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The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness[a] to be tempted by the devil. After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished.[b] The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.”[c] But he answered,[d] “It is written, ‘Man[e] does not live[f] by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”[g] Then the devil took him to the holy city,[h] had him stand[i] on the highest point[j] of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you[k] and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”[l] Jesus said to him, “Once again it is written: ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’”[m] Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur.[n] And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship[o] me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away,[p] Satan! For it is written: ‘You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”[q] 11 Then the devil left him, and angels[r] came and began ministering to his needs.

Preaching in Galilee

12 Now when Jesus[s] heard that John[t] had been imprisoned,[u] he went into Galilee. 13 While in Galilee, he moved from Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum[v] by the sea,[w] in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled:[x]

15 Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way[y] by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned.”[z]

17 From that time Jesus began to preach this message:[aa] “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!”

The Call of the Disciples

18 As[ab] he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon (called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishermen).[ac] 19 He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people!”[ad] 20 They[ae] left their nets immediately and followed him.[af] 21 Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John, in a boat[ag] with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Then[ah] he called them. 22 They[ai] immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus’ Healing Ministry

23 Jesus[aj] went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,[ak] preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness[al] among the people. 24 So a report about him spread throughout Syria. People[am] brought to him all who suffered with various illnesses and afflictions, those who had seizures,[an] paralytics, and those possessed by demons,[ao] and he healed them. 25 And large crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis,[ap] Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan River.[aq]


