John 3:29 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 3:29, NIV: "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete."

John 3:29, ESV: "The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete."

John 3:29, KJV: "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled."

John 3:29, NASB: "He who has the bride is the groom; but the friend of the groom, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly because of the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full."

John 3:29, NLT: "It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success."

John 3:29, CSB: "He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom's friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom's voice. So this joy of mine is complete."

What does John 3:29 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John the Baptist was clear, right from the beginning, that his ministry was all about leading people to Jesus (John 1:23; John 3:28). So, when people tell him that Jesus is attracting more attention, he is not concerned. In fact, he is joyful—this is what he was called by God to do, and he's seeing it happen.

Wedding terminology is common is the Bible. God is often pictured as a groom who takes Israel, or His people, as a bride (Isaiah 54:4; Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 2:19). The best man at a wedding is not meant to be the center of attention. Of all of the men involved, the groom is supposed to get all of the applause. The best man's role is to help the groom, to be his advocate, and his friend. When the groom has his bride, the best man is joyful. He's not jealous or angry, because that outcome is exactly what he wanted in the first place.

In this way, John the Baptist has acted like a best man for Jesus. Now that Jesus has come on the scene, the Baptist is happy to see Him succeed. Verse 30 is the logical end result of this change. If people are going to follow Jesus, they can't follow John the Baptist, as well. In order for the Baptist's mission to succeed, he must lose popularity and fame, and Jesus must gain it.