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John 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,[a]
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.[b]

God sent a man, John the Baptist,[c] to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human[d] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[e] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.[f] 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,[g] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants[h] from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”

“No,” he replied.

“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”[i]

“No.”

22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
    ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”[j]

24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

26 John told them, “I baptize with[k] water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.

Jesus, the Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.[l]

The First Disciples

35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.

38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.

They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”[m]).

42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”[n]).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.

45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses[o] and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.

47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”

48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”

49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.[p]

Footnotes:

  1. 1:3-4 Or and nothing that was created was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything.
  2. 1:5 Or and the darkness has not understood it.
  3. 1:6 Greek a man named John.
  4. 1:14a Greek became flesh.
  5. 1:14b Or grace and truth; also in 1:17.
  6. 1:16 Or received the grace of Christ rather than the grace of the law; Greek reads received grace upon grace.
  7. 1:18 Some manuscripts read But the one and only Son.
  8. 1:19 Greek and Levites.
  9. 1:21 Greek Are you the Prophet? See Deut 18:15, 18; Mal 4:5-6.
  10. 1:23 Isa 40:3.
  11. 1:26 Or in; also in 1:31, 33.
  12. 1:34 Some manuscripts read the Son of God.
  13. 1:41 Messiah (a Hebrew term) and Christ (a Greek term) both mean “anointed one.”
  14. 1:42 The names Cephas (from Aramaic) and Peter (from Greek) both mean “rock.”
  15. 1:45 Greek Moses in the law.
  16. 1:51 Greek going up and down on the Son of Man; see Gen 28:10-17. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


John 1 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Eternal Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

John’s Witness: The True Light

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That[b] was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His [c]own, and His [d]own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [e]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me [f]is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”

16 [g]And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten [h]Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

A Voice in the Wilderness

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

And he answered, “No.”

22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

23 He said: “I am

‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’

as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, [i]is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

28 These things were done in [j]Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who [k]is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

The First Disciples

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the [l]Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of [m]Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, [n]A Stone).

Philip and Nathanael

43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”

48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter[o] you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 1:5 Or overcome
  2. John 1:9 Or That was the true Light which, coming into the world, gives light to every man.
  3. John 1:11 His own things or domain
  4. John 1:11 His own people
  5. John 1:12 authority
  6. John 1:15 ranks higher than I
  7. John 1:16 NU For
  8. John 1:18 NU God
  9. John 1:27 ranks higher than I
  10. John 1:28 NU, M Bethany
  11. John 1:30 ranks higher than I
  12. John 1:41 Lit. Anointed One
  13. John 1:42 NU John
  14. John 1:42 Gr. Petros, usually translated Peter
  15. John 1:51 NU omits hereafter
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

John 1 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Prologue

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life,[a] and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome[b] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him.[c] He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.[d]

10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be[e] children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born, not of natural descent,[f] or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man,[g] but of God.

14 The Word became flesh and dwelt[h] among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son[i] from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’”) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace upon[j] grace from his fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side[k]—he has revealed him.

John the Baptist’s Testimony

19 This was John’s testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”

20 He didn’t deny it but confessed: “I am not the Messiah.”

21 “What then?” they asked him. “Are you Elijah?”

“I am not,” he said.

“Are you the Prophet?”

“No,” he answered.

22 “Who are you, then?” they asked. “We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What can you tell us about yourself?”

23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord[l]—just as Isaiah the prophet said.”

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 So they asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you aren’t the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with[m] water,” John answered them. “Someone stands among you, but you don’t know him. 27 He is the one coming after me,[n] whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to untie.” 28 All this happened in Bethany[o] across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

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 This is the one I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know him, but I came baptizing with water so he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and he rested on him. 33 I didn’t know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The one you see the Spirit descending and resting on—he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”[p]

35 The next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following him, he asked them, “What are you looking for?”

They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come and you’ll see,” he replied. So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.[q]

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed him. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah”[r] (which is translated “the Christ”), 42 and he brought Simon to Jesus.

When Jesus saw him, he said, “You are Simon, son of John.[s] You will be called Cephas” (which is translated “Peter”[t]).

Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus[u] decided to leave for Galilee. He found Philip and told him, “Follow me.”

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law (and so did the prophets): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him.

“Come and see,” Philip answered.

47 Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

“Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” Jesus answered.

