John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me…
"He who follows me preceded me." Here, then, is an apparent contradiction, intended to excite attention and stimulate mental activity. The enigmatical form must have also contributed to impress this important declaration on the memory of the hearers.
(F. Godet, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.