What does John 1:26 mean?
ESV: John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,
NIV: I baptize with water,' John replied, 'but among you stands one you do not know.
NASB: John answered them, saying, 'I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
CSB: "I baptize with water," John answered them. "Someone stands among you, but you don't know him.
NLT: John told them, 'I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize.
KJV: John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
NKJV: John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.
Verse Commentary:
The Pharisees have challenged John the Baptist's right to baptize (John 1:19–25). Jewish converts were often baptized, but the Baptist was performing this ritual on those who were already Jewish. Even more controversially, he did so without any claim to priesthood or prophet-hood. He is neither the Savior, a re-born Elijah, or the prophet Moses predicted (Deuteronomy 18:18).

Earlier (John 1:25), skeptical leaders essentially asked the Baptist, "Who do you think you are?" He responds that his ministry only uses physical tools, such as baptism with water. The ministry of Jesus will go far beyond physical rituals. The Baptist then immediately declares that there is someone present whom the Pharisees don't know.

He will explain that this "One" is so much greater than him that he isn't worthy to untie his sandals. In this era of history, people walked everywhere and their feet would become covered in grime and animal waste. Tending to someone else's shoes was the lowest chore of the lowest servant. This is how far beneath the Promised One John the Baptist sees himself.
Verse Context:
John 1:19–28 describes a conversation. On one side is John the Baptist, different from the author of this gospel. On the other are local religious leaders. Baptizing converts to Judaism was common, but the Baptist was calling on Jews to repent and be baptized. The Baptist makes it clear that he is not the "Promised One," but equally clear that his mission is to prepare the way for that One.
Chapter Summary:
The first chapter of John introduces Jesus as "the Word," from the Greek logos. This chapter clearly describes Jesus as God. After this prologue, the chapter describes Jesus recruiting the first of His disciples, as well as a conversation between John the Baptist and the Pharisees. There are seven names or titles for Christ in this chapter, including "the Son of God," "the Word," and "the King of Israel."
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of the gospel of John equates Christ with God and introduces John the Baptist. The Baptist specifically points to Jesus as the Promised One. Jesus collects the first five of His disciples. In this chapter, Jesus is given seven descriptive names, including "the Word," "the Son of God," and "the King of Israel." This chapter sets the stage for the rest of the gospel, by giving the reader a sense of who Jesus truly is, and why He has come. The rest of the gospel is an exploration of the claims made in this initial passage.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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