John 3:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 3:27, NIV: "To this John replied, 'A person can receive only what is given them from heaven."

John 3:27, ESV: "John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."

John 3:27, KJV: "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

John 3:27, NASB: "John replied, 'A person can receive not even one thing unless it has been given to him from heaven."

John 3:27, NLT: "John replied, 'No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven."

John 3:27, CSB: "John responded, "No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven."

What does John 3:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verse 26, John the Baptist is confronted with the fact that Jesus is attracting many followers. Probably, this meant He was gaining more than the Baptist was, or that people were leaving the Baptist to follow Jesus instead. Rather than becoming jealous, petty, or angry, the Baptist has the right approach.

In his particular case, the Baptist was called so people would follow Jesus. Seeing that happen doesn't mean his efforts were in vain—it means they were a success! And, since this was never about him in the first place, the Baptist is happy. In verse 29, he will compare himself to the best man at a wedding, and Jesus to the groom. Seeing the happiness of the groom, and the attention he receives, makes the best man ecstatic, not jealous. For the Baptist, it's wonderful to see Jesus gaining the interest He deserves.

This is also an important guideline for Christians in general. As John the Baptist says, "no one can receive a single thing unless it's given to him from heaven." No matter what success we have, we owe it to God. We shouldn't be angry or frustrated when others seem more successful; God is ultimately the one in control (1 Corinthians 3:1–9).