John the Baptist Begins His Ministry

Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the Judean wilderness and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For this is the one who was spoken about by the prophet Isaiah, saying,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.’”[a]

Now John himself had his clothing made from camel’s hair and a belt made of leather around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan were going out to him, and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they[b] confessed their sins.

But when he[c] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit worthy of repentance! And do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 10 Already now the ax is positioned at the root of the trees; therefore every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I am, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clean out his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John in order to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent[d] him, saying, “I need[e] to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and[f] said to him, “Permit it now, for in this way it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted him. 16 Now after he[g] was baptized, Jesus immediately went up from the water, and behold, the heavens opened[h] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove coming[i] upon him. 17 And behold, there was[j] a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”


  1. Matthew 3:3 A quotation from Isa 40:3
  2. Matthew 3:6 Here “as” is supplied as a component of the participle (“confessed”) which is understood as temporal
  3. Matthew 3:7 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“saw”) which is understood as temporal
  4. Matthew 3:14 The imperfect verb is understood as conative (“tried to”)
  5. Matthew 3:14 Literally “I have need”
  6. Matthew 3:15 Here “and” is supplied because the previous participle (“answered”) has been translated as a finite verb
  7. Matthew 3:16 Here “after” is supplied as a component of the participle (“was baptized”) which is understood as temporal
  8. Matthew 3:16 Some manuscripts have “opened to him”
  9. Matthew 3:16 Some manuscripts have “and coming”
  10. Matthew 3:17 The words “there was” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to make a complete sentence in English