He said (eph). Common imperfect active (or second aorist active) of phmi, to say, old defective verb. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness (Egw pwnh bownto en th erhmwi). For his answer John quotes Isaiah 40:3 . The Synoptics ( Mark 1:3 ; Matthew 3:3 ; Luke 3:4 ) quote this language from Isaiah as descriptive of John, but do not say that he also applied it to himself. There is no reason to think that he did not do so. John also refers to Isaiah as the author of the words and also of the message, "Make straight the way of the Lord" (Euqunate thn odon tou kuriou). By this language (euqunw in N.T. only here and James 3:4 , first aorist active imperative here) John identifies himself to the committee as the forerunner of the Messiah. The early writers note the differences between the use of Logo (Word) for the Messiah and pwnh (Voice) for John.