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Luke 3 The Passion Translation (TPT)

John the Baptizer

1–2 A powerful message from God came to John, Zechariah’s son, when he was living out in the lonely wilderness.[a] This prophetic commission came to John during the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, son of Caesar. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea at that time. Antipas, son of Herod, was governor over Galilee, Herod’s brother Philip was over the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was over Abilene.[b] This happened during the days of two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas.[c]

John went preaching and baptizing throughout the Jordan Valley. He persuaded people to turn away from their sins and turn to God[d] for the freedom of forgiveness.[e]

This was to fulfill what was written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

“Listen! You will hear a thunderous voice in the lonely wilderness telling you to wake up and get your heart ready for the coming of the Lord Jehovah.[f] Every twisted thing in your lives must be made straight. 5–6 Every dark way must be brought to the light. Wrongs righted. Injustices removed. Every heart of pride will be humbled low before him. Every deception will be exposed and replaced by the truth so that everyone everywhere will be ready to see the Life of God!”[g],[h]

John kept preaching to the many crowds who came out to be baptized, “You are nothing but the offspring of poisonous snakes, full of deception! Have you been warned to repent before the coming wrath of God? Then turn away from your sins, turn to God, and prove it by a changed life. Don’t think for a moment that it’s enough to simply be the favored descendants of Abraham. That’s not enough to save you.[i] I’m telling you, God could make more sons of Abraham out of stones if he chose to!

“Even now God’s axe of judgment is poised to chop down your barren tree right down to its roots! And every tree that does not produce good fruit will be leveled and thrown into the fire.”

10 The crowd kept asking him, “What then are we supposed to do?”

11 John told them, “Give food to the hungry, clothe the poor, and bless the needy.”[j]

12 Even the despised tax collectors came to John to be baptized, and they asked him, “What are we to do to prove our hearts have changed?”

13 “Be honest,” he replied. “Don’t demand more taxes than what you are required to collect.”[k]

14 “And us?” asked some soldiers.[l] “What about us?”

John answered them, “Be content with what you earn. Never extort money or terrify others by threats of violence or be guilty of accusing the innocent.”

15 During those days, everyone was gripped with messianic expectations, believing the Messiah could come at any moment, and many began to wonder if John might be the Christ.

16 But John made it clear by telling them, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. He is supreme.[m] In fact, I’m not worthy of even being his slave.[n] I can only baptize you in this river, but he will baptize you into the Spirit of holiness and into his raging fire.[o] 17 He has in his hands a winnowing fork to clean up his threshing floor![p] He will separate the wheat from the chaff. The wheat he will gather into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that no one can ever put out!”

18 John used many similar warnings as he preached the good news and prepared[q] the people. 19 He even publicly rebuked Antipas, son of Herod, the governor of Galilee, for the many wicked things he had done. He fearlessly reprimanded him for seducing and marrying his sister-in-law, Herodias.

20 Adding to his many other sins, Herod had John seized and locked up in prison.

The Baptism of Jesus

21–22 One day Jesus came to be baptized[r] along with all the others. As he was consumed with the spirit of prayer,[s] the heavenly realm ripped open above him and the Holy Spirit descended from heaven in the visible, tangible form of a dove[t] and landed on him. Then God’s audible voice was heard, saying, “My Son, you are my beloved one.[u] Through you I am fulfilled.”[v]

The Ancestry of Jesus Christ

23–38 Jesus, assumed to be Joseph’s son, was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.[w] Here are the names of Mary’s[x] ancestors, from her father traced all the way back to Adam:

Eli,[y] Matthat, Levi, Melki, Jannai, Joseph, Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda, Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi, Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David, Jesse, Obed, Boaz, Salmon, Nahshon, Amminadab, Admin, Arni, Hezron, Perez, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Terah, Nahor, Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, Shelah, Kenan, Arphaxad, Shem, Noah, Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Cainan, Enos, Seth, and Adam, who was created by God.[z]


