He Must Increase I Must Decrease: What Does John 3:30 Mean?


John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationJohn 3:30
ESVHe must increase, but I must decrease.”
NASB“He must increase, but I must decrease.
NIVHe must become greater; I must become less.”
NLTHe must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

He Must Increase I Must Decrease: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

3:22-36 John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work.

He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion.

The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.

John 3:30 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

27-30. A man, &c.—”I do my heaven-prescribed work, and that is enough for me. Would you have me mount into my Master’s place? Said I not unto you, I am not the Christ?

The Bride is not mine, why should the people stay with me?? Mine it is to point the burdened to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, to tell them there is Balm in Gilead, and a Physician there. And shall I grudge to see them, in obedience to the call, flying as a cloud, and as doves to their windows?

Whose is the Bride but the Bridegroom’s? Enough for me to be the Bridegroom’s friend, sent by Him to negotiate the match, privileged to bring together the Saviour and those He is come to seek and to save, and rejoicing with joy unspeakable if I may but ‘stand and hear the Bridegroom’s voice,’ witnessing the blessed espousals.

Say ye, then, they go from me to Him? Ye bring me glad tidings of great joy. He must increase, but I must decrease; this, my joy, therefore is fulfilled.”

A man can receive, &c.—assume nothing, that is, lawfully and with any success; that is, Every man has his work and sphere appointed him from above, Even Christ Himself came under this law (Heb 5:4).

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