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John 1:25-28

Context
1:25 So they asked John, 1  “Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, 2  nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

1:26 John answered them, 3  “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not recognize, 4  1:27 who is coming after me. I am not worthy 5  to untie the strap 6  of his sandal!” 1:28 These things happened in Bethany 7  across the Jordan River 8  where John was baptizing.

1 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.”

2 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.

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

4 tn Or “know.”

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

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



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