49 “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1:3-4 Other punctuation is possible:... not one thing was created. What was created in him was life
  2. 1:5 Or grasp, or comprehend, or overtake; Jn 12:35
  3. 1:7 Or it (the light)
  4. 1:9 Or The true light who comes into the world gives light to everyone, or The true light enlightens everyone coming into the world.
  5. 1:12 Or become
  6. 1:13 Lit blood
  7. 1:13 Or not of human lineage, or of human capacity, or of human volition
  8. 1:14 Or and dwelt in a tent; lit and tabernacled
  9. 1:14 Son is implied from the reference to the Father and from Gk usage.
  10. 1:16 Or in place of
  11. 1:18 Other mss read The one and only Son, who is at the Father’s side
  12. 1:23 Is 40:3
  13. 1:26 Or in, also in vv. 31,33
  14. 1:27 Other mss add who came before me
  15. 1:28 Other mss read in Bethabara
  16. 1:34 Other mss readis the Chosen One of God
  17. 1:39 Lit about the tenth hour
  18. 1:41 Both Hb Messiah and Gk Christos mean “anointed one”
  19. 1:42 Other mss read “Simon, son of Jonah
  20. 1:42 Both Aramaic Cephas and Gk Petros mean “rock”
  21. 1:43 Lit he
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

John 1 New International Version (NIV)

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[c] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”[d]

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with[e] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John Testifies About Jesus

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[f]

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[g]).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe[h] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you,[i] you[j] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[k] the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 1:5 Or understood
  2. John 1:18 Some manuscripts but the only Son, who
  3. John 1:19 The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19.
  4. John 1:23 Isaiah 40:3
  5. John 1:26 Or in; also in verses 31 and 33 (twice)
  6. John 1:34 See Isaiah 42:1; many manuscripts is the Son of God.
  7. John 1:42 Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.
  8. John 1:50 Or Do you believe … ?
  9. John 1:51 The Greek is plural.
  10. John 1:51 The Greek is plural.
  11. John 1:51 Gen. 28:12
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

John 1 The Voice (VOICE)

This Gospel begins not with Jesus’ birth or John’s baptism but with a deliberate echo of the creation story in Genesis. It takes us back before time began to the moment when God interrupts the silence and speaks the cosmos into existence. Only John’s Gospel names Jesus as the Logos and declares that He existed long before time was measured. This Greek word carries a variety of meanings, all relating to the act of speaking. It could be translated “word,” a thought that comes to expression, message, declaration, reason, or the content of preaching; most are found in various translations. It is clear that John means that logos is declared to all creation.

John’s use of logos is unique and has often been rendered as “Word.” While this is a useful translation, even a casual understanding demonstrates that “Word” reflects only part of its meaning. Most readers will interpret “word” as a unit of language—a combination of sounds generally spoken but also written—that carries meaning. To understand what John means, readers need something more than their cultural understanding of “word”; they need a new way of thinking about it. This is why we have chosen to offer another rendering, an interpretive, poetic translation, of what may be one of the most theologically loaded words in Scripture. Since logos essentially refers to the act of speaking or bringing thoughts to expression, we have decided to use the word “voice” to capture that reality. John declares that truth has culminated in the person of Jesus. No single word captures the complete meaning of logos, but “voice” has a number of advantages.

First, “voice” manifests the act of speaking. Voice is that which is spoken and that which is heard; it comes on both sides of any communication event, bridging the gap between sender and receiver. John intends that in Jesus God is speaking and revealing Himself to the world.

Second, a voice is distinct and personal. We can distinguish people from one another simply by their voices. In John 10 Jesus describes the fact that the sheep hear the voice of the shepherd when he calls and they follow, but they refuse to follow a stranger because they do not know his voice (John 10:1-5). John desires that we know Jesus as the Son of God and believe in Him personally as the Good Shepherd.

Third, “voice” is dynamic in that it reflects the robust and powerful activity of a living God. It is historical in that any act of speaking comes to expression and takes place in the real world as a “voice” calling, demanding a response. It challenges any notion that the Christian faith can be reduced to rules, propositions, or doctrines that can be merely believed or dismissed and not lived out in our lives. Since in Jesus God is speaking and revealing Himself to the world, and since in Jesus we hear the Voice of God, then this new reality changes everything so we, too, must change.

In the beginning

Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.

    The Voice was and is God.
This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator;
    His speech shaped the entire cosmos.
Immersed in the practice of creating,
    all things that exist were birthed in Him.
His breath filled all things
    with a living, breathing light—
A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
    blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched.

A man named John, who was sent by God, was the first to clearly articulate the source of this Light. This baptizer put in plain words the elusive mystery of the Divine Light so all might believe through him. Some wondered whether he might be the Light, but John was not the Light. He merely pointed to the Light. The true Light, who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos.

Jesus as the Light does not call out from a distant place but draws near by coming into the world.

10 He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. 11 Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him. 12 But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God; 13 He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will.

14 The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor—the one true Son of the Father—evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth. 15 John the Baptist testified about Him and shouted, “This is the one I’ve been telling you is coming. He is much greater than I am because He existed long before me.” 16 Through this man we all receive gifts of grace beyond our imagination. 17 You see, Moses gave us rules to live by, but Jesus the Anointed offered us gifts of grace and truth. 18 God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God’s only Son, straight from the Father’s heart.

Before Jesus comes along, many wonder whether John the Baptist might be the Anointed One sent by God. But when Jesus appears in the wilderness, John points others to Him. John knows his place in God’s redemptive plan: he speaks God’s message, but Jesus is the Word of God. John rejects any messianic claim outright. Jesus, though, accepts it with a smile, but only from a few devoted followers—at least at first. Of course John is crucial to the unfolding drama, but he isn’t the long awaited One sent to free His people. He preaches repentance and tells everybody to get ready for One greater to come along. The One who comes will cleanse humanity in fire and power, he says. John even urges some of his followers to leave him and go follow Jesus.

