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John 1:23

ESV He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
NIV John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.''
NASB He said, 'I am THE VOICE OF ONE CALLING OUT IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE THE WAY OF THE Lord STRAIGHT,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.'
CSB He said, "I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord --just as Isaiah the prophet said."
NLT John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: 'I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’'
KJV He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
NKJV He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

What does John 1:23 mean?

John the Baptist makes a single clear claim to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. He is "the voice" of Isaiah 40:3, from the Greek word phone. Jesus, on the other hand, is "the Word," from the Greek word logos (John 1:1). The "voice" brings awareness of "the Word," which people are then expected to respond to. There, in the desert outside of Jerusalem, John the Baptist was crying out, making "the way" for the Lord (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1–3).

People hearing this prophecy would have understood it as "making a road," meaning a path for the incoming King. Our conversations, and our discussions, are meant to "make a way" for Christ to reach others (2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Peter 3:15–16).

John the Baptist is also reassuring others by denying that he is the Messiah. What he preaches is not a new religion, nor even a new revelation. It is the fulfillment of what was already prophesied (Isaiah 9:2–7; Jeremiah 33:15–16). This is not God changing His mind—it is God completing His plan.
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