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John 3:1-13

  • Do you have a 'conversion' story of how you became a Christian? (Have a few people share their stories briefly with the group)

  • Some people speak of their conversion as being 'born again'. How is becoming a Christian like a new birth?

Read John 3:1-3

  • Why do you think Nicodemus the Pharisee wanted to visit Jesus?

  • What was Jesus' response to his question? Is it even an answer? Why/why not?

Read John 3:4-8

  • What do you think Jesus meant by being born again, "of water and the Spirit"? [1]

  • The word for 'Spirit' is the same as the word for 'wind' or 'breath' (in both Greek and Hebrew). What do you think Jesus is getting at in verse 8?

    • How is a life born of the Spirit like the sound or experience of the wind? [2]

Read John 3:9-15

Nicodemus is a Pharisee, a leader, "a teacher of Israel".

  • What did he not yet know, and had not seen, that Jesus knew?

  • What experience did Nicodemus lack that would help him to understand what Jesus meant about the Spirit?

  • What is the connection between the knowing Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit?

Read Titus 3:4-7

  • How does this passage help us to better understand what Jesus taught Nicodemus in John 3?

  • How does the Holy Spirit save us, renew us and make us God's heirs?

  • What picture of 'new life' does Paul paint here with these words?

  • How would you summarise the role of the Holy Spirit in someone's conversion?

    • And what was His role in yours?

Spend some time praying, asking the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of your friends and neighbours who don't yet know Jesus.

[1] "the point in this passage is that this double-sided new birth, which brings you into the visible community of Jesus’ followers (water-baptism) and gives you the new life of the spirit welling up like a spring of water inside you (spirit-baptism), was now required for membership in God’s kingdom."

- N.T. Wright, John For Everyone

[2] See two contrasting perspectives on Jesus' strange observation here:

"Just as people cannot see where the wind comes from or where it is going but can hear its sound, so too people cannot understand how they are born of the Spirit but nevertheless experience its reality in their lives."

- Colin G. Kruse, John, Tyndale Commentary

"God’s kingdom is now thrown open to anyone and everyone. The spirit is on the move, like a fresh spring breeze... and no human family, tribe, organization or system can keep up with it. Opening the window and letting the breeze in can be very inconvenient, especially for the Nicodemuses of this world who suppose they have got things tidied up, labelled and sorted into neat piles."

- N.T. Wright, John For Everyone


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