Researched by Keith Hunt
It is official - no hear say - the Worldwide Church of God has
adopted the "born again" teaching of the Fundamental
Protestants(like the Baptists and Pentecostals).
In the Dec.9th 1991 edition of THE WORLDWIDE NEWS there appeared
a somewhat technical article by one of the professors of
Ambassador College, the article was entitled "You must be born
from above" and was printed under the paper's section called IRON
It is indeed time we sharpened some iron.
Below is what Professor Stavrinides has written about the words
"gennao" and "tikto" as appeared in the aforementioned article:
meaning of gennao and tikto
Gennao derives its meaning from the root, gennao (birth). It
means "to produce through birth." Whether the agent is male or
female, the meaning of the verb is the same, "to bring a child
into the world." Some clear passages that illustrate the meaning
of this verb are:
Matthew 2:1: "Jesus was born [gennao] in Bethlehem." Matthew
19:12: "...eunuchs, which were so born [gennao] from their
mother's womb." Luke 1:13: "Thy wife Elizabeth shall bear
[gennao] thee a son." Greek has other verbs for describing birth
specifically as an act of a woman. One of these verbs is "tikto."
This verb cannot be applied literally to a father because he is
not bodily equipped for this function, but a figurative
application of the verb to a man is in order.
In this sense, Onesimus became Paul's son "who became my son
while I was in chains" (Philemon 10, New International Version).
Some clear passages in which "tikto" is used literally (to
describe parturition) are:
Matthew 1:21: "She shall bring forth [tikto] a son."
Luke l:57 "Elisabeth's full time came that she should be
Hebrews 11:11 "...and was delivered of a child."
In John 3:3, the verb is gennao - which describes coming into the
world, not a birth in the sense of parturition.
AGAIN OR FROM ABOVE
The verb "gennao" in John 3:3, is accompanied by the adverb
another. Depending on the context, this adverb can mean "again"
or "from above."
The nearest expression in English is "from the top" (ano = above,
then = from}. Christ's tunic WAS woven from the [anothen] in one
piece" (John 19:23). John uses the expression only in the sense
of "from above" (see also John 3:31, 19:11).
When John wants to say "again," he uses other terms. One such
tense is "palin" (John 1.35. 4:3, 13, 46, 54, etc.). John 3:3,
therefore, should be rendered "born from above," not "born
again." Of course, if someone is born from above when he is old,
he is also born again.
John's meaning is a birth from God, not merely a second birth.
Only a birth from God would enable Nicodemus to perceive that the
kingdom of God was at work in the miracles that the Jews had
In fact, John says clearly that those who receive Christ(1:12)
are born (gennao) "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of men, but of God" (1:13).
We reproduce for you on the next page some comments by respected
Greek scholars on the meaning of "gennao."
1079. GENETE, ghen-et-ay fem. of a presumed der. of the base of
1074 birth:-birth. GENNAO, ghen-nah-o; from a var. of 1080 to
procreate (prop. of the father, but by extens. of the mother);
fig. to regenerate:- bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive,
be delivered of, gender, make, spring.
1084. GENNETOS ghen-nay-tos; from 1080; born: - they that are
GENOS gher'-os; from 1096; "kin" (abstr. or concr., lit. or fig.,
Indiv. or coll.) : - born, country (-man), diversity, generation,
kind, nation, offspring, stock.
1095, GERASKO ghay-ras'-ko; from 1094 to be senescent:-be (wax)
1096 GINOMAI ghin-om-ahee; a prol. and mid. form of a prim. verb;
to cause to be ("gen" erate), i.e. (reflex.) to become (come into
being), used with great latitude (lit., fig., intens.,
etc.):-arise, be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be
brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, lie divided, be
done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be
fulfilled, Gad forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be
married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be
published, require, seem, be showed, X soon its it was, sound, be
taken, be turned, use, was, will, would, be wrought.
TAKEN FROM STRONG'S CONCORDANCE
ATOS, ....Lu.12:18; 2 Co.9:10, natural producer, fruit,
GENNAO..... (and its equivalents - Keith Hunt) used of men to
beget, generate, Mat. 1:2-16, et al.; of women, to bring forth,
bear, give birth to, Lu.1:13,57 et al; pass. to be born,
produced, Mat.2:1,4, et al.; met. to produce, excite, give
occasion to, effect, 2 Tim.2:23; from the Heb. to constitute as
son, to constitute as king, or (as the representative or
viceregent of God. Ac.13:33 Heb.1:5; 5:5; by impl.to be a parent
to any one; pass. to be a son or child to any one., John.1:13; I
Co.4:1:5, et al.
