John 1:25
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

New Living Translation
asked him, "If you aren't the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?"

English Standard Version
They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

Berean Study Bible
asked him, "Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"

Berean Literal Bible
and they asked him and said to him, "Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"

New American Standard Bible
They asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

King James Bible
And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So they asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you aren't the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?""

International Standard Version
They asked him, "Why, then, are you baptizing if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?"

NET Bible
So they asked John, "Why then are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

New Heart English Bible
And they asked him, "Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they asked him and said to him, “Why therefore are you baptizing, if you are not The Messiah, nor Elijah, nor The Prophet?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
They asked John, "Why do you baptize if you're not the Messiah or Elijah or the prophet?"

New American Standard 1977
And they asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And they asked him and said unto him, Why dost thou baptize then if thou art not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?

King James 2000 Bible
And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptize you then, if you are not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet?

American King James Version
And they asked him, and said to him, Why baptize you then, if you be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

American Standard Version
And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?

Darby Bible Translation
And they asked him and said to him, Why baptisest thou then, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?

English Revised Version
And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet?

Webster's Bible Translation
And they asked him, and said to him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou art not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet?

Weymouth New Testament
Again they questioned him. "Why then do you baptize," they said, "if you are neither the Christ nor Elijah nor the Prophet?"

World English Bible
They asked him, "Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"

Young's Literal Translation
and they questioned him and said to him, 'Why, then, dost thou baptize, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?'
Study Bible
The Mission of John the Baptist
24Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands One you do not know.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 18:15
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

Deuteronomy 18:18
'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

Matthew 3:6
Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Matthew 21:11
The crowds replied, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

John 1:21
"Who are you then?" they inquired. "Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No."

John 1:24
Then the Pharisees who had been sent
Treasury of Scripture

And they asked him, and said to him, Why baptize you then, if you be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

Why.

Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders …

Acts 4:5-7 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes…

Acts 5:28 Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach …

that Christ.

John 1:20-22 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ…

Daniel 9:24-26 Seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your holy city, …

(25) Why baptizest thou then?--Baptism, which was certainly one of the initiatory rites of proselytes in the second or third century A.D., was probably so before the work of the Baptist. It is not baptism, therefore, which is strange to the questioners, but the fact that he places Jews and even Pharisees (Matthew 3:7) in an analogous position to that of proselytes, and makes them to pass through a rite which marks them out as impure, and needing to be cleansed before they enter "the kingdom of heaven." By what authority does he these things? They had interpreted such passages as Ezekiel 36:25 ff. to mean that Baptism should be one of the marks of Messiah's work. None less than the Christ, or Elias, or "the prophet" could enact a rite like this. John is assuming their power, and yet is not one of them.

Verse 25. - And they asked him (put the question), and said to him, Why baptizest thou, then, if thou be not the Christ, not Elijah, not the prophet? It would seem that, judging from such expressions as Ezekiel 36:25, 26 and Zechariah 13:1, the Jews expected some renewal of ceremonial purification on a grand scale at the Messianic appearance, and John's repudiation of every personal rank, which could, according to their view, justify him called for some explanation. And they asked him, and said unto him,.... They put a question, by saying to him,

why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? since he denied that he was the Messiah, or Elias that was to come before the Messiah, according to the expectation of the Jews, or that prophet, or a prophet, they demand by what authority he introduced a new rite and ordinance among them, which they had never been used to; for though there were divers washings or baptisms among them, enjoined by the law of Moses in certain cases, and others which obtained by tradition, as the immersion of themselves after they had been at market, and of cups, pots, brazen vessels, and tables, yet nothing of this kind that John administered: and as for the baptism of proselytes, it seems to be of a later date than this, and had no manner of likeness to it. The ordinance John administered was such, as they apprehended that no one ought to practise, unless he was the Messiah, or his forerunner, or some eminent prophet; they insist upon it therefore, that since he denied he was either of these, that he would show his credentials, and what commission he had from God to baptize; or they suggest he was liable to be called to an account by their sanhedrim, and be condemned as a false prophet, or an innovator in religious affairs. From hence it appears, that the Jews expected that baptism would be administered in the times of the Messiah, and his forerunner; but from whence they had this notion, it is not easy to say, whether from Zechariah 13:1 as Grotius, or from Ezekiel 36:25 as Lightfoot; nor do they speak contemptibly of it, but rather consider it as a very solemn affair, to be performed only by great personages: and this may teach modern ones to think and speak more respectfully of this ordinance than they do, who have given themselves great liberties, and have treated it with much contempt and virulence; calling it by the names of uncleanness, abomination, filthy water, and a devoting of persons to Satan (z): likewise, it is clear from hence, that they expected that this ordinance would be first administered by some person of very great note, either some very famous prophet, as Elias, whom they looked for before the coming of the Messiah, or else the Messiah himself, and not by a common teacher, or any ordinary person; wherefore this rite, as performed by John, could have no likeness with any thing that was in common use among them: besides, it was expressly done in the name of the Messiah, Acts 19:5 therefore they conclude he, or his forerunner, must be come; and that John must be one, or other of them, otherwise, why did he administer it? and it is also evident from hence, that no such practice had obtained before among them, or they would not have been alarmed at it, as they were; nor would they have troubled themselves to have sent after John, and inquire of him who he was, that should practise in this manner,

(z) Vet. Nizzachon, p. 56, 62, 64, 70, 74, 77, 148, 191, 193. 25. Why baptizest thou, if not, etc.—Thinking he disclaimed any special connection with Messiah's kingdom, they demand his right to gather disciples by baptism.1:19-28 John disowns himself to be the Christ, who was now expected and waited for. He came in the spirit and power of Elias, but he was not the person of Elias. John was not that Prophet whom Moses said the Lord would raise up to them of their brethren, like unto him. He was not such a prophet as they expected, who would rescue them from the Romans. He gave such an account of himself, as might excite and awaken them to hearken to him. He baptized the people with water as a profession of repentance, and as an outward sign of the spiritual blessings to be conferred on them by the Messiah, who was in the midst of them, though they knew him not, and to whom he was unworthy to render the meanest service.
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