Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 3:28

You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,' but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - John;   Thompson Chain Reference - John the Baptist;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;   John the Baptist;   Sending and Those Sent;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John the baptist;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Baptize, Baptism;   John the Baptist;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Episcopacy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Faith;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   John the Baptist;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gospels;   John, Gospel of;   John, Theology of;   Mss;   Rabbi;   Scribes;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Dates (2);   Herod ;   John the Baptist;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Bridegroom;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - John, the Baptize;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Baptism (Lutheran Doctrine);   Mark, the Gospel According to;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for January 30;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Bear me witness - You remember that at first I told you I was not the Messiah. As he had been “witness” to Jesus - as he came for no other end but to point him out to the Jews, they ought not to suppose that he was his superior. It was but reasonable to expect that Christ himself would be more successful than his forerunner. “I came, not to form a separate party, a special sect, but to prepare the way that he might be more successful, and that the people might be ready for his coming, and that he might have the success which he has actually met with. You should rejoice, therefore, at that success, and not envy it, for ‹his success‘ is the best proof of the greatness of my word, and of its ‹success also.‘”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-3.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

Ye yourselves ... Most human errors should not require outside help to avoid them. John the Baptist had already thoroughly instructed his disciples regarding his own subordinate position with reference to Christ. Thus their jealous advocacy of the supremacy of their leader was prompted by unworthy motives. If they had truly loved him, they would have heeded his words, as did the author of this Gospel, and have become followers of Jesus.

The Christ ... John the Baptist's designation of Jesus as the Christ, in these words, is different from "Lamb of God" which he called him at first. Both titles carry the same great weight; but "Christ" had a sharper and more dramatic meaning for Israel. John's use of it indicates that he recognized the full import of Jesus' mission on earth.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Ye yourselves bear me witness,.... In what they now said, and referred to, in describing Christ, as he to whom John bore witness; and he appeals to them for what he said in their presence, and before all the people in that testimony:

that I said I am not the Christ; see John 1:19; wherefore, if he, who is the Christ, is now come, and teaches, and baptizes, and has the greatest number of followers, it is not to be wondered at; and much less to be envied; but rather to be rejoiced at. For John, by repeating what he had before said, that he was not the Christ, suggests, that Jesus was; and therefore was superior to him in office, honour, and usefulness, who was only his harbinger and forerunner, as follows:

but I am sent before him; to prepare his way, to make straight his paths, to proclaim his coming, and kingdom, being at hand; and that the expectations of men may be raised, and they may be ready to receive him when come: and hereby the end of John's office, and ministry, had its accomplishment. The Ethiopic version adds, "to preach him".

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 3:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-3.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

I said (eipon). As in John 1:20, John 1:23. He had always put Jesus ahead of him as the Messiah (John 1:15).

Before him (emprosthen ekeinou). “Before that one” (Jesus) as his forerunner simply.

I am sent
(apestalmenos eimi). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of apostellō f0).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

The Fourfold Gospel

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ1, but, that I am sent before him.

  1. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ,
  2. but, that I am sent before him. In stating that John had borne witness (John 3:26). John's disciple had already committed themselves to the fact that John disclaimed to be the Messiah, and that Jesus was the Messiah; for it was concerning these two things that John had given his testimony.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 3:28". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Вы сами мне свидетели. Иоанн упрекает своих учеников в том, что они не вняли его собственным словам. Он часто говорил им, что не является Христом. Посему ему оставалось быть вместе со всеми слугою Сына Божия. Это место достойно особого внимания. Ведь, отрицая, что является Христом, Иоанн был вынужден, как один из прочих, подчиниться Главе и работать в Церкви в качестве служителя. Он не мог возноситься так, чтобы затмить собою Главу Церкви. Говоря же, что послан перед Ним, Иоанн хочет сказать, что должен приготовить путь для Христа. Как обычно и поступают герольды земных царей.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 28. "Ye yourselves bear me witness that I said: I am not the Christ, but I am sent before him."

John expressly applies to himself the maxim of John 3:26. He has informed his disciples, from the beginning, of the fact of which they are complaining. He has always said to them, that it was not given to him to be the Christ, that his mission went no further than to open the way for Him. He appeals, with respect to this point, to their own recollection and discharges Himself thus from all responsibility for their jealous humor towards Jesus. The words: "Ye bear me witness," seem to allude to their own expression, in John 3:26, where they had recalled the conduct of John with reference to Jesus. Then, he explains to them, by a comparison, the feeling which he experiences and which is so different from theirs.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-3.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

Ver. 28. Ye yourselves bear me witness] I should rather choose the just commendation of one good man (saith Rolloc upon this text) than the foolish admiration of a whole multitude, Equidem pluris fecerim iustam commendationem, &c. Demetrius hath good report of the truth itself, that is enough for him, 3 John 1:12.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 3:28". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-3.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

