John 1:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

New Living Translation
I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel."

English Standard Version
I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

New American Standard Bible
"I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."

King James Bible
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I didn't know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel."

International Standard Version
I didn't recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel."

NET Bible
I did not recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he could be revealed to Israel."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“And I did not know him, but so that he should be made known to Israel, therefore I have come to baptize in water.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I didn't know who he was. However, I came to baptize with water to show him to the people of Israel."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

King James 2000 Bible
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

American King James Version
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

American Standard Version
And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I knew him not, but that he may be made manifest in Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Darby Bible Translation
and I knew him not; but that he might be manifested to Israel, therefore have I come baptising with water.

English Revised Version
And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing with water.

Webster's Bible Translation
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Weymouth New Testament
I did not yet know Him; but that He may be openly shown to Israel is the reason why I have come baptizing in water."

World English Bible
I didn't know him, but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel."

Young's Literal Translation
and I knew him not, but, that he might be manifested to Israel, because of this I came with the water baptizing.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:29-36 John saw Jesus coming to him, and pointed him out as the Lamb of God. The paschal lamb, in the shedding and sprinkling of its blood, the roasting and eating of its flesh, and all the other circumstances of the ordinance, represented the salvation of sinners by faith in Christ. And the lambs sacrificed every morning and evening, can only refer to Christ slain as a sacrifice to redeem us to God by his blood. John came as a preacher of repentance, yet he told his followers that they were to look for the pardon of their sins to Jesus only, and to his death. It agrees with God's glory to pardon all who depend on the atoning sacrifice of Christ. He takes away the sin of the world; purchases pardon for all that repent and believe the gospel. This encourages our faith; if Christ takes away the sin of the world, then why not my sin? He bore sin for us, and so bears it from us. God could have taken away sin, by taking away the sinner, as he took away the sin of the old world; but here is a way of doing away sin, yet sparing the sinner, by making his Son sin, that is, a sin-offering, for us. See Jesus taking away sin, and let that cause hatred of sin, and resolutions against it. Let us not hold that fast, which the Lamb of God came to take away. To confirm his testimony concerning Christ, John declares the appearance at his baptism, in which God himself bore witness to him. He saw and bare record that he is the Son of God. This is the end and object of John's testimony, that Jesus was the promised Messiah. John took every opportunity that offered to lead people to Christ.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 31-34. -

