John 3:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 3:32, NIV: "He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony."

John 3:32, ESV: "He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony."

John 3:32, KJV: "And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony."

John 3:32, NASB: "What He has seen and heard, of this He testifies; and no one accepts His testimony."

John 3:32, NLT: "He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them!"

John 3:32, CSB: "He testifies to what he has seen and heard, and yet no one accepts his testimony."

What does John 3:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus' message is based on His own first-hand knowledge. This is why He is the only valid source of spiritual truth. Only Jesus has come from Heaven (John 3:13). Only those who believe His message can be saved (John 3:18). Those who won't listen to the common, ordinary things Jesus teaches have no hope of understanding the spiritual things (John 3:12). The Greek word translated "testimony" is martureo, which means "to report," or "to affirm," in the same sense that a person's statement in court is called their "testimony." The apostle John uses this term very often, more than 30 times in this gospel, and 40 times overall (John 1:7; John 5:36; John 19:35; John 21:24).

Jesus' claim to personal knowledge is one reason He often uses the phrase, "amen, amen." The word amen has been preserved from translations through Greek, Hebrew, and into English. This is usually translated as "verily, verily," or "I tell you the truth," or "I assure you." Starting a statement with this phrase is a way of claiming personal knowledge—not something learned and repeated, but an original, intimately-known fact.

Sadly, most people will not accept the message of Christ. The end of verse 32 uses a common technique of exaggeration. We do the same in modern speech: when one in one-hundred people accept something, we might say, "no one thinks that's true." In reality, someone does, but the point is clear. Here, in the context of the very next verse, we see what John means. Very few accept the Light (John 1:9–10), because it forces them to confront their sins (John 3:19).