John the Baptist's summary of the third chapter of the Gospel of John the Apostle

Documentation Published on Friday, 27 August 2021

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John the Baptist's summary of the third chapter of the Gospel of John the Apostle

The Bible was never written to be complicated. Today, there are many people, and they are often Christians, that try to make the Bible a book of riddles, hard to understand by the average person. Many argue that the Old Testament prophecies are hard to understand. This is simply not how the Bible is. The Bible allows us insight into the Word as we read it more and more. Every time you read something, the Holy Spirit will lead you to a fuller understanding.

In this regard, the apostles Paul and Peter said that we should not remain drinking only the milk, as first food, from the gospel, but progress to eat meat. By this they mean that in a believer’s life there must be spiritual growth, and this growth will enable us to understand those parts of the Word that we think are hard to understand.

The easy part

When we look at the last verse in John Chapter Three, John the Baptist summarises the entire chapter in one sentence. Even though he was not a witness to the first part of the chapter, which was Jesus’ explanation to Nicodemus of eternal life and the need to be born again, he knew that Jesus was the Messiah. John the Apostle closes the chapter with the words of John the Baptist:

36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.John 3:36

There is a perfect balance to be found here, and again we stress that it is very easy. First, we must identify the person:

  • He that believeth;


  • He that believeth not

How is their destiny different?

  • He that believeth has everlasting life – he will see the kingdom of God


  • He that believeth not shall not see life – God’s wrath is on him

To an extent, we can apply simple logic here. There is a condition, and a requirement to meet the condition:

  1. If you have accepted the request to be born again (verse three), then start growing spiritually and tell others about your rebirth. Grow in the Word and do not only drink the milk of the gospel, but progress to eat the meat of the gospel, as stated in part below, starting with the heading Spiritual Growth;


  1. If you have not yet accepted the request to be born again, then you must do the following:
    • Admit that you are a sinner
    • Repent of your sin
    • Ask God for His forgiveness
    • Receive His forgiveness
    • Confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour, according to the Word:

    • 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. – Romans 10:9
    • Go to Point 1 above and continue from there, reading about how to grow spiritually.

This information is available on the main page of the website. Simply read the information and use the links to take you to more information for each part.

Spiritual growth

In the book of Hebrews the writer indicates this:

13For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. – Hebrews 5:13-14

Here the writer (We cannot assume it is Paul, although the arguments provided point to hime as the writer.) states that spiritual growth is a process. The new believer is like a baby, who certainly cannot eat meat when he does not yet have the physiological ability to chew and digest solid food. The first steps of your spiritual growth consists of drinking milk – learning the basics of the gospel. As you mature, you start eating solid food – the more advanced aspects of the Word. The quoted text is not meant to be derogatory in any way. It simply states that spiritual growth is a process.

Many young believers make the mistake of trying to first tackle the books on either end of the Bible – Genesis and Revelation. Both of these books are vital to the understanding of God’s bigger plan for man, but both will lead the young believer into a maze of theological issues. First, Genesis is not always understood as immediately it brings up the issue of creation – years, thousands of years, and millions of years, or where Adam’s children got their wives from. Flip the Bible all the way to the back, and young believers get caught up in eschatological issues about beasts rising from the sea, which conjures strange ideas in our minds. While important in the overall revelation of God to man, for the young believer, these are not relevant issues right now.

For the young believer, the best book to start with is the gospel of John. It contains the best evidence of Jesus’ mission to Earth, namely the salvation of mankind, on many levels. A quick scan through this gospel shows the many different people Jesus, as well as John the Baptist, interacted with:

The Apostle John

  1. The apostle John starts the narrative with an explanation of who the Word is (John 1:1-18).

John the Baptist

  1. Next, John the Baptist is introduced as the one who paved the way for the coming Messiah (John 1:19-36). Jesus appears on the scene, in verse 29 and John recognises Him as the Lamb of God. Verse 36 states that John and two of his disciples saw Jesus the next day, and immediately these two disciples left John and followed Jesus.
  2. What follows, is Jesus selecting His disciples (verse 38-52).

Jesus the Messiah

  1. Now with Jesus on the scene, we notice His public ministry taking shape:
    • Chapter two starts with the wedding in Cana, definitely not an insignificant event, and it shows that Jesus is interested in our affairs. A wedding was a big occasion. This is where His first recorded miracle takes place (verse 1-12).
    • Next, He cleanses the temple by forcibly removing those who were there not for the observance of God’s presence, but to buy and sell and conduct worldly business instead (verse 13-25).
    • Chapter three tells of the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus, and contains the main idea of the Bible: God loves each one of us and does not want to see anyone perish, but that they are reborn and have eternal life (verse 1-21).
    • Chapter three continues with John the Baptist handing over the reins to Jesus. John’s mission was complete. He paved the way for the Messiah, and now it is time for his role to diminish and that of Jesus to increase (verse 22-36). It is John the Baptist himself who speaks the words that are the focus of this article and concludes chapter three:

    • 36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.John 3:36
    • Chapter four starts with the meeting at the well, which proves that Jesus came for the salvation of all mankind, not just the Jews, on all levels of society. In fact, it starts with an outcast, a woman who is a Samaritan (verse 1-30).
    • Chapter four continues with the message that the fields are ripe for reaping, meaning that it is now the time to spread the message of salvation (verse 31-42).
    • In this same chapter we see the second miracle as recorded by John, the healing of the son of a nobleman. The first miracle, turning water into wine, was performed with Him present. The next miracle shows the omnipresence of God. Jesus did not even have to be close to the young man. His fever left him when Jesus said to the father: “Go thy way; thy son liveth.” (verse 50).
    • Chapter five onwards shows us how Jesus was involved on ground level, on all levels of society. Whether it was dealing with His unbelieving brothers or had a confrontation with the Jewish leaders (Chapter 7); helping an adulteress and continuing His standoff with the same Jewish leaders (Chapter eight); healing a blind man (Chapter nine); or raising Lazarus from the dead (Chapter 11), he was always ready to show the love of God to those present but at the same time did not shy from exposing hypocrisy.

Continuing with the study of the Gospel of John

As you continue reading, reflect on the human nature of Jesus. He mingled with people of all types, but never partook in their sins. Instead, He showed them the love of the Father. The general media has often painted the wrong picture of Jesus the Man. While He was gentle and displayed all the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), this did not mean that He allowed sinners to continue in their ways but offered them a better way instead. It is best seen in chapter eight:

10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. 11And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.John 8:10-11

He knew about her sin, but publicly scolding her, and stoning her, as the Jews wanted to do, was not the answer. Here was a person who was aware of her condition, but was given a second chance, despite the letter of the law. The Jewish leaders would have chosen death as the solution to the problem, without any chance of repentance. Jesus choses life, and subsequent repentance leads to forgiveness, healing, restoration, and spiritual growth.

As a new believer you are going to make many mistakes in your spiritual life. You may even depart from the road at some point and then come back again. This is because He has loved you since the foundation of Creation and will always try to pull you back, just as He pulled Peter from the water when his faith wavered:

29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?Matthew 14:29-31

Jesus is always waiting – whether in private (Nicodemus); at a well (the Samaritan woman); in a public place (the adulteress); or on the water (Peter) to guide you back onto the right path.

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