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Matthew 21:23–27

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

23 zAnd when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him aas he was teaching, and said, b“By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, cfrom where did it come? dFrom heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, e‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ fwe are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was ga prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

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Matthew 21:23–27 — The New International Version (NIV)

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptismwhere did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — New Living Translation (NLT)

23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”

24 I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question, Jesus replied. 25 Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”

They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” 27 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

And Jesus responded, Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

24 But Jesus answered and said to them, I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: 25 The baptism of Johnwhere was it from? From heaven or from men?”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.”

And He said to them,Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — New Century Version (NCV)

23 Jesus went to the Temple, and while he was teaching there, the leading priests and the elders of the people came to him. They said, “What authority do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus answered, “I also will ask you a question. If you answer me, then I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. 25 Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or just from other people?”

They argued about Jesus’ question, saying, “If we answer, ‘John’s baptism was from God,’ Jesus will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘It was from people,’ we are afraid of what the crowd will do because they all believe that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said to them, “Then I won’t tell you what authority I have to do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one question, which if ye tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or from men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why then did ye not believe him? 26 But if we shall say, From men; we fear the multitude; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We know not. He also said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

23 And when he came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, saying, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answering said to them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I also will tell you by what authority I do these things: 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? of heaven or of men? And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we should say, Of heaven, he will say to us, Why then have ye not believed him? 26 but if we should say, Of men, we fear the crowd, for all hold John for a prophet. 27 And answering Jesus they said, We do not know. He also said to them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

23 Then Jesus went into the temple courtyard and began to teach. The chief priests and the leaders of the people came to him. They asked, “What gives you the right to do these things? Who told you that you could do this?” 

24 Jesus answered them, “I, too, have a question for you. If you answer it for me, I’ll tell you why I have the right to do these things. 25 Did John’s right to baptize come from heaven or from humans?” 

They discussed this among themselves. They said, “If we say, ‘from heaven,’ he will ask us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘from humans,’ we’re afraid of what the crowd might do. All those people think of John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” 

Jesus told them, “Then I won’t tell you why I have the right to do these things. 

Matthew 21:23–27 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

23 When He entered the temple complex, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?”

24 Jesus answered them, I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for Me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from men?”

They began to argue among themselves, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

And He said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

23 And after he arrived at the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him while he was teaching, saying, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” 24 And Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question. If you tell the answer to me, I also will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 From where was the baptism of John—from heaven or from men?” And they began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “If we say ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the crowd, because they all look upon John as a prophet.” 27 And they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Matthew 21:23–27 — New International Reader’s Version, 1998 ed. (NIrV) (NIrV)

23 Jesus entered the temple courtyard. While he was teaching there, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “Who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? Was it from heaven? Or did it come from men?”

They talked to each other about it. They said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But what if we say, ‘From men’? We are afraid of the people. Everyone believes that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I am doing these things either.

Matthew 21:23–27 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

23 When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?”

24 Jesus said to them, I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.

25 The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’

26 “But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.”

27 And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” He also said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.