The Meaning of John 1:33 Explained

John 1:33

KJV: And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

YLT: and I did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water, He said to me, On whomsoever thou mayest see the Spirit coming down, and remaining on him, this is he who is baptizing with the Holy Spirit;

Darby: And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptise with water, he said to me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding on him, he it is who baptises with the Holy Spirit.

ASV: And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.

What does John 1:33 Mean?

Context Summary

John 1:29-34 - Witness Borne To The Son Of God
John's description of Christ gave answer to Isaac's inquiry, Genesis 22:7. Let us not narrow the extent of the gospel. By the grace of God Jesus tasted death for every man, 1 John 2:2. Though they knew it not, the Messiah had stood on those banks, had mingled with those crowds, had descended into those waters, and was standing among them at that moment. But their eyes were blinded. The new era had already dawned.
The general reader of the story of our Lord's baptism probably supposes that the sign of the descending dove and the sound of the Father's voice were apprehended by all the crowd. This, however, was not the case. John had been previously informed that some day one, indicated by those signs, would come to His baptism. John was the porter of the door of the fold, and it was necessary to certify the true Shepherd when He appeared, John 10:3. To our Lord this was the beginning of His ministry. The heavenly powers were opened to Him, which He was in turn to open to all who believe and cooperate with Him for the regeneration of the world. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 1

1  The divinity, humanity, office, and incarnation of Jesus Christ
15  The testimony of John
39  The calling of Simon and Andrew, Philip and Nathanael

Greek Commentary for John 1:33

He said [εκεινος ειπεν]
Explicit and emphatic pronoun as in John 1:8, referring to God as the one who sent John (John 1:6). With the Holy Spirit “In the Holy Spirit.” Here again one needs the background of the Synoptics for the contrast between John‘s baptism in water (John 1:26) and that of the Messiah in the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16). [source]
The same [ἐκεῖνος]
Rev., He. See on John 1:18. Emphasizing the personal communication of Christ to the Baptist. [source]
With the Holy Ghost [ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ]
Better, as Rev., Holy Spirit. The preposition ἐν , in (Rev., in margin), often has the instrumental force, with. Here, however, it would seem to signify the element of the new life, as ἐν ὕδατι , in water, signifies the element of the symbolic baptism, and might better be rendered in. The absence of the article from Holy Spirit falls in with this, as indicating the spiritual influence of the divine Agent rather than His personality. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 1:33

John 5:11 He that made - the same [ὁ ποιήσας - ἐκεῖνος]
The demonstrative pronoun points with emphasis to the subject of the preceding clause. A characteristic usage of John. See John 1:18, John 1:33; John 9:37; John 10:1; John 12:48, etc. [source]
John 1:20 I am not the Christ []
According to the proper reading, ἐγὼ , I, stands first in the Baptist's statement, the ὅτι having the force merely of quotation marks. It is emphatic: “I am not the Christ, though the Christ is here.” Some were questioning whether John was the Christ (Luke 3:15; Acts 13:25). Note the frequent occurrence of the emphatic I: John 1:23, John 1:26, John 1:27, John 1:30, John 1:31, John 1:33, John 1:34. On the Christ, see on Matthew 1:1. [source]
John 1:31 And I knew him not [καγω ουκ ηιδειν αυτον]
Repeated in John 1:33. Second past perfect of οιδα — oida as imperfect. He had predicted the Messiah and described him before he met him and baptized him. See the Synoptics for that story. Whether John knew Jesus personally before the baptism we do not know. But that he should be made manifest to Israel Final clause with ινα — hina and first aorist passive subjunctive of πανεροω — phaneroō The purpose of John‘s ministry was to manifest to Israel with their spiritual privileges (John 1:49) the presence of the Messiah. Hence he was baptizing in water those who confessed their sins, he means, as in Mark 1:5. The Synoptic account is presupposed all along here. [source]
John 19:35 He that hath seen [ο εωρακως]
Perfect active articular participle of οραω — horaō John the Apostle was there and saw this fact (still sees it, in fact). This personal witness disproves the theory of the Docetic Gnostics that Jesus did not have a real human body. He knoweth That is John does like John 9:37. It is possible that εκεινος — ekeinos may be a solemn appeal to God as in John 1:33 or Christ as in 1 John 3:5. Bernard argues that the final editor is distinguishing the Beloved Disciple from himself and is endorsing him. But the example of Josephus (War. III. 7, 16) is against this use of εκεινος — ekeinos John is rather referring to himself as still alive. [source]
John 5:11 But he answered [ος δε απεκριτη]
Demonstrative ος — hos (But this one) and deponent use of απεκριτη — apekrithē (first aorist passive indicative of αποκρινομαι — apokrinomai with no passive force). The same “That one,” emphatic demonstrative as often in John (John 1:18, John 1:33; John 9:37; John 10:1, etc.). The man did not know who Jesus was nor even his name. He quotes the very words of Jesus. Whole Predicate accusative agreeing with με — me (me). [source]
John 1:32 Bare witness [εμαρτυρησεν]
First aorist active indicative of μαρτυρεω — martureō Another specimen of John‘s witness to the Messiah (John 1:7, John 1:15, John 1:19, John 1:29, John 1:35, John 1:36). I have beheld Perfect middle indicative of τεαομαι — theaomai the realization of the promise of the sign (John 1:33) by which he should recognize the Messiah. As a matter of fact, we know that he so recognized Jesus as Messiah when he came for baptism before the Holy Spirit came (Matthew 3:14.). But this sight of the Spirit descending as a dove upon Jesus at his baptism (Mark 1:10; Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22) became permanent proof to him. John‘s allusion assumes the Synoptic record. The Semites regarded the dove as a symbol of the Spirit. [source]
1 Timothy 3:16 Was received up into glory [ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ]
Better, received or taken up in glory. Ἁναλαμβάνειν is the formal term to describe the ascension of Christ (see Acts 1:2, Acts 1:22), and the reference is most probably to that event. Comp. lxx, 2 Kings 2:11, of Elijah, and Matthew href="/desk/?q=mt+16:27&sr=1">Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:31; Luke 12:27; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 3:7, 2 Corinthians 3:8, 2 Corinthians 3:11.Additional Note on 1 Timothy 3:16Christ's existence before his incarnation was purely spiritual ( ἐν πνεύματι ). He was in the form of God (Philemon 2:6): He was the effulgence of God's glory and the express image of his substance (Hebrews 1:3), and God is spirit (John 4:24). From this condition he came into manifestation in the flesh ( ἐν σαρκί ). He became man and entered into human conditions (Philemon 2:7, Philemon 2:8). Under these human conditions the attributes of his essential spiritual personality were veiled. He did not appear to men what he really was. He was not recognised by them as he who “was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1, John 1:2); as “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15); as one with God (John 10:30; John 14:9); as he who had all power in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18); who was “before all things and by whom all things consist” (Colossians 1:17); who was “the king of the ages” (1 Timothy 1:17). On the contrary, he was regarded as an impostor, a usurper, and a blasphemer. He was hated, persecuted, and finally murdered. He was poor, tempted, and tried, a man of sorrows. -DIVIDER-
The justification or vindication of what he really was did not therefore come out of the fleshly sphere. He was not justified in the flesh. It came out of the sphere of his spiritual being. Glimpses of this pneumatic life ( ἐν πνεύματι ) flashed out during his life in the flesh. By his exalted and spotless character, by his works of love and power, by his words of authority, in his baptism and transfiguration, he was vindicated as being what he essentially was and what he openly claimed to be. These justifications were revelations, expressions, and witnesses of his original, essential spiritual and divine quality; of the native glory which he had with the Father before the world was. It was the Spirit that publicly indorsed him (John 1:32, John 1:33): the words which he spake were spirit and life (John 6:63): he cast out demons in the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28): his whole earthly manifestation was in demonstration of the Spirit. These various demonstrations decisively justified his claims in the eyes of many. His disciples confessed him as the Christ of God (Luke 9:20) some of the people said “this is the Christ” (John 7:41): others suspected that he was such (John 4:29). Whether or not men acknowledged his claims, they felt the power of his unique personality. They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority (Matthew 7:28, Matthew 7:29). -DIVIDER-
Then followed the more decisive vindication in his resurrection from the dead. Here the work of the Spirit is distinctly recognised by Paul, Romans 1:4. See also Romans 8:11. In the period between his resurrection and ascension his pneumatic life came into clearer manifestation, and added to the vindication furnished in his life and resurrection. He seemed to live on the border-line between the natural and the spiritual world, and the powers of the spiritual world were continually crossing the line and revealing themselves in him. -DIVIDER-
In the apostolic preaching, the appeal to the vindication of Christ by the Spirit is clear and unequivocal. The spiritual nourishment of believers is “the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philemon 1:19): the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6): Paul identifies Christ personally with the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17); and in Romans 8:9, Romans 8:10, “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of Christ,” and “Christ” are used as convertible terms. The indwelling of the Spirit of Christ is the test and vindication of belonging to Christ (Romans 8:9). Thus, though put to death in the flesh, in the Spirit Christ is vindicated as the Son of God, the Christ of God, the manifestation of God. -DIVIDER-

1 John 5:6 He that came [ὁ ἐλθὼν]
Referring to the historic fact. See Matthew 11:3; Luke 7:19; John 1:15, John 1:27. Compare, for the form of expression, John 1:33; John 3:13. [source]

What do the individual words in John 1:33 mean?

And I not knew Him but the [One] having sent me to baptize with water He to me said Upon whom - you shall see the Spirit descending and abiding on He is baptizing [the] Spirit Holy
κἀγὼ οὐκ ᾔδειν αὐτόν ἀλλ’ πέμψας με βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι ἐκεῖνός μοι εἶπεν Ἐφ’ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς τὸ Πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπ’ οὗτός ἐστιν βαπτίζων Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ

κἀγὼ  And  I 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Nominative 1st Person Singular
Root: κἀγώ  
Sense: and I.
ᾔδειν  knew 
Parse: Verb, Pluperfect Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: οἶδα  
Sense: to see.
  the  [One] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πέμψας  having  sent 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πέμπω  
Sense: to send.
με  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
βαπτίζειν  to  baptize 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: βαπτίζω  
Sense: to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk).
ὕδατι  water 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: ὕδωρ  
Sense: water.
μοι  to  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
εἶπεν  said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
Ἐφ’  Upon 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐπί  
Sense: upon, on, at, by, before.
ὃν  whom 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ὅς 
Sense: who, which, what, that.
ἂν  - 
Parse: Particle
Root: ἄν  
Sense: has no exact English equivalent, see definitions under AV.
ἴδῃς  you  shall  see 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: εἶδον 
Sense: to see with the eyes.
Πνεῦμα  Spirit 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
καταβαῖνον  descending 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: καταβαίνω  
Sense: to go down, come down, descend.
μένον  abiding 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: μένω  
Sense: to remain, abide.
βαπτίζων  baptizing 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: βαπτίζω  
Sense: to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk).
Πνεύματι  [the]  Spirit 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
Ἁγίῳ  Holy 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: ἅγιος  
Sense: most holy thing, a saint.