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The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River.[a] 14 But John[b] tried to prevent[c] him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” 15 So Jesus replied[d] to him, “Let it happen now,[e] for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John[f] yielded[g] to him. 16 After[h] Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the[i] heavens[j] opened[k] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove[l] and coming to rest[m] on him. 17 And[n] a voice from heaven said,[o] “This is my one dear Son;[p] in him[q] I take great delight.”[r]

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  1. Matthew 3:13 tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity.
  2. Matthew 3:14 tc ‡ The earliest mss (א* B sa) lack the name of John here (“but he tried to prevent him,” instead of “but John tried to prevent him”). It is, however, clearly implied (and is thus supplied in translation). Although the longer reading has excellent support (P96 א1 C Ds L W Γ Δ 0233 0250 ƒ1, 13 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M lat[t] sy mae bo), it looks to be a motivated and predictable reading. Nevertheless, in light of the strong external support for “John,” it is only slightly more likely that the autographic wording of this verse lacked his name.
  3. Matthew 3:14 tn The imperfect verb has been translated conatively.
  4. Matthew 3:15 tn Grk “but Jesus, answering, said.” This construction with passive participle and finite verb is pleonastic (redundant) and has been simplified in the translation to “replied to him.”
  5. Matthew 3:15 tn Grk “Permit now.”
  6. Matthew 3:15 tn Grk “he”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  7. Matthew 3:15 tn Or “permitted him.”
  8. Matthew 3:16 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  9. Matthew 3:16 tn Grk “behold the heavens.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
  10. Matthew 3:16 tn Or “sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The same word is used in v. 17.
  11. Matthew 3:16 tcαὐτῷ (autō, “to/before him”) is found in the majority of witnesses (א1 C Ds L W Γ Δ 0233 ƒ1, 13 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M lat mae bo), perhaps added as a point of clarification or emphasis. It is lacking in א* B sys,c sa Irlat CyrJ; SBL. NA28 includes the word in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
  12. Matthew 3:16 sn The phrase like a dove is a descriptive comparison. The Spirit is not a dove, but descended like one in some sort of bodily representation.
  13. Matthew 3:16 tn Grk “coming”; the notion of coming to rest is implied in the context.
  14. Matthew 3:17 tn Grk “and behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated here.
  15. Matthew 3:17 tn Grk “behold, a voice from the heavens, saying.” This is an incomplete sentence in Greek which portrays intensity and emotion. The participle λέγουσα (legousa) was translated as a finite verb in keeping with English style.
  16. Matthew 3:17 tn Grk “my beloved Son,” or “my Son, the beloved [one].” The force of ἀγαπητός (agapētos) is often “pertaining to one who is the only one of his or her class, but at the same time is particularly loved and cherished” (L&N 58.53; cf. also BDAG 7 s.v. 1).sn The parallel accounts in Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22 read “You are” rather than “This is,” portraying the remark as addressed personally to Jesus.
  17. Matthew 3:17 tn Grk “in whom.”
  18. Matthew 3:17 tn Or “with whom I am well pleased.”sn The allusions in the remarks of the text recall Ps 2:7a; Isa 42:1 and either Isa 41:8 or, less likely, Gen 22:12, 16. God is marking out Jesus as his chosen one (the meaning of “[in him I take] great delight”), but it may well be that this was a private experience that only Jesus and John saw and heard (cf. John 1:32-33).