Terminology - overview - summary Become a Christian Bible Studies - Index Keys of the Kindom - Doctrines Help using this site Messages - Index What happens at conversion About  this site