GENNAYMA, ATOS, TO, ($ 4. tab. D. c) what is born or produced,
offspring, progeny, brood, Mat.3.7; 12:34, et al.; fruit,
produce, Mat.26:29; Mar.14:25, et al.; fruit, increase, Lu.12:
18; 2 Co.9:10.
FROM THE ANALYTICAL GREEK LEXICON
Please take the time to see what other Greek Lexicons have to say
on this word GENNAO.
The Greek word "gennao" is derived from the Greek word #185 in
Strong's Con. which in turn is derived from the Greek word #196
On studying what I have given you above, it should be very clear
that the word GENNAO can mean the ENTIRE PROCESS FROM THE MOMENT
AN EGG AND SPERM UNITE TO THE TIME WHEN THE BABY COMES FORTH FROM
THE MOTHER'S VAGINA INTO THE WORLD TO TAKE ITS FIRST BREATH OF
So within a certain context the Greek word 'gennao' could be
rendered in English by such words as: beget, conceive, pregnant,
procreate, bear, make, bring forth, be born, be delivered of, AND
any other new or modern words that could be used to describe the
process from conception to birth.
For an absolute proof that the word GENNAO can mean more than the
English word 'born'(as we usually understand that word = coming
forth from the mother into the world of air) turn to Matthew
Please note carefully the SETTING AND CONTEXT. Verse 18, Joseph
and Mary were "espoused" in marriage - they had not yet come
together in sexual union. Joseph finds out she(Mary) is, what in
modern terms today we call "pregnant" or as the KJV puts it "was
found with child" but not yet DELIVERED of the child because the
angel tells Joseph in verse 21 that she "shall bring forth a son"
- the whole context of chapter one and two shows that Mary had
not yet given BIRTH to Jesus when the angel spoke to Joseph to
explain HOW and WHY Mary was pregnant.
Now verse 20. The angel tells Joseph to fear not to take Mary as
his wife because "that which is GENNAO in her is of the Holy
Mary was PREGNANT only at this stage - she had not "given birth"
yet. The way we use the English language for describing this
situation is NOT to say "for that which is BORN in her"(some may
argue we could so say, but our usual use of the semantics of
words does not allow us to so say) but something like "that which
is FORMED in her" or "that which is GENERATED in her" or "that
which is BEING PRODUCED in her" or "that which is BEGOTTEN in
her" or "that which is CONCEIVED in her" or if you want to get
really modern "Mary your fiance is PREGNANT by the Holy Spirit."
Our use of the English word pregnant does not mean to us the same
thing as our use of the English word birth. We use two different
words to convey two separate ideas or thoughts - one the idea of
a mother carrying her baby in the womb, the other of her bringing
forth her baby from her body into the outside world.
This Greek word GENNAO carries with it BOTH MEANINGS!! It is used
of actual birth as we use the word "birth" and it is used as
meaning pregnancy as we use that word.
The use of the word gennao in Mat.1:20 proves beyond any shadow
of doubt that within this context it means Mary was ONLY begotten
or pregnant with the child Jesus - she had not yet given birth to
The KJV scholars(men of noble skill in Hebrew and Greek for the
most part) correctly understood the word gennao in this context
and so translated it as "conceived" with the marginal reading
NOW LET'S LOOK AT THIS "BORN FROM ABOVE" IDEA OF JOHN 3:3.
From the booklet "Born from Above" or :Born again"? by Vance
Stinson (The Church of God , International, Tyler, Texas)
"Again" or "From Above".
The Greek word translated "again" (John 3:3, "born again"), is
rendered "from above" in many modern English translations. The
word is "anothen," and can mean "from above," "anew," "from the
top" and "from the first." In John's Gospel, the term usually
means "from above" (see John 3:31; 19:11), but that doesn't mean
that "from above" is always the preferred translation. Many
commentators claim that "anothen" should be translated "from
above" in John 3:3.
But should it? Rather than go to Greek scholars and assume they
speak the language Jesus and the apostles spoke, let's go to
someone who definitely spoke the language of Jesus. His name is
In response to Jesus' startling statement, Nicodemus asked, "How
can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time
into his mother's womb, and be born?" (John 3:4).
Clearly, Nicodemus understood Jesus to say that a man must be
born anew - a "second time" - to see the Kingdom of God. The idea
of receiving the Holy Spirit "from above" was well known to the
Jews, as was the concept of being "made new" through healing of
infirmities. Had Jesus used a word that meant "from above,"
Nicodemus surely would not have replied the way he did; he would
have thought Jesus was speaking of a spiritual "birth," or
"renewal," through reception of the Holy Spirit.
