John 1:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 1:19, NIV: "Now this was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was."

John 1:19, ESV: "And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”"

John 1:19, KJV: "And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?"

John 1:19, NASB: "This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?'"

John 1:19, NLT: "This was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, 'Who are you?'"

John 1:19, CSB: "This was John's testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you? ""

What does John 1:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verse 19 introduces a conversation between John the Baptist and the local religious leaders. As in the rest of the gospel of John, when John uses the term "the Jews," he generally means the high-level political and religious leaders. Specifically, these in verse 19 are the ultra-legalistic Pharisees (John 1:24). Pharisees were extremely devout, but had a tendency to be cold and arrogant. Not all were that way, as shown by Nicodemus (John 3:1–2), a Pharisee who apparently became a believer (John 19:39). It was completely fair for the Pharisees to question the Baptist. In fact, it was exactly what they should have done. Israel's religious leaders were supposed to be the guardians of the truth. Ancient Jerusalem wasn't all that different from large cities today. There were plenty of people spouting spiritual babble. John's ministry must have been quite popular or challenging to attract official investigation. Investigating a strange message was a good step, but their search doesn't seem to be very sincere.