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John 1 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Christ Comes to the World

Before the world began, the Word[a] was there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was there with God in the beginning. Everything was made through him, and nothing was made without him. In him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light[b] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated[c] it.

There was a man named John, who was sent by God. He came to tell people about the light. Through him all people could hear about the light and believe. John was not the light. But he came to tell people about the light. The true light was coming into the world. This is the true light that gives light to all people.

10 The Word was already in the world. The world was made through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to the world that was his own. And his own people did not accept him. 12 But some people did accept him. They believed in him, and he gave them the right to become children of God. 13 They became God’s children, but not in the way babies are usually born. It was not because of any human desire or plan. They were born from God himself.

14 The Word became a man and lived among us. We saw his divine greatness—the greatness that belongs to the only Son of the Father. The Word was full of grace and truth. 15 John told people about him. He said loudly, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one who is coming after me is greater than I am, because he was living before I was even born.’”

16 Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from him we all received one blessing after another.[d] 17 That is, the law was given to us through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son is the one who has shown us what God is like. He is himself God and is very close to the Father.[e]

John Tells About the Messiah

19 The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent some priests and Levites to John to ask him, “Who are you?” He told them the truth. 20 Without any hesitation he said openly and plainly, “I am not the Messiah.”

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

He answered, “No, I am not Elijah.”

They asked, “Are you the Prophet[f]?”

He answered, “No, I am not the Prophet.”

22 Then they said, “Who are you? Tell us about yourself. Give us an answer to tell the people who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John told them the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am the voice of someone shouting in the desert:
    ‘Make a straight road ready for the Lord.’”

24 These Jews were sent from the Pharisees. 25 They said to John, “You say you are not the Messiah. You say you are not Elijah or the Prophet. Then why do you baptize people?”

26 John answered, “I baptize people with water. But there is someone here with you that you don’t know. 27 He is the one who is coming later. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties the strings on his sandals.”

28 These things all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River. This is where John was baptizing people.

Jesus, the Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world! 30 This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘There is a man coming after me who is greater than I am, because he was living even before I was born.’ 31 I did not know who he was. But I came baptizing people with water so that Israel could know that he is the Messiah.[g]

32-34 Then John said this for everyone to hear: “I also did not know who the Messiah was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and rest on a man. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen this happen. I saw the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on this man. So this is what I tell people: ‘He is the Son of God.’[h]

The First Followers of Jesus

35 The next day John was there again and had two of his followers with him. 36 He saw Jesus walking by and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 The two followers heard him say this, so they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw the two men following him. He asked, “What do you want?”

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

39 He answered, “Come with me and you will see.” So the two men went with him. They saw the place where he was staying, and they stayed there with him that day. It was about four o’clock.

40 These men followed Jesus after they had heard about him from John. One of them was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to go and find his brother Simon. Andrew said to him, “We have found the Messiah.” (“Messiah” means “Christ.”)

42 Then Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of John. You will be called Cephas.” (“Cephas” means “Peter.[i]”)

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He met Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip was from the town of Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the man that Moses wrote about in the law. The prophets wrote about him too. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph. He is from Nazareth.”

46 But Nathanael said to Philip, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Philip answered, “Come and see.”

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said, “This man coming is a true Israelite, one you can trust.[j]

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

Jesus answered, “I saw you when you were under the fig tree, before Philip told you about me.”

49 Then Nathanael said, “Teacher, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.”

50 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe this just because I said I saw you under the fig tree? You will see much greater things than that!” 51 Then he said, “Believe me when I say that you will all see heaven open. You will see ‘angels of God going up and coming down’[k] on the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:

  1. John 1:1 Word The Greek word is “ logos,” meaning any kind of communication. It could be translated “message.” Here, it describes Jesus Christ before he was sent to earth as a human being, which is the way God chose to tell the world about himself. Also in verses 10, 14, 16.
  2. John 1:5 light Meaning Christ, the Word, who brought to the world understanding about God. Also in verse 7.
  3. John 1:5 defeated Or “understood.”
  4. John 1:16 one blessing after another Literally, “grace in place of grace.”
  5. John 1:18 The only Son … Father Or more literally, “The only Son, God, who is very close to the Father, has shown us what he is like.” Some other Greek copies say, “The only Son is very close to the Father and has shown us what he is like.”
  6. John 1:21 Prophet They probably meant the prophet that God told Moses he would send. See Deut. 18:15-19. Also in verse 24.
  7. John 1:31 so that … the Messiah Literally, “so that he might be revealed as the Messiah to Israel.” See “Messiah” in the Word List.
  8. John 1:32 He is the Son of God Some very early Greek copies have “He is the chosen one of God.”
  9. John 1:42 Peter The Greek name “Peter,” like the Aramaic name “Cephas,” means “rock.”
  10. John 1:47 one you can trust Literally, “in whom is no deceit.” In the Old Testament, Israel’s other name, Jacob, is explained with words that mean “deceit” or “trickery,” for which he was well known. See Gen. 27:35, 36.
  11. John 1:51 Quote from Gen. 28:12.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

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.

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