Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about John as Greatest of All Men
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 11:7-11

Despite the greatness of the Old Testament prophets that filters through the record of their deeds, Jesus declares that none was greater than His cousin, John. In fact, several commentaries contend that Jesus' statement literally means that John was the greatest of all men, not just the greatest prophet! When we consider the greatness of the other prophets, we must marvel at how great this man was! Yet we know so little of him.

The Greek literally says He was much more than a prophet. Part of the reason for this is that John fulfilled the prophecy given in Malachi 3:1. No other prophet, aside from Jesus Christ, was ever the fulfillment of a distinct prophecy—and such an important prophecy on top of that! There may be a great deal more to John than we ever considered.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Elijah and John the Baptist

John 10:40-41

No prophet was greater than John the Baptist. If there were none greater, maybe others were equal to him. Maybe they were all on the same level, but even Jesus refused to say that even Moses was greater than John, and yet by worldly standards—especially from a Jew's perspective—Moses was the greatest of all. But not according to Jesus, who said nobody was greater than John. It almost looks as though He is saying, "John is the one that everybody else ought to be measured against." At the very least, he was equal to the ones who the people in the world would think were greater.

John did the work of Elijah, revealing the true God through a ministry devoted to preaching the certainty of the things contained in Scripture regarding Christ, yet he did no miracles. It is obvious that God does not measure a prophet's greatness by the miracles he does.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


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