John 1:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 1:22, NIV: "Finally they said, 'Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'"

John 1:22, ESV: "So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”"

John 1:22, KJV: "Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?"

John 1:22, NASB: "Then they said to him, 'Who are you? Tell us, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'"

John 1:22, NLT: "'Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?'"

John 1:22, CSB: ""Who are you, then? " they asked. "We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What can you tell us about yourself? ""

What does John 1:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

It's typical of a dishonest skeptic to ask questions that aren't really questions, without much interest in the truth. Once the interrogators run out of their own ideas about who John the Baptist might be, they finally give him the opportunity to speak for himself. And yet, this seems mostly because they want to get their errand over and done with. Verse 22 suggests that the actual men present were messengers of local religious leaders, not necessarily the religious leaders themselves. The Baptist's ministry must have been influential enough to require investigation, but not enough to convince priests or scribes to come out in person. Israel's spiritual leaders were supposed to act like shepherds, protecting the people from false ideas. So, it was legitimate for local priests to question John the Baptist. He was attracting attention by preaching a controversial message (John 1:19). As usual, the Baptist would rather tell others about the Messiah, than talk about himself.