John 1:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

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

John 1:31, ESV: "I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”"

John 1:31, KJV: "And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water."

John 1:31, NASB: "And I did not recognize Him, but so that He would be revealed to Israel, I came baptizing in water.'"

John 1:31, NLT: "I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.'"

John 1:31, CSB: "I didn't know him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.""

What does John 1:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verse 31, John the Baptist strangely claims that he did not recognize Jesus as Messiah at first. He had simply been baptizing, so that Christ would be revealed to Israel. Although the Baptist and Jesus were related through their mothers, and the Baptist had responded to the presence of Jesus while in the womb, they probably hadn't spent much time around each other. Since Jesus hadn't yet performed any miracles, it's reasonable to think that the Baptist didn't know Jesus was the Messiah until seeing the vision of the dove (John 1:32). This is part of the mystery of Jesus' youth: the Bible doesn't give many details about Jesus prior to the start of His ministry. The word used for "baptism" is the Greek baptizo, which literally means "to immerse," but with a specific spiritual context. John's purpose in calling people to repentance, demonstrated by baptism, was to open the path of understanding for Jesus. Once Christ appeared on the stage, it was time for the Baptist to step aside.