  1. Matthew 4:1 tn Or “desert.”sn The Judean Wilderness (or Judean Desert) is a geographical feature extending from the mountains of Judea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east. It is a relatively small desert, covering only about 600 square miles (roughly 1,500 square km). The Judean Wilderness is characterized by breathtaking panoramas: mountains, cliffs, chalk hills, and plateaus are interrupted by riverbeds and canyons, some of which are up to 1,500 feet (500 m) deep. Some of the rivers are seasonal streams and some have water all year round. The tall cliffs on the eastern edge of the desert reach a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the shore of the Dead Sea. The Judean Wilderness is close to Jerusalem and sparsely populated with few settlements around its edges. It is known for its rugged and desolate landscape, which has provided a refuge and hiding place for rebels and zealots throughout history, as well as solitude for monks and hermits.
  2. Matthew 4:2 tn Grk “and having fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry.”
  3. Matthew 4:3 tn Grk “say that these stones should become bread.”
  4. Matthew 4:4 tn Grk “answering, he said.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokritheis) is redundant, but the syntax of the phrase has been changed for clarity.
  5. Matthew 4:4 tn Or “a person.” Greek ὁ ἄνθρωπος (ho anthrōpos) is used generically for humanity. The translation “man” is used because the emphasis in Jesus’ response seems to be on his dependence on God as a man.
  6. Matthew 4:4 tn Grk “will not live.” The verb in Greek is a future tense, but it is unclear whether it is meant to be taken as a command (also known as an imperatival future) or as a statement of reality (predictive future).
  7. Matthew 4:4 sn A quotation from Deut 8:3.
  8. Matthew 4:5 sn The order of the second and third temptations are reversed in Luke’s account (4:5-12) from the order given in Matthew. Scholars differ on which account represents the original order of the temptations, but it seems likely that whichever is original, the other was changed by the author of that gospel for literary reasons.
  9. Matthew 4:5 tn Grk “and he stood him.”
  10. Matthew 4:5 sn What the highest point of the temple refers to is unclear. Perhaps the most popular suggestion is that the word refers to the point on the temple’s southeast corner where it looms directly over a cliff some 450 ft (135 m) high. Others have suggested the reference could be to the roof of the temple or a projection of the roof; still others see a reference to the lintel of the temple’s high gate, or a tower in the temple courts. The Greek word itself could be literally translated “winglet” (a diminutive of the Greek word for “wing”) which may have been chosen as a wordplay on the reference to safety under the “wings” of God in Ps 91:4, the same psalm quoted by the devil in the following verse.
  11. Matthew 4:6 sn A quotation from Ps 91:11. This was not so much an incorrect citation as a use in a wrong context (a misapplication of the passage). Ps 91 addresses one who has sought shelter in the Lord and assures him that God will protect him from danger. As Jesus points out in his reply, however, this protection does not extend to cases where the intent is to put the Lord to the test.
  12. Matthew 4:6 sn A quotation from Ps 91:12.
  13. Matthew 4:7 sn A quotation from Deut 6:16.
  14. Matthew 4:8 tn Grk “glory.”
  15. Matthew 4:9 tn Grk “if, falling down, you will worship.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”
  16. Matthew 4:10 tc The majority of witnesses (C2 D L Z Γ 33 1241 1424 M) have “behind me” (ὀπίσω μου; opisō mou) after “Go away.” But since this is the wording in Matt 16:23, where the text is certain, scribes most likely added the words here to conform to the later passage. Further, the shorter reading has superior support (א B C*vid K P W Δ 0233 ƒ1, 13 565 579* 700). Thus, both externally and internally, the shorter reading is strongly preferred.
  17. Matthew 4:10 sn A quotation from Deut 6:13. The word “only” is an interpretive expansion in the Greek text of the NT not found in either the Hebrew or Greek (LXX) text of the OT.
  18. Matthew 4:11 tn Grk “and behold, angels.” 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).
  19. Matthew 4:12 tn Grk “he.”
  20. Matthew 4:12 sn A reference to John the Baptist.
  21. Matthew 4:12 tn Or “arrested,” “taken into custody” (see L&N 37.12).
  22. Matthew 4:13 tn Grk “and leaving Nazareth, he came and took up residence in Capernaum.” sn Capernaum was a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 680 ft (207 m) below sea level. It existed since Hasmonean times and was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region. The population in the first century is estimated to be around 1,500. Capernaum became the hub of operations for Jesus’ Galilean ministry (Matt 4:13; Mark 2:1). In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. Not until 1968, however, were remains from the time of Jesus visible; in that year V. Corbo and S. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological campaigns that lasted until 1985. This work uncovered what is thought to be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of the first century synagogue beneath the later synagogue from the fourth or fifth century A.D. Today gently rolling hills and date palms frame the first century site, a favorite tourist destination of visitors to the Galilee.
  23. Matthew 4:13 tn Or “by the lake.”sn By the sea refers to the Sea of Galilee.
  24. Matthew 4:14 tn The redundant participle λέγοντος (legontos) has not been translated here.
  25. Matthew 4:15 tn Or “road.”
  26. Matthew 4:16 sn A quotation from Isa 9:1.
  27. Matthew 4:17 tn Grk “to preach and to say.” The second of the two Greek infinitives (“to say”) is redundant in English and is not included in the translation.
  28. Matthew 4:18 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  29. Matthew 4:18 tn The two phrases in this verse placed in parentheses are explanatory comments by the author, parenthetical in nature.
  30. Matthew 4:19 tn The Greek term ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women, thus “people.”sn The kind of fishing envisioned was net—not line—fishing (cf. v. 18; cf. also BDAG 55 s.v. ἀμφιβάλλω, ἀμφίβληστρον) which involved a circular net that had heavy weights around its perimeter. The occupation of fisherman was labor-intensive. The imagery of using a lure and a line (and waiting for the fish to strike) is thus foreign to this text. Rather, the imagery of a fisherman involved much strain, long hours, and often little results. Jesus’ point in using the analogy may have been one or more of the following: the strenuousness of evangelism, the work ethic that it required, persistence and dedication to the task (often in spite of minimal results), the infinite value of the new “catch” (viz., people), and perhaps an eschatological theme of snatching people from judgment (cf. W. L. Lane, Mark [NICNT], 67). If this last motif is in view, then catching people is the opposite of catching fish: The fish would be caught, killed, cooked, and eaten; people would be caught so as to rescue them from eternal destruction and to give them new life.
  31. Matthew 4:20 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  32. Matthew 4:20 sn The expression followed him pictures discipleship, which means that to learn from Jesus is to follow him as the guiding priority of one’s life.
  33. Matthew 4:21 tn Or “in their boat.” The phrase ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ (en tō ploiō) can either refer to a generic boat, some boat (as it seems to do here); or it can refer to “their” boat, implying possession. Mark (unlike Matthew) assumes a certain preunderstanding on the part of his readers about the first four disciples and hence in Mark the translation “their boat” is justified (Mark 1:19; cf. also Mark 1:20 in which the “hired men” indicates that Zebedee’s family owned the boats)sn In 1986 following a period of drought and low lake levels, a fishing boat from the first century was discovered on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was excavated and preserved and can now be seen in the Yigal Allon Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar north of Tiberias. The remains of the boat are 27 ft (8.27 m) long and 7.5 ft (2.3 m) wide; it could be rowed by four rowers and had a mast for a sail. The boat is now known as the “Jesus boat” or the “Sea of Galilee boat” although there is no known historical connection of any kind with Jesus or his disciples. However, the boat is typical for the period and has provided archaeologists with much information about design and construction of boats on the Sea of Galilee in the first century.
  34. Matthew 4:21 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  35. Matthew 4:22 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  36. Matthew 4:23 tn Grk “And he.”
  37. Matthew 4:23 sn Synagogues were places for Jewish prayer and worship, with recognized leadership (cf. Luke 8:41). Though the origin of the synagogue is not entirely clear, it seems to have arisen in the postexilic community during the intertestamental period. A town could establish a synagogue if there were at least ten men. In normative Judaism of the NT period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present (see the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2).
  38. Matthew 4:23 tn Grk “every [kind of] disease and every [kind of] sickness.” Here “every” was not repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons. The present translation, like several other translations (e.g., NASB, CEV, NLT), has opted for “every kind of disease and sickness” here, understanding the Greek term πᾶς to refer to “everything belonging, in kind, to the class designated by the noun” (BDAG 784 s.v. 5).
  39. Matthew 4:24 tn Grk “And they”; “they” is probably an indefinite plural, referring to people in general rather than to the Syrians (cf. v. 25).
  40. Matthew 4:24 tn Grk “those who were moonstruck,” possibly meaning “lunatic” (so NAB), although now the term is generally regarded as referring to some sort of seizure disorder such as epilepsy (L&N 23.169; BDAG 919 s.v. σεληνιάζομαι).
  41. Matthew 4:24 tn The translation has adopted a different phrase order here than that in the Greek text. The Greek text reads, “People brought to him all who suffered with various illnesses and afflictions, those possessed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics.” Even though it is obvious that four separate groups of people are in view here, following the Greek word order could lead to the misconception that certain people were possessed by epileptics and paralytics. The word order adopted in the translation avoids this problem.
  42. Matthew 4:25 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated before each of the places in the list, since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or The Decapolis refers to a group of towns (originally consisting of ten; the Greek name literally means “ten towns”) whose region (except for Scythopolis) lay on the east side of the Jordan River. Although frequently seen as a league of independent city states organized by the Roman general Pompey, contemporary sources do not support such a view. Rather their unity came from their Greek (Hellenistic) culture and religions, which set them apart from surrounding areas.
  43. Matthew 4:25 tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity. The region referred to here is sometimes known as Transjordan (i.e., “across the Jordan”).