19 The reputation of John was growing; and many had questions, including Jewish religious leaders from Jerusalem. 28 So some priests and Levites approached John in Bethany just beyond the Jordan River while he was baptizing and bombarded him with questions:[a]

Religious Leaders: Who are you?

John the Baptist: 20 I’m not the Anointed One, if that is what you are asking.

Religious Leaders: 21 Your words sound familiar, like a prophet’s. Is that how we should address you? Are you the Prophet Elijah?

John the Baptist: No, I am not Elijah.

Religious Leaders: Are you the Prophet Moses told us would come?

John the Baptist: No.

Religious Leaders: 22 Then tell us who you are and what you are about because everyone is asking us, especially the Pharisees, and we must prepare an answer.

23 John replied with the words of Isaiah the prophet:

John the Baptist: Listen! I am a voice calling out in the wilderness.
        Straighten out the road for the Lord. He’s on His way.[b]

24-25 Then some of those sent by the Pharisees questioned him again.

Religious Leaders: How can you travel the countryside baptizing[c] people if you are not the Anointed One or Elijah or the Prophet?

John the Baptist: 26 Baptizing with water is what I do; but the One whom I speak of, whom we all await, is standing among you; and you have no idea who He is. 27 Though He comes after me, I am not even worthy to unlace His sandals.[d]

The mystery of Jesus’ identity occupies His contemporaries and will continue to occupy generations of believers for centuries to come. As the twelve journey with Him, it gradually becomes clearer who this man is, where He comes from, and how His existence will profoundly affect the rest of human history. The question of “Who is this man?” cannot be answered overnight.

29 The morning after this conversation, John sees Jesus coming toward him. In eager astonishment, he shouts out:

John the Baptist: Look! This man is more than He seems! He is the Lamb sent from God, the sacrifice to erase the sins of the world! 30 He is the One I have been saying will come after me, who existed long before me and is much greater than I am. 31 No one recognized Him—myself included. But I came baptizing[e] with water so that He might be revealed to Israel. 32 As I watched, the Spirit came down like a dove from heaven and rested on Him. 33 I didn’t recognize Him at first, but the One who sent me to baptize told me, “The One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit will be the person you see the Spirit come down and rest upon.” 34 I have seen this with my own eyes and can attest that this One is the Son of God!

35-36 The day after, John saw Him again as he was visiting with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, he announced again:

John the Baptist: Do you see Him? This man is the Lamb of God, God’s sacrifice to cleanse our sins.

37 At that moment, the two disciples began to follow Jesus, 38-39 who turned back to them, saying:

Jesus: What is it that you want?

Two Disciples: We’d like to know where You are staying. Teacher, may we remain at Your side today?

Jesus: Come and see. Follow Me, and we will camp together.

It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they met Jesus. They came and saw where He was staying, but they got more than they imagined. They remained with Him the rest of the day and followed Him for the rest of their lives. 40-41 One of these new disciples, Andrew, rushed to find his brother Simon and tell him they had found the One who is promised, God’s Anointed who will heal the world. 42 As Andrew approached with Simon, Jesus looked into him.

Jesus: Your name is Simon, and your father is called John. But from this day forward you will be known as Peter,[f] the rock.

43-44 The next day Jesus set out to go into Galilee; and when He came upon Philip, He invited him to join them.

Jesus: Follow Me.

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, came from a town called Bethsaida; and he decided to make the journey with Him. 45 Philip found Nathanael, a friend, and burst in with excitement:

Philip: We have found the One. Moses wrote about Him in the Law, all the prophets spoke of the day when He would come, and now He is here—His name is Jesus, son of Joseph the carpenter; and He comes from Nazareth.

Nathanael: 46 How can anything good come from a place like Nazareth?

Philip: Come with me, and see for yourself.

47 As Philip and Nathanael approached, Jesus saw Nathanael and spoke to those standing around Him.

Jesus: Look closely, and you will see an Israelite who is a truth-teller.

Nathanael (overhearing Jesus): 48 How would You know this about me? We have never met.

Jesus: I have been watching you before Philip invited you here. Earlier in the day, you were enjoying the shade and fruit of the fig tree. I saw you then.

Nathanael: 49 Teacher, You are the One—God’s own Son and Israel’s King.

Jesus: 50 Nathanael, if all it takes for you to believe is My telling you I saw you under the fig tree, then what you will see later will astound you. 51 I tell you the truth: before our journey is complete, you will see the heavens standing open while heavenly messengers ascend and descend, swirling around the Son of Man.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:28 Verse 28 has been inserted here to help retain the continuity of events.
  2. 1:23 Isaiah 40:3
  3. 1:24-25 Literally, immersing, to show repentance
  4. 1:27 Verse 28 has been moved before verse 20 to retain the continuity of events.
  5. 1:31 Literally, immersing, to show repentance
  6. 1:42 Literally, Cephas
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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