How could John the Baptist know all of this about Jesus in the Gospel of John?


He talks about Jesus alost like Jesus himself!

31 He who comes from above is above all others; he who is of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven

32 bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, but his testimony is not accepted by anybody;

33 though anyone who does accept his testimony is attesting that God is true,

34 since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words, for God gives him the Spirit without reserve.

35 The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to his hands.

36 Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: God’s retribution hangs over him.’

Thank you


John the Baptist was the last prophet. He was speaking with authority because he was speaking on behalf of God the Father.


I agree John did know Jesus was the Messiah, but I am not sure that he knew He was the Eternal Son at the time.


Holy Spirit of course! John had the Holy Spirit speaking through him cuz he was a Prophet. What do we say in the Creed? I believe in the Holy Spirit… Who has spoken through the Prophets.


(More than) fair enough…:rolleyes: But I would argue that we don’t see it as clearly as when for instance Simeon speaks about the baby Jesus.
Every time, we have the mention: and Jesus, fillled with the holy ghost, and Elizabeth, filled with the spirit, Simeon, [it was] revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, Mary was covered by the Spirit, Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, … With John, nothing of that, at least here.


I also would say the Holy Spirit. Remember that John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary went to see her. He knew the Messiah when both were in utero!


That would be a possibility, that he received some knowledge of the person of Jesus.


Are you even sure that these verses are on the lips of John the Baptist and not a narrative of the evangelist?


Touché. I think you win, Porthos. Apparently, as I look for it in a complete Bible (and not my usual travel portable little modern interconfessional Gospel :D), it is quite clear to me that it is John the Evangelist explaining even Further the Mystery of the Sonship.
Thank you Porthhos

Anyone would disagree (or agree, you are welcome)?


Admittedly, context would be the key; the verses you cited are very Johannine in style and are more likely narrative rather than dialogue by John the Baptist. In Greek (and older English translations such as the King James), quotation marks are not used, so context is needed to determine where the quote ends, and that’s not always easy.

I’m with the RSV on this one, and agree that John the Baptist’s quote ends at verse 30, and John the evangelist continues to expound with the next verse as a narrative.


Good point. It does sound very much like the evangelist. But in general, John the Baptists was born for this reason and this reason only right? So it would make sense for him to know that Jesus is in fact the Son of God. But wasn’t there a verse in one of the Gospels where John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he was really the Chosen one? Was that doubt from John or am I miss understanding something?


Maybe he knew it the same way he was able to leap for joy in the womb of his mother when Mary came to visit (he was filled with the Holy Spirit, like other OT prophets).


Jesus himself says that John was the greatest prophet, above all others.

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:11)



That’s the thing. John writes his gospel in such a way that the narrator’s voice blends seamlessly into that of the characters. (That’s probably part of the reason why John’s Jesus has these long discourses - it’s possible that at that point, John the Evangelist - who as we Christians would say would have been writing with the benefit of divine inspiration and hindsight - voice become one with Jesus’.) It’s even said that makers of red-letter Bibles usually have difficulty with John’s gospel since there are cases where they can’t distinguish who is speaking which: is it Jesus or John, or is it actually the narrator ‘intruding’?


Now that I could look at a proper text, with quotation marks, you see that the Baptist testimony ends at verse 30, right before my question arises :slight_smile:

6 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 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. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

He who comes from above nis above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and ospeaks in an earthly way. pHe who comes from heaven nis above all. …


Yeah, but the point is, there were no quotation marks in the original Greek, so you can’t be entirely sure where a character’s dialogue ends and a narrator’s aside begins. The thing to keep in mind here is: any quotation marks you see is inserted by the translator/s and represents his/their interpretation. :smiley:

Let’s say John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world…). Many of us think that this was actually a line of dialogue spoken by Jesus, but there’s also a line of interpretation which argues that verses 16-21 is actually an aside by the narrator, and that Jesus’ dialogue really ends at verse 15. For example, the way the NIV or the RSV or the NAB insert the quotation marks makes it appear as if verses 16-21 is a narrative aside (as mentioned). On the other hand, the translators of the NKJV or the NASB understand them as a continuation of Jesus’ dialogue and so insert quotation marks all the way through. It just goes to show that translators can’t even agree on where to put the quotation marks. :wink:

In this case, it could very well be that John’s dialogue does end at that point. But the fact that we’re being confused about it indicates that Jesus’, John the Baptist’s, and the author’s voices aren’t really distinguished in John’s gospel - perhaps intentionally so.


The greek as no quotation marks, but context, as someone said. That is really the key. And I pointed out my understanding WITH quotation marks to say that it opened my eyes on the fact that I just misread.
From the verse 31 on, it is indeed very johannine. so again, literal context here helps answering.
I agree the Evangelist may have wanted to blend the monologues or dialogues into a unique, more united, visibly inspired-looking(!) text, but still we can see very clearly who is saying what.
No, I just read on and thought it was the Baptist speaking, when he had already gone eating honey.:stuck_out_tongue:


This is going to be very peripheral, but I just noticed that the NASB, the World English Bible, the NKJV, even the NLT put quotation marks on verses 31-34. Which actually reminds me: I wonder how adaptations of John’s gospel (say, audiobooks or movies) treat these ambiguous passages? That can be a whole separate topic altogether.


In the Confraternity edition of 1950 the end quote comes right before verse 31. :wink:


A similar question arises with the famous John 3:16. Some editions end the quote before that (therefore making it the evangelist’s narration and therefore “black-letter”), and most others include it in the quote (therefore making the passage Jesus’ words and therefore “red-letter”).

Context would be key, but as mentioned, John’s writing style is such that there are passages where even the context is a little blurred. Eventually, the translators and editors would have to make an educated judgement.

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