1:32 Then 1 John testified, 2 “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove 3 from heaven, 4 and it remained on him. 5 1:33 And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining – this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events in the narrative. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style generally does not.
2 tn Grk “testified, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
3 sn The phrase like a dove is a descriptive comparison. The Spirit is not a dove, but descended like one in some sort of bodily representation.
4 tn Or “from the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context.
5 sn John says the Spirit remained on Jesus. The Greek verb μένω (menw) is a favorite Johannine word, used 40 times in the Gospel and 27 times in the Epistles (67 together) against 118 times total in the NT. The general significance of the verb μένω for John is to express the permanency of relationship between Father and Son and Son and believer. Here the use of the word implies that Jesus permanently possesses the Holy Spirit, and because he does, he will dispense the Holy Spirit to others in baptism. Other notes on the dispensation of the Spirit occur at John 3:5 and following (at least implied by the wordplay), John 3:34, 7:38-39, numerous passages in John 14-16 (the Paraclete passages) and John 20:22. Note also the allusion to Isa 42:1 – “Behold my servant…my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have put my Spirit on him.”