(3) The purpose of John's own mission was to introduce to Israel the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost. Verse 31. - And I for my part knew him not. This is thought by some to be incompatible with the statement of Matthew 3:14, where the Baptist displayed sufficient knowledge of Jesus to have exclaimed, "I have need to be baptized of thee." Early commentators, e.g. Ammonius, quoted in 'Catena Patrum,' suggested that John's long residence in the wilderness had prevented his knowing his kinsman; Chrysostom, 'Hom. 16. in Joannem,' urged that he was not familiar with his person; Epiphanius, 'Adv. Haer.,' 30, and Justin Martyr, 'Dial.,' 100, 88, refer to a long passage in the 'Gospel of the Ebionites,' which, notwithstanding numerous perversions, yet suggests a method of conciliation of the two narratives, that the sign of the opening heavens and the voice occasioned the consternation of John, and explains his deprecation of the act which he had already performed (see my 'John the Baptist,' pp. 313, 314; Nicholson, 'Gospel according to the Hebrews,' pp. 38-40). Neander has suggested the true explanation: "In contradistinction to that which John now saw in the Divine light, all his previous knowledge appeared to be a non-knowledge." John knew of Jesus, as his kinsman; he knew him as One mightier than himself - One whose coming, as compared with his own, was as the coming of the Lord. When Jesus approached him for baptism, John therefore knew quite enough to make him hesitate to baptize the Christ. He knew more than enough to induce him to say, "I have need to be baptized of thee." Godet imagines that, since baptism was preceded by confession, John found that the confession made by Jesus was of such a lofty, saintly, God-like type of repudiation of sin, as that John himself had never attained to. This representation fails from attributing to John the function of a sacerdotal confessor of later days, and is out of harmony altogether with the meaning and potency of our Lord's confession of the sin of the whole of that human nature which he had taken upon himself. The knowledge which John had of Jesus was as nothing to the blaze of light which burst upon him when he realized the idea that Jesus was the Son of God. The "I knew him not" of this verse was a subsequent reflection of the Baptist when the sublime humility, the dovelike sweetness, and the spiritual might of Jesus were revealed to him. A blind man who had received his sight during the hours of darkness might imagine, when he saw the reflected glory of the moon or morning star in the eye of dawn, that he knew the nature and had felt the glory of light; but amidst the splendours of sunrise or of noon he might justly say, "I knew it not" (compare the language of Paul, Philippians 3:10, and of this same evangelist, Revelation 1:17. See Archdeacon Farrar's 'Life of Christ,' vol. 1:117; my 'John the Baptist,' p. 315). But that he should be manifested to Israel, for this cause I came baptizing in (with) water. It was traditionally expected that Elijah should anoint Messiah. John perceives now the transitional nature of his own mission. His baptism retires into the background. He sees that its whole meaning was the introduction of Messiah, the manifestation of the Son of God to Israel. It may be said that the ministry of the wilderness, with the vast impression it produced, is represented by the synoptists as of more essential importance in itself. John's own judgment, however, here recorded, is the true key to the whole representation. The synoptic narrative shows very clearly that, as a matter of fact, the Johannine ministry culminated at the baptism of Jesus, and lost itself in the dawn of the great day which it inaugurated and heralded. The Fourth Gospel does but give the rationale of such an arrangement, and refer the origin of the idea to John himself. If John did not intensify the sense of sin which Messiah was to soothe and take away; if John did not, by baptism with water, excite a desire for an infinitely nobler and more precious baptism; if John did not prepare a way for One of vastly more moment to mankind and to the kingdom of God than himself, - his whole work was a failure. In that John saw his own relation to the Christ - he saw his own place in the dispensations of Providence.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And I knew him not,.... "by sight", as Nonnus paraphrases it; personally he had never seen him, nor had had any conversation and familiarity with him; for though they were related to each other, yet lived at such a distance, as not to know one another, or have a correspondence with each other: John was in the deserts, until the day of his showing unto Israel; and Christ dwelt with his parents at Nazareth, in a very mean and obscure manner, till he came from thence to Jordan to John, to be baptized by him; and which was the first interview they had: and this was so ordered by providence, as also this is said by John, lest it should be thought, that the testimony he bore to Jesus, and the high commendation he gave of him, arose from the relation between them; or from a confederacy and compact they had entered into:

but that he should be made manifest to Israel; who had been for many years hid in Galilee, an obscure part of the world: and though he had been known to Joseph and Mary, and to Zacharias and Elisabeth, and to Simeon and Anna; yet he was not made manifest to the people of Israel in common; nor did they know that the Messiah was come: but that he might be known:

therefore am I come baptizing with water; or in water, as before: for by administering this new ordinance, the people were naturally put upon inquiry after the Messiah, whether come, and where he was, since such a new rite was introduced; and besides, John, when he baptized any, he exhorted them to believe on him, which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus; and moreover, by Christ's coming to his baptism, he came to have a personal knowledge of him himself, and so was capable of pointing him out, and making him manifest to others, as he did.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

31-34. knew him not—Living mostly apart, the one at Nazareth, the other in the Judean desert—to prevent all appearance of collusion, John only knew that at a definite time after his own call, his Master would show Himself. As He drew near for baptism one day, the last of all the crowd, the spirit of the Baptist heaving under a divine presentiment that the moment had at length arrived, and an air of unwonted serenity and dignity, not without traits, probably, of the family features, appearing in this Stranger, the Spirit said to him as to Samuel of his youthful type, "Arise, anoint Him, for this is He!" (1Sa 16:12). But the sign which he was told to expect was the visible descent of the Spirit upon Him as He emerged out of the baptismal water. Then, catching up the voice from heaven, "he saw and bare record that this is the Son of God."

John 1:31 Additional Commentaries
Context
Behold, the Lamb of God
30"This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.' 31"I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water." 32John testified saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.…
Cross References
Matthew 3:13
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

John 1:30
This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'

John 1:32
Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
Treasury of Scripture

And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

I knew.

John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the …

Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts …

Luke 2:39-42 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the …

but.

John 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all …

Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way …

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before …

Malachi 4:2-5 But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise …

Luke 1:17,76-79 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn …

therefore.

Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:3-5 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of …

Luke 3:3,4 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism …

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, …

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