New King James Version
John the Baptist Prepares the Way(A)
3 In those days (B)John the Baptist came preaching (C)in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for (D)the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
4 Now (G)John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was (H)locusts and (I)wild honey. 5 (J)Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 (K)and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, (L)“Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from (M)the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, (N)‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. (O)Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 (P)I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. (Q)He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [a]and fire. 12 (R)His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will (S)burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
John Baptizes Jesus(T)
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
16 (W)When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [b]He saw (X)the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 (Y)And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, (Z)“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The Preaching of John the Baptist
3 In those days [a]John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea [along the western side of the Dead Sea] and saying, 2 “[b]Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
4 Now this same John had clothing made of camel’s hair and a [wide] leather [d]band around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.(B) 5 At that time Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; 6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the [e]Pharisees and [f]Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the [divine] wrath and judgment to come? 8 So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; 9 and do not presume to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [so our inheritance assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham.(C) 10 And already the axe [of God’s judgment] is [g]swinging toward the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “As for me, I baptize you [h]with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with [i]fire (judgment).(D) 12 His [j]winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat (believers) into His barn (kingdom), but He will burn up the chaff (the unrepentant) with unquenchable fire.”
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan [River], to be baptized by him.(E) 14 But John tried to prevent Him [vigorously protesting], saying, “It is I who need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus replied to him, “Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for us [k]to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John permitted [it and baptized] Him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he (John) saw the [l]Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him (Jesus),(F) 17 and behold, a [m]voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!”(G)
- Matthew 3:1 Considered the last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist was the son of Zecharias (Zechariah) the priest and his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were related (Luke 1:36), and Mary may have been with Elizabeth at the time John was born (Luke 1:56). John the Baptist is not to be confused with John the Apostle who along with his brother, James, was among the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Matthew 3:2 Jews believed they would automatically be granted entrance into the Messianic kingdom, so this new teaching that repentance was required was very difficult to accept.
- Matthew 3:3 A ruler or nobleman traveling in the wilderness would have a crew of workmen preparing and clearing the road ahead of him. In spiritual terms, the message was clearing the way for the arrival of the Messiah by preparing the hearts of His followers.
- Matthew 3:4 This band (sash, girdle) was about six inches wide and had clasps or fasteners in front. It was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things.
- Matthew 3:7 The Pharisees identified with the common people and had control over them. They were prominent legalistic leaders in Judaism who were experts in Mosaic Law and its rituals and traditions. They believed in the resurrection of the dead, immortality of the soul and in the existence of angels and spirits.
- Matthew 3:7 The Sadducees were aristocratic members of a priestly group (religious party) who controlled the temple. They denied the possibility of a resurrection and the existence of any spiritual beings apart from God. Although the Sadducees were in the minority, they were leaders of the Sanhedrin, controlling the Jewish High Court.
- Matthew 3:10 Lit laid at.
- Matthew 3:11 The Greek here can be translated in, with, or by.
- Matthew 3:11 Another view of “fire” purports that the text refers to the fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit, not judgment. According to this view the fire indicates that the believer is purified as in the refining of gold. Fire burns up the impurities and the gold (the believer) survives (cf 1 Cor 3:12, 13; James 1:3). The Holy Spirit promised here has been associated with Pentecost, purification, testing, and judgment. Each person who accepts Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5-8).
- Matthew 3:12 A tool roughly resembling a pitchfork, used to separate grains of wheat from the chaff by throwing the wheat into the air, and allowing the wind to blow away the lighter chaff.
- Matthew 3:15 This act of baptism identified Jesus with sinners whose sins He would ultimately bear, and to whom His righteousness would be imparted.
- Matthew 3:16 The descent of the Holy Spirit identified Jesus in His humanity for His ministry as the Messiah.
- Matthew 3:17 This is the first instance recorded in the Gospels of the Father speaking audibly to His Son. Also see Matt 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 12:28.
New International Version
John the Baptist Prepares the Way(A)
3 In those days John the Baptist(B) came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven(C) has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
4 John’s(E) clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist.(F) His food was locusts(G) and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized(H) by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers!(I) Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?(J) 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.(K) 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’(L) I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 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.(M)
11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance.(N) But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit(O) and fire.(P) 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”(Q)
The Baptism of Jesus(R)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.(S) 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened,(T) and he saw the Spirit of God(U) descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven(V) said, “This is my Son,(W) whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”(X)
King James Version
3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.