John 3:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.

New Living Translation
"He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.

English Standard Version
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.

New American Standard Bible
"He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

King James Bible
He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The One who comes from heaven is above all.

International Standard Version
The one who comes from above is superior to everything. The one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is superior to everything.

NET Bible
The one who comes from above is superior to all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is superior to all.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For he who came from above is higher than all, and he who is from Earth is from the ground, and speaks from the earth. He who has come from Heaven is higher than all.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"The person who comes from above is superior to everyone. I, a person from the earth, know nothing but what is on earth, and that's all I can talk about. The person who comes from heaven is superior to everyone

Jubilee Bible 2000
He that comes from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly and speaks earthly things: he that comes from heaven is above all.

King James 2000 Bible
He that comes from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of the earth: he that comes from heaven is above all.

American King James Version
He that comes from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of the earth: he that comes from heaven is above all.

American Standard Version
He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all.

Darby Bible Translation
He who comes from above is above all. He who has his origin in the earth is of the earth, and speaks [as] of the earth. He who comes out of heaven is above all,

English Revised Version
He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

Webster's Bible Translation
He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

Weymouth New Testament
He who comes from above is above all. He whose origin is from the earth is not only himself from the earth, his teaching also is from the earth. He who comes from Heaven is above all.

World English Bible
He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the Earth belongs to the Earth, and speaks of the Earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

Young's Literal Translation
he who from above is coming is above all; he who is from the earth, from the earth he is, and from the earth he speaketh; he who from the heaven is coming is above all.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:22-36 John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 31-36. - A large number of commentators of all schools hold that the remaining verses of this chapter give us the reflections of the evangelist rather than a continuous discourse of the Baptist. Strauss, Weisse, Reuss, and Bretschneider, who make the supposed proof of this Johannine appendix to the Baptist's words an evidence of inhistoricity throughout the Gospel, and the school of Baur, which finds in the entire representation simply an artistic endeavour on the part of a second century falsarius to show that John's disciples were absorbed into the Catholic Church, are joined here by Bengel, De Wette, Westcott, Moulton, and Edersheim, who see no difficulty in the introduction of these sentiments, which correspond with those of the Epistles of John, as an appendix of the evangelist, and not a reminiscence of the teaching of the Baptist. The reasons in favour of this view are that the ideas and phraseology are said to be far in advance of John the Baptist's theological position, and certainly reflect the later teaching of the Master. We will consider some of these seriatim, but cannot accept the argument as final. Hengstenberg, Meyer, Godet, Alford, Lange, even Renan, do not yield to the positions thus assumed, nor will they admit any word of the Baptist here uttered to be inconsistent with the known doctrine of the forerunner; whereas they urge that the simple communication to John of the substance of our Lord's discourse to Nicodemus is adequate explanation of the similarities between the two. It may be admitted that some subjective colouring from the apostle's own mind may have been transfused by him into his report of both discourses, which we cannot doubt (whatever may be said about the Galilaean ministry) were conducted in the Aramaic tongue. Weiss makes the pertinent suggestion that we cannot think that John the son of Zebedee beard the final testimony of the Baptist. It may easily have been communicated to the circle around Jesus by Andrew and some other disciple of the two masters. This may account for the appearance throughout the discourse of more Johannine language than usual. If we cannot, or may not, make these simple hypotheses, then we too should be disposed to think that the subjective element had so predominated as almost to hide the historic quality of the whole of this swanlike song of the Old Testament dispensation. But the hypotheses seem to be highly probable and extremely natural, and the coherence of the passage with what has gone before to be obvious and complete. The discourse contrasts the entire prophetic ministry with that of the Son of God (vers. 31, 32), which then sets forth the menus of appropriating the Divine gift of the Son of God (vers. 33-35), and predicts the awful issues of rejecting the supreme claims of the Divine Lord (ver. 36). The teaching is in accord with Old Testament doctrine, illumined, as we learn that John's was, by special visions, and by communications to him of the significance of the Lord's uttered words. It is quite irrelevant, if not absurd, to say that such a testimony of the forerunner makes the cotinuance or spread of John's teaching and baptism impossible; for

(1) the words were obviously addressed to a small group only of the many thousands who heard John preach, and

