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John 1:22-28

Context
1:22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us 1  so that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

1:23 John 2  said, “I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make straight 3  the way for the Lord,’ 4  as Isaiah the prophet said.” 1:24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 5 ) 6  1:25 So they asked John, 7  “Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, 8  nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

1:26 John answered them, 9  “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not recognize, 10  1:27 who is coming after me. I am not worthy 11  to untie the strap 12  of his sandal!” 1:28 These things happened in Bethany 13  across the Jordan River 14  where John was baptizing.

1 tn The words “Tell us” are not in the Greek but are implied.

2 tn Grk “He”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 sn This call to “make straight” is probably an allusion to preparation through repentance.

4 sn A quotation from Isa 40:3.

5 sn Pharisees were members of one of the most important and influential religious and political parties of Judaism in the time of Jesus. There were more Pharisees than Sadducees (according to Josephus, Ant. 17.2.4 [17.42] there were more than 6,000 Pharisees at about this time). Pharisees differed with Sadducees on certain doctrines and patterns of behavior. The Pharisees were strict and zealous adherents to the laws of the OT and to numerous additional traditions such as angels and bodily resurrection.

6 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

7 tn Grk “And they asked him, and said to him”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the phrase has been simplified in the translation to “So they asked John.”

8 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.

9 tn Grk “answered them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

10 tn Or “know.”

11 tn Grk “of whom I am not worthy.”

sn The humility of John is evident in the statement I am not worthy. This was considered one of the least worthy tasks of a slave, and John did not consider himself worthy to do even that for the one to come, despite the fact he himself was a prophet.

12 tn The term refers to the leather strap or thong used to bind a sandal. This is often viewed as a collective singular and translated as a plural, “the straps of his sandals,” but it may be more emphatic to retain the singular here.

13 tc Many witnesses ([א2] C2 K T Ψc 083 Ë1,13 33 pm sa Or) read Βηθαβαρᾷ (Bhqabara, “Bethabara”) instead of Βηθανίᾳ (Bhqania, “Bethany”). But the reading Βηθανίᾳ is strongly supported by {Ì66,75 A B C* L Ws Δ Θ Ψ* 565 579 700 1241 1424 pm latt bo as well as several fathers}. Since there is no known Bethany “beyond the Jordan,” it is likely that the name would have been changed to a more etymologically edifying one (Origen mistakenly thought the name Bethabara meant “house of preparation” and for this reason was appropriate in this context; see TCGNT 171 for discussion). On the other hand, both since Origen’s understanding of the Semitic etymology of Bethabara was incorrect, and because Bethany was at least a well-known location in Palestine, mentioned in the Gospels about a dozen times, one has to wonder whether scribes replaced Βηθαβαρᾷ with Βηθανίᾳ. However, if Origen’s understanding of the etymology of the name was representative, scribes may have altered the text in the direction of Bethabara. And even if most scribes were unfamiliar with what the name might signify, that a reading which did not contradict the Gospels’ statements of a Bethany near Jerusalem was already at hand may have been sufficient reason for them to adopt Bethabara. Further, in light of the very strong testimony for Βηθανίᾳ, this reading should be regarded as authentic.

14 tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity.



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