  1. Luke 3:1 Some believe that John may have been a member of the Qumran community of Jewish Essenes, who lived in the wilderness because they viewed the Jewish religious system as corrupt.
  2. Luke 3:1 A region west of Ituraea.
  3. Luke 3:1 As the forerunner of Jesus Christ, the prophet John was a hinge of human history who forever changed the world. Luke carefully dates this event by giving us six markers. Historians have dated the reign of Tiberius Caesar as beginning in AD 14. The fifteenth year of his reign would be AD 28–29. Regarding Annas and Caiaphas, never in Jewish history had there been two high priests. The priesthood was corrupt. Even though Caiaphas, Annas’ son-in-law, was the high priest, Annas remained the real authoritative leader behind the scenes (John 18:13; Acts 4:6).
  4. Luke 3:3 This is the definition of repentance, and it has two concepts. One is turning away from sin; the other is turning to God for freedom. They are linked together as one word, translated “repentance.” The Aramaic word has the concept of returning to God, to unite with Unity.
  5. Luke 3:3 John’s message was revolutionary, for the religion of the day taught that forgiveness could only be found temporarily by offering sacrifices in the temple. John, an Essene, told the people that forgiveness of sin was a heart issue, not gained by an animal sacrifice offered in the corrupt religious system of the day. Repentance, breaking open the heart, is more important than gaining forgiveness by religious acts.
  6. Luke 3:4 Translated from the Aramaic.
  7. Luke 3:5 The Greek text, quoting from Isa. 40:3-5, is literally translated “Wake up and make lines for the Lord, make his side alleys straight. Every ravine will be filled, every mountain and hill shall be leveled, the crooked straightened, rough ways smoothed, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Every honest scholar recognizes this as more than a road construction project, implying a spiritual renewal in hearts.
  8. Luke 3:5 Translated from the Aramaic. The Aramaic word translated “life” often refers to salvation.
  9. Luke 3:8 God values reformation over ritual. John’s ministry was to prepare people for the appearing of Jesus Christ through repentance and baptism. Repentance breaks open the heart and changes our attitudes toward God. Baptism was a burial of those who repented, preparing them for the germination of Christ coming to live within by the new birth.
  10. Luke 3:11 The Greek text is literally “The one with two tunics is to share with him who has none, and he who has food is to do likewise.”
  11. Luke 3:13 True repentance is tied to actions, a change of heart and deeds, not just words.
  12. Luke 3:14 They were likely temple police.
  13. Luke 3:16 The word translated “supreme” is found only in the Aramaic text. John was a true prophet who pointed others to the Supreme One. Before John came on the scene, there had not been a prophet in Israel for four hundred years.
  14. Luke 3:16 Or “loose his sandal strap,” which only a slave would do.
  15. Luke 3:16 The Aramaic text reads “He will baptize you into the Spirit of the Holy One and in light.” A baptism of light or fire would cleanse and change a life, giving new power to live for God and deal with every issue that hinders love and passion from burning in our hearts. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that is needed today.
  16. Luke 3:17 The text is literally “a winnowing fork is in his hand.” This was a small pitchfork used to separate the chaff from the grain.
  17. Luke 3:18 Translated from the Aramaic text.
  18. Luke 3:21 Jesus identified with sinners, even at his baptism. Although he had no sin, he chose to become one with sinners and was washed by John as a preview of what would happen when he became sin and was judged for our sins at the cross.
  19. Luke 3:21 We read about Jesus praying eight times in Luke’s Gospel. (1) At his baptism Jesus prayed and the heavens were opened, revealing his sonship. Jesus asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen him for his wilderness temptations (3:21-23). (2) Jesus prayed in solitude, and miracles broke loose in his ministry (5:16-17). (3) Jesus prayed all night before he chose his twelve companions (6:12-16). (4) Jesus prayed for his apostles to receive the full revelation of who he is (9:18-22). (5) When Jesus was about to be glorified in splendor on the mountain, he prayed, and his face glowed with a flashing light (9:28-29). (6) Jesus prayed that he would be an example to every one of his disciples (11:1). (7) Jesus prayed for Peter’s restoration and future ministry (22:31-32). (8) Jesus prayed in Gethsemane for strength and glory as the terrors of Calvary lay before him (22:41-46).
  20. Luke 3:21 What a beautiful picture: a dove resting on a lamb. To have the power of the Spirit (dove), we need to have the nature of the Lamb (Jesus). Although Jesus had the Holy Spirit from his immaculate conception, at his baptism he received the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to fulfill his ministry. God gives more and more of his Spirit to those who love him and obey him.
  21. Luke 3:21 The heavenly voice confirms the identity of Jesus as Messiah. God quoted Ps. 2:7 and Isa. 42:1, both of which are considered as speaking of the Christ. God publicly stated that Jesus was the long-awaited and much-loved Son, the Christ. The Trinity is clearly seen in this passage: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father.
  22. Luke 3:21 As translated from the Aramaic text. The Greek text states, “in whom I am greatly pleased.” When the presence of the Holy Spirit came upon the Son of God, those around him heard the voice of the Father. We see from this a picture of the triune God, three in one.
  23. Luke 3:23 Old Testament priests could not begin their ministry until they were thirty years old. The number thirty is the biblical number of maturity. Both Joseph and David were promoted to the place of honor when they were thirty.
  24. Luke 3:23 Matthew gives us the genealogy of Jesus from Joseph’s family, while some suggest Luke’s genealogy is from Mary’s side. Luke is the only Gospel writer who gives much attention to women. Neither Matthew nor Luke gives a complete genealogy.
  25. Luke 3:23 Matthew identifies Joseph’s father as Jacob (Matt. 1:16), while Luke says he was Eli’s (Heli’s) son (Luke 3:23). The ancient world often referred to a man’s sons-in-law as his own sons. Thus it is possible that Eli was Mary’s father and Joseph’s father-in-law.
  26. Luke 3:23 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek text states, “the son of God.”
The Passion Translation (TPT)

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Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

Luke 3 New International Version (NIV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”[a]

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[b] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

The Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,

the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, the son of Melki,

the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,

25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,

the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,

the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,

the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,

the son of Josek, the son of Joda,

27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,

the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,

the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,

the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,

the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,

29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,

the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,

the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,

the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,

31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,

the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,

the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,

the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,

the son of Salmon,[d] the son of Nahshon,

33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[e]

the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,

the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,

the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,

the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,

the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,

the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,

the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,

the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,

the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,

the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,

the son of Seth, the son of Adam,

the son of God.


  1. Luke 3:6 Isaiah 40:3-5
  2. Luke 3:16 Or in
  3. Luke 3:16 Or in
  4. Luke 3:32 Some early manuscripts Sala
  5. Luke 3:33 Some manuscripts Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni; other manuscripts vary widely.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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