It seems that virtually every commentator assumes that the
conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus took place in Greek.
They then proceed to explore the various nuances of meanings of
the Greek words used in the text.
But keep in mind that both Jesus and Nicodemus spoke Aramaic
fluently, and that this conversation probably almost certainly
Kook place in Aramaic, not Greek. So regardless of the nuances of
meaning of a single Greek term, it is clear that Nicodemus did
not hear Jesus say anything that REMOTELY RESEMBLES "spiritual
renewal from above"! Rather, he understood Him to say that a man
must come forth from the womb a second time!
Friends, I have some great news for you, many with their PhD's in
Theology may not want you to know or believe what I am about to
tell you, but that's okay, neither did the scribes and Pharisees
of Jesus' day want the people to know the truth of the matter
either. You can read what Christ thought about those religious
leaders in Mat.23.
Here is a truth: you do NOT HAVE TO KNOW/UNDERSTAND/BE SKILLED IN
THE MEANING OF BIBLICAL HEBREW AND/OR GREEK to ascertain the
truths of the Bible!!!
God has made sure that His truths as found in His word can be
understood by those led by His Spirit and are willing to be as
little children. Jesus once said about the "simple" folk of His
day who believe while the learned scholars argued from their
technical minds against Him, "I thank you Father that you have
hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed
them unto babes."
The Bible friends interprets itself - all truths that God wants
you to "get right" are explained within the context of the
passage or by other verses found elsewhere in the Bible.
John chapter 3 and the subject under discussion is a PRIME
Vance Stinson has hit the nail right on the head. He correctly
has explained that Nicodemus HAD NO TROUBLE AT ALL IN
UNDERSTANDING WHAT JESUS MEANT WHEN HE SAID "YOU MUST BE BORN
AGAIN" at least from a human term of the words Jesus used whether
they were uttered in Greek or Aramaic.
Nicodemus DID NOT UNDERSTAND Jesus to be speaking about something
spiritual as the working of the Spirit of God in people's lives.
He did understand Him to have said that a man must AGAIN go back
into the mother's womb, come through the birth channel and be
Jesus obviously conveyed to the mind of Nicodemus(whatever
language was being spoken) that a person must be BORN ONCE MORE -
AGAIN - BORN A SECOND TIME - BORN AGAIN, for Nicodemus, after
hearing this said to Jesus, "How can a man be born when he is
old? Can he ENTER THE SECOND TIME INTO HIS MOTHER'S WOMB AND BE
Nicodemus did not think Jesus was talking about something that
had to happen from the sky, from the heavens, from above his head
in a spiritual "unseen hand from somewhere" mode of churchianity.
READ ONCE MORE WHAT VANCE STINSON WROTE - READ IT SLOWLY AND
CAREFULLY - GET IT CLEAR IN YOUR MIND AND YOU'LL NEVER BE
DECEIVED BY THE CLEVER ARGUMENTS OF SO CALLED "PROFESSORS" OF
What about professor Stavrinides statement " When John wants to
say "again he uses other terms. One such term is plain..... John
3:3, therefore should be rendered 'born from above' not 'born
We have just proved above that the professor from Ambassador
College is in error, but his argument about John using other
Greek words for "again" needs to be answered.
God is the author of language/s. He inspired the Bible to be
written much like any other well written book by a good
linguistic. A well written book must not be stodgy or repetitive
in the use of words. The English language (and Greek also) has
different sounding words to convey the same idea.
Let me illustrate.
You may in one sentence talk about a certain "present" you gave
to some person for their wedding. In the next sentence a line or
two later you may call this same present not a present but a
"gift" you gave them on their wedding. The two words say the same
thing - the reader has no trouble knowing what you are talking
about, but you have chosen to use different words in your writing
to not become boring or repetitive.
There are many books on the market that are just for that
purpose, so you can have a broader scope of words to use in your
writing and verbal communications. I have one put out by Reader's
Digest called "Family Word Finder." Take the word "agenda" - the
above book says,"What's on your agenda today?: list of things to
be done, schedule, docket, program, items of business."
The Bible writers often used the same rules of good book writing
that we use today, don't be dull, stuffy, humdrum, flat, boring,
the number of words you use to communicate and convey, impart,
relate,disclose,the same ideas and concept and mental pictures.
Just because John used a certain Greek word that means "again" in
one part of his book does not mean he is obliged to use it in
another section(part) of his volume(book). He has the right to
choose other different sounding words (and different spellings)
that also can mean "again."