(2) it does not follow that all those who heard these memorable words should have deserted their first master, even in deference to his own advice. The words that follow, whether a simple record of John's discourse or one deeply coloured by the subjectivity of the evangelist, are as follows: - Verse 31. - He that is coming from above is above all. Now, it is obvious that Jesus had spoken of the Son of man as having come down from heaven (ver. 13), and of his own power to speak of heavenly things (i.e. of causes and measures of Divine operations); and he contrasts these with the "earthly things" of which he too had spoken - "earthly" they were because they dealt with experiences felt and witnessed and realized on earth. Now, John is represented, on the occasion of the baptism of our Lord, as being convinced that Jesus was "the Son of God," and that his existence was prior to his own, and that his rank in the universe was one utterly transcending his own. These statements have been already put into the lips of John by the fourth evangelist, and are scarcely exceeded, if at all, by the utterance before us. We find a bold contrast between the Logos himself and the witness to the manifested Logos. He who cometh from above, being before John, and being, therefore, in his essential dignity, superior to him, is above all, and therefore above him. He that is, in his origin and the entire self-realization of his life, from the earth, and not incarnate Logos, is of the earth in quality, and speaketh of the earth (observe, not κόσμος, but γῆ is here used). The experiences to which he refers are enacted on the earth, and he has no power to go back and heavenwards for the full explanation of them. Higher than heaven are the thoughts and revelations of the Son of God. He can unveil the heart of the eternal Father. Christ can link his own work with the ministry of the mightiest of the Heaven-sent messengers; but John starts from the consciousness, the perils, the self-deceptions and contrition of man. He that cometh out of heaven is above all. This great utterance is repeated, and it involves little more than what John had implied to the Sanhedrin (John 1:30-34).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

He that cometh from above,.... Meaning Christ; not that he brought his human nature with him from heaven, or that that is of a celestial nature; but he came from heaven in his divine person, not by change of place, he being God immense and infinite, but by assumption of human nature; which he took upon him, in order to do in it his Father's will, and the work of our salvation.

Is above all; above John, before whom he was preferred, for he was before him; above the prophets of the Old Testament, and even above Moses, the chief of them; yea, above all the angels in heaven, being God over all, blessed for ever: wherefore all glory is to be given him; no honour is to be envied him, or detracted from him.

He that is of the earth; as John was, and all mankind are, being descended from Adam, who was, made of the dust of the earth; and who dwell in houses of clay, and in earthly tabernacles, which are at last resolved into their original dust:

is earthly; of an earthly nature, frame, temper, and disposition; see John 3:6. Men naturally mind earthly things; and it is owing to the Spirit and grace of God, if they mind and savour spiritual things, or have their affections set on things above, or their conversation in heaven; and even such, at times, find that their souls cleave unto the dust, and are hankering after the things of the earth:

and speaketh of the earth; of earthly things, as in John 3:12; and indeed of heavenly things, in an earthly manner, in a low way, and by similes and comparisons taken from the things of the earth; not being able to speak of celestial things, as in their own nature, and in that sublime way the subject requires: but

he that cometh from heaven is above all; men and angels, in the dignity of his person; and all prophets and teachers, in the excellency of his doctrine, and manner of delivering it: and therefore it is not to be wondered at, that he should be followed as he is; but rather it should seem marvellous, that he has no more followers than he has; in the Apocrypha:

"For like as the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea to his floods: even so they that dwell upon the earth may understand nothing but that which is upon the earth: and he that dwelleth above the heavens may only understand the things that are above the height of the heavens.'' (2 Esdras 4:21)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

31-34. He that, &c.—Here is the reason why He must increase while all human teachers must decrease. The Master "cometh from above"—descending from His proper element, the region of those "heavenly things" which He came to reveal, and so, although mingling with men and things on the earth, is not "of the earth," either in Person or Word. The servants, on the contrary, springing of earth, are of the earth, and their testimony, even though divine in authority, partakes necessarily of their own earthiness. (So strongly did the Baptist feel this contrast that the last clause just repeats the first). It is impossible for a sharper line of distinction to be drawn between Christ and all human teachers, even when divinely commissioned and speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost. And who does not perceive it? The words of prophets and apostles are undeniable and most precious truth; but in the words of Christ we hear a voice as from the excellent Glory, the Eternal Word making Himself heard in our own flesh.

John 3:31 Additional Commentaries
Context
John's Testimony Concerning Jesus
30"He must increase, but I must decrease. 31"He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32"What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.…
Cross References
Matthew 28:18
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

John 3:13
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.

John 3:30
He must become greater; I must become less."

John 8:23
But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

1 Corinthians 15:47
The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

1 John 4:5
They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
Treasury of Scripture

He that comes from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of the earth: he that comes from heaven is above all.

that cometh.

John 3:13 And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from …

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives …

John 8:23 And he said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above: you are …

Ephesians 1:20,21 Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and …

Ephesians 4:8-10 Why he said, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, …

is above.

John 1:15,27,30 John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom …

John 5:21-25 For as the Father raises up the dead, and vivifies them; even so …

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me …

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace …

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ …

Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and …

Philippians 2:9-11 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is …

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels …

Revelation 19:16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING …

he that is.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall …

1 Corinthians 15:47,48 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven…

Hebrews 9:1,9,10 Then truly the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, …

he that cometh.

John 6:33,51 For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives …

John 16:27,28 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and …

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