Contemporary English Version
The Word of Life
1 In the beginning was the one
who is called the Word.
The Word was with God
and was truly God.
2 From the very beginning
the Word was with God.
3 And with this Word,
God created all things.
Nothing was made
without the Word.
Everything that was created
4 received its life from him,
and his life gave light
5 The light keeps shining
in the dark,
and darkness has never
put it out.[a]
6 God sent a man named John,
7 who came to tell
about the light
and to lead all people
to have faith.
8 John wasn’t that light.
He came only to tell
about the light.
9 The true light that shines
was coming into the world.
10 The Word was in the world,
but no one knew him,
though God had made the world
with his Word.
11 He came into his own world,
but his own nation
did not welcome him.
12 Yet some people accepted him
and put their faith in him.
So he gave them the right
to be the children of God.
13 They were not God’s children
of any human desires.
God himself was the one
who made them his children.
14 The Word became
a human being
and lived here with us.
We saw his true glory,
the glory of the only Son
of the Father.
From him all the kindness
and all the truth of God
have come down to us.
15 John spoke about him and shouted, “This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.”
16 Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another.[b] 17 The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.
John the Baptist Tells about Jesus
19-20 The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, “No, I am not!” And when they asked if he were the Prophet,[c] he also said “No!”
22 Finally, they said, “Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!”
23 John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am only someone shouting in the desert, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord!’”
24 Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25 They asked him, “Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?”
26 John told them, “I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don’t know. 27 Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals.” 28 John said this as he was baptizing east of the Jordan River in Bethany.[d]
The Lamb of God
29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said:
Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I told you about when I said, “Someone else will come. He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.” 31 I didn’t know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him.
32 I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed on him. 33 Before this I didn’t know who he was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water had told me, “You will see the Spirit come down and stay on someone. Then you will know that he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” 34 I saw this happen, and I tell you that he is the Son of God.
The First Disciples of Jesus
35 The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. 36 When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, “Here is the Lamb of God!” 37 John’s two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus.
38 When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, “What do you want?”
They answered, “Rabbi, where do you live?” The Hebrew word “Rabbi” means “Teacher.”
39 Jesus replied, “Come and see!” It was already about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day.
40 One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, “We have found the Messiah!” The Hebrew word “Messiah” means the same as the Greek word “Christ.”
42 Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, “Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas.” This name can be translated as “Peter.”[e]
Jesus Chooses Philip and Nathanael
43-44 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. There he met Philip, who was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. Jesus said to Philip, “Come with me.”
45 Philip then found Nathanael and said, “We have found the one that Moses and the Prophets[f] wrote about. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
46 Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip answered, “Come and see.”
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said, “Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn’t deceitful.”[g]
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
49 Nathanael said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God and the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered, “Did you believe me just because I said that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see something even greater. 51 I tell you for certain that you will see heaven open and God’s angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”[h]
- 1.5 put it out: Or “understood it.”
- 1.16 one blessing after another: Or “one blessing in place of another.”
- 1.21 the Prophet: Many of the Jewish people expected God to send them a prophet who would be like Moses, but with even greater power (see Deuteronomy 18.15,18).
- 1.28 Bethany: An unknown village east of the Jordan with the same name as the village near Jerusalem.
- 1.42 Peter: The Aramaic name “Cephas” and the Greek name “Peter” each mean “rock.”
- 1.45 Moses and the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
- 1.47 Israel. . . isn’t deceitful: Israel (meaning “a man who wrestled with God” or “a prince of God”) was the name that the Lord gave to Jacob (meaning “cheater” or “deceiver”), the famous ancestor of the Jewish people.
- 1.51 going up and coming down on the Son of Man: When Jacob (see the note at verse 47) was running from his brother Esau, he had a dream in which he saw angels going up and down on a ladder from earth to heaven (see Genesis 32.22-32).