John 1:6-8



Followers of John the Baptist

Many continued to follow John the Baptist even in the days of the early church:

Acts 18:25 – Apollos was trained in the teaching of John the Baptist     

Acts 19:1-7 – Some where baptizing in John the Baptists name as far a way as Ephesus


Luke 3:15 some wondered if the Baptist was the Christ


From these verses it would appear that at least in the general location of the writing of this letter and at a date as late as

this letter (85 AD) there was still a strong following of John the Baptist.


Contrasting John and Jesus

The word “came” is the same word translated “made” three times in verse 3.

This word is in contrast with the verb “was” used to describe the Word.

Jesus “was” in the beginning.  John “came” into existence.


The next contrast is John is described as a man. 

Jesus has been described as “the Word.”


John’s Importance

John was sent by God




John’s mission was of divine origin


John the apostle has just put John the Baptist in his place.

He was not on the same level as Jesus, but he was great because of the mission God sent him on.


Sent From God

“Sent” is the word apestalmenoV it is the perfect tense of the word “apostellw” (apostellw).

The word means “to send, to commission, to send as an authoritative personal   representative.”

The Perfect Tense stresses the fact the results of this “sending” continue to exist.



outoV HE       hlqen CAME        eiV FOR         marturian A WITNESS       ina THAT marturhsh  HE MIGHT WITNESS        peri CONCERNING             tou THE fwtoV LIGHT        ina THAT        panteV ALL          pisteuswsin MIGHT BELIEVE di THROUGH          autou HIM.

“Witness” is from the word marturew (“martyreo”, we get our word “martyr” from this) and means “witness, to be a witness”

The effectiveness of this witness will be discussed in 1:19-51


John’s Purpose and Goal

Purpose: Witness

Goal: That all men might believe


Aorist Tense of pisteuswsin

“Might Believe” is in the aorist tense which stresses the point in time of believing. 

It is not perfect tense which would indicate a continuous action.

The aorist is stressing that John’s ministry was to bring people to a point of decision.


The synoptic gospels remember John as the one who baptized. 

In John there are repeated references to the Baptist as being a witness to Jesus:

1:7; 1:8; 1:15; 1:19; 1:32; 1:34; 3:26; 5:33

John the Baptist came into the world to be a witness to Jesus.


The Seven Witnesses

In the gospel of John there are 7 witnesses

1)      The Father 5:31-32, 34, 37; 8:18

2)      Christ 8:14, 18; 3:11, 32; 8:37

3)      The Holy Spirit 15:26; 16:14

4)      Jesus’ Works 5:36; 19:25; 14:11; 15:24

5)      Scripture 5:39; 5:45-46

6)      John the Baptist 1:7; 1:8; 1:15; 1:19; 1:32; 1:34; 3:26; 5:33

7)      Human witnesses:

a.       Disciples 15:27; 19:35; 21:24

b.      Samaritan woman 4:39

c.       Multitude 12:17


The Seven Witnesses of John 5:31-46

1)      Jesus

2)      John

3)      (Tabernacle)

4)      Works

5)      Father

6)      Scripture

7)      (Moses)

a.       Deuteronomy 18:15-22

                                                               i.      The Prophet was coming

                                                             ii.      Prophets had to have evidence

                                                            iii.      No evidence proves they where false


There Must Be Evidence to Verify the Truth

It is important to have credible witnesses to the truth.

God and John are not going to ask you to believe something without verifying its truthfulness.

To have faith (confidence) in something there must be some evidence or proof of facts.

Again, faith is not blind faith.

Bible teaching itself should be logical and make sense in the world we live.






ouk  hn WAS NOT        ekeinoV  HE       to THE        fwV LIGHT        all BUT ina THAT         marturhsh  HE MIGHT WITNESS       peri CONCERNING tou THE           fwtoV LIGHT


  • Notice the abruptness. Clearly HE WAS NOT THE LIGHT!!
  • “Came” is not in the Greek because John appears eager to get to the real purpose. “He was not the light, but He might witness”
  • Then see the pivot to redirect the reader “all” or “but”
  • A restatement of John the Baptist’s mission:  witness to the Light
  • Notice the articles in front of fwV (phos) “Light”.  It was not “a light” but a witness for “The Light”
  • NIV leaves out “but” and adds “came” and “only”


The writer repeats himself but for the point of saying that John the Baptist is only a witness to one greater than himself.


John was a lamp not the light.  Jesus was the light.


The greatness and influence of John the Baptist led some people to exaggerate ideas about him.