28.] ‘Not only so, but I have always given the same consistent testimony; that I was only the forerunner of One greater than myself.’ ἐκείνου does not refer to ὁ χριστός, in which case it would have been αὐτοῦ (see, however, apparent exceptions to this, ch. John 7:45 : Acts 3:13; see also Winer, Gr., edn. 6, § 23. 1): but to Jesus, as the subject of John 3:26; and thus is not merely a general testimony with regard to the Messiah, but a personal one to Jesus.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 3:28". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-3.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 3:28. ἔμπροσθεν ἐκείνου, before Him) Him, concerning whom John 3:26 treats. So John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John did not openly term Jesus the Christ: but however he spake so concerning Him, that He might easily be recognised.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 3:28". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I appeal to you that are my disciples, Did not I always plainly tell yea that I was not the Christ? It belongeth unto Christ alone, who is the Head of the church, to send out such as shall labour in it, and to restrain those that labour in it; would you have me silence or suspend him? I told you, that I was but one of his ministers,

sent before him to prepare his way, John 1:20,23.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 3:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-3.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

28.Yourselves bear me witness—So clearly did Peter and John (who were originally the Baptist’s disciples) understand that the Baptist was the mere herald of Jesus the Messiah, that they left John and went to Jesus. It seems strange, therefore, that any of John’s disciples should fail to understand John’s subordination. He therefore rebukes them by appealing to their own recollection of his testimony.

I said, I am not the Christ—Not the Messiah.

Sent before him—Not as a superior, but as a herald before a superior. This humility of the Baptist, as narrated by our Evangelist, is more fully, but not more energetically, expressed in the previous Gospels. In the first three Gospels John is a voice proclaiming a reality; a herald preceding a coming Jehovah; he is the sandal-bearer of a Master, unworthy to unloose his shoe-lachet; he is the outpourer of mere water, shadowing the Outpourer of the Spirit, who is therefore God, who is Author of final judgment and retribution. Now much is said in the fourth Gospel more diffuse and extended, but nothing more intense and decisive.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-3.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John proceeded to remind his disciples that he never claimed to be the Messiah but only Messiah"s forerunner ( John 1:15; John 1:20; John 1:23; John 1:26-34).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-3.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 3:28. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but, I am sent before him. The acceptance of the lower place was no new thing to John. ‘Ye remind me that have borne witness to Him; ye yourselves bear witness to me, that my testimony to Him contained in it all that now offends you.’ Of the two sayings here quoted, one (‘I am not the Christ’) is to be found in John 1:20 : the other is not given in this Gospel in the very words, but is implied in John 1:30-31, and no doubt had been expressly uttered by John to his disciples.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 3:28. . John’s disciples should have been prepared for what they now see happening. He had emphatically declared that he was not the Christ, but only His forerunner (John 1:19-27; John 1:30).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 3:28". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-3.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the Christ = the Messiah. App-98.

sent. App-174.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 3:28". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(28) Ye yourselves bear me witness.—They remembered (John 3:26) that John had borne witness to Jesus. Did they not remember too what he had said? He had from the first known his own work, and the greater work. Some of his disciples had known it also, and had gone from him to Jesus. This which they see was the necessary result of the truth he had ever declared.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
I said
1:20,25,27
but
1:23; Malachi 3:1; 4:4,5; Matthew 3:3,11,12; Mark 1:2,3; Luke 1:16,17,76; 3:4-6
Reciprocal: Mark 1:7 - GeneralLuke 3:15 - mused;  John 1:6 - a man;  John 1:8 - that light;  Acts 3:12 - or;  Acts 18:5 - was Christ;  Acts 19:4 - John;  1 Corinthians 1:15 - I

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 3:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-3.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 28. "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him."

As in John 1:6; John 1:33, so also here, an allusion is made to Malachi 3:1; cf. Matthew 11:10. That which in the original passage is said of the Lord, the Baptist refers to Christ, in harmony with the prophecy itself, in which He who is first called Adonai, is afterwards called the Angel of the covenant. "Behold, I send My messenger, and he prepares the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple; and the Covenant-Angel, whom ye desire, behold. He comes, saith Jehovah Sabaoth." According to this, God the Lord will appear in the person of His heavenly messenger; which was fulfilled in the advent of Christ, in whom the Angel of the Lord, the λόγος, became flesh. With respect to ἐκείνου, the remark of Buttmann applies, on the use of the pronoun ἐκεῖνος in the Fourth Gospel (Studien und Kritiken, 1860, S. 510): "But it is not always the case, that the two demonstrative pronouns are united in such an antithesis in one sentence; but it does occur, that ἐκεῖνος stands alone. Then it is necessary that some other conception, whether it be a pronoun, or the subject contained in the verb, or the speaker himself, take as it were the place of the οὗτος, from which the ἐκεῖνος only distinguishes the other." Thus οὗτος is here concealed under ἐγώ.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 3:28". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-3.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

28.You are witnesses to me. John expostulates with his disciples that they did not give credit to his statements. He had often warned them that he was not the Christ; and, therefore, it only remained that he should be a servant and subject to the Son of God along with others. And this passage is worthy of notice; for, by affirming that he is not the Christ, he reserves nothing for himself but to be subject to the head, and to serve in the Church as one of the rest, and not to be so highly exalted as to obscure the honor of the Head. He says that he was sent before, to prepare the way for Christ, as kings are wont to have heralds or forerunners.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 3:28". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-3.html. 1840-57.