Please define "Born Again"

Please define for me the term “born again”.
If I have never fallen away from my faith do I need to be "born again?

Be baptized.

Jesus said you must be born again of water and the spirit. He is talking about baptism. This washes away the stain of original sin and makes you a Christian.

If you have already been baptized, then you have already been born again. Now you must continue to repent and convert.

Have you been baptized? Then you have been born again. We Catholics take this very differently than many Protestants do.

Yes, I have been baptized. Thank you for your replies.

Hey Jeffrey.

What everyone else said.

And…if you have been baptized, you have been “born again” (or born from above)…and you do not need to do that again EVEN IF you did fall away from the faith and then returned. To paraphrase St. Augustine “Neither the natural birth, nor the supernatural birth can be repeated.” When some people fall away, then return, they will have a conversion experience or recommit their life to God. But they don’t need to get rebaptized.

Being “born again” = being born “of water and the Spirit” = being Baptized.

Hope this helps.

God bless.


Here are all the verses that say being “born again” or being “born anew” or being “born from above” = merely accepting Jesus into your heart . . . .

OK. Now that we’ve seen all of those verses (there are none), lets move on to the fullness of Christian teaching (bold mine).

Here is our Lord Jesus Christ telling us about being “born again” (sometimes translated as “born anew” or “born from above”) . . . .

JOHN 3:3-4a, 5, 22** 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? . . . 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. . . . . 22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.

Here is the CCC reaffirming this teaching . . . .

CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.[59] He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.
The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why **she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” **
God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

Footnote #59 in CCC 1257 above cites John 3:5 specifically!

And here is St. Irenaeus back in the late 100’s A.D. just matter-of-factly teaching this.

SAINT IRENAEUS " ‘And dipped himself,’ says [the Scripture], ‘seven times in Jordan.’ It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy,
was purified upon his being baptized, but [it served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ "

  • Irenaeus, Fragment, 34 (A.D. 190), in ANF, I:574

In the Greek, the word is “anothen” meaning from above. So it is not again in the sense of numerical succession, but a spiritual, not physical rebirth. Nicodemus was confused on the term, so Jesus explained it to him in Saint John 3. As stated previously Protestants have a different methodology for the born again experience than Catholics. Both groups would agree of the necessity since the Scripture twice uses the word “must” before the term “born again.”:smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit