In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:
- But John forbad him, saying,
- I have to need to be baptized of
- thee, and comest thou to me?
The World English Bible translates the passage as:
- But John would have hindered
- him, saying, "I need to be baptized
- by you, and you come to me?"
For a collection of other versions see BibRef Matthew 3:14
Gundry notes that this section does not appear in Luke or Mark and concludes that it is thus likely original to Matthew. In the environment the author of Matthew is presumed to have been writing in there would still have been many followers of John the Baptist who felt he was equal or superior to Jesus. Matthew is thus very careful to specify the relationship between the two. Albright and Mann state that this verse and the next are often seen as an embarrassed attempt to justify the messiah being baptized by a mere mortal.
The verse does not specify why exactly John believes he is the one to be baptized. Based on Matthew 3:11 most scholars feel it is mainly an issue of precedence. However, according to Hill the [[Gospel of the Nazarenes],] adds a clarification to this section stating that it was because of Jesus' sinlessness that John felt he was the one who should be baptized. In John the order of events is different, and the Baptist only recognizes Jesus' nature after the baptism.
- Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982.
- Albright, W.F. and C.S. Mann. "Matthew." The Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.
- Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981
- France, R.T.. The Gospel of Matthew. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007 pg. 119
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