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John 1:48

ESV Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
NIV How do you know me?' Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, 'I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.'
NASB Nathanael *said to Him, 'How do You know me?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.'
CSB "How do you know me? " Nathanael asked."Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you," Jesus answered.
NLT 'How do you know about me?' Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, 'I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.'
KJV Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

What does John 1:48 mean?

Nathanael and Jesus haven't met yet, but Jesus' first comment is about Nathanael's honesty. Nathanael's reply is understandable: "How do You know me?" This could just as easily have been translated as "what do You know about me, anyway?" This question is ironic: the first thing Nathanael did when hearing about Jesus was to judge Him based on where He lived. The statement about honesty was a subtle joke: the namesake of Israel was a habitual liar. Jesus is gently poking holes in Nathanael's use of stereotypes. Jesus describes what Nathanael was doing before Philip approached him. One of the common ways Jesus broke through to people was by proving His divine knowledge. The woman at the well in John chapter 4 was surprised to find that Jesus already knew everything about her (John 4:39). The same basic principle holds in encounters with Christ today. Part of the salvation experience is realizing that Jesus already knows who we are, and what we've done, but loves us anyway.
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