From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


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Entire Chapter:  Verses 1-38




Books Utilized Codes at End of Chapter




3:1                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being Governor of Judaea, Herod Tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip Tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias Tetrarch of Abilene,

WEB:              Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,           

Young’s:         And in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Caesar -- Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother, tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of

Abilene --      
Conte (RC):   Then, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being procurator of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,


3:1                   Now in the fifteenth year.  In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius as Caesar.  This seems a very definite date, rendering all the other particulars, so far as fixing time is concerned, comparatively superfluous.  But uncertainty comes in connection with the question:  is the fifteenth year to be reckoned from the death of Augustus (19 Aug., 767 A.U.C.), when Tiberius became sole emperor, or from the beginning of the regency of Tiberius, two years earlier?  The former mode of calculation would give us 28 or 29 A.D. as the date of John's ministry and Christ's baptism, making Jesus then thirty-two years old; the latter, 26 A.D., making Jesus then thirty years old, agreeing with iii. 23.  The former mode of dating would be more in accordance with the practice of Roman historians and Josephus; the latter lends itself to apologetic and harmonistic interests, and therefore is preferred by many (e.g., Farrer and Hahn).  [12]

                        of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.  Successor to Augustus, an able but sullen and suspicious ruler, and latterly a gloomy tyrant.  Herod Antipas paid him slavish deference, and built "Tiberias," his Galilean capital, in his honor, the town which gave rise to the name, "Sea of Tiberias."  [6]

                        Pontius Pilate.  He was Procurator for ten years, A.D. 25-36.  His predecessors had been Coponius (A.D. 6-10), M. Ambivius, Annius Rufus, and Valerius Gratus (A.D. 14-25).  He was succeeded by Marcellus, Fadus, Tiberius Alexander, Cumanus, Felix, Festus, Albinus and Florus.  [56]    

Herod the Great's kingdom was divided at his death, and Judea had been a Roman province for twenty years when John the Baptist appeared.  It was governed by a Roman procurator under the governor of Syria.  Pilate, a Roman knight, had been made the sixth procurator under Tiberius, and succeeded Valerius Gratus in 26 A.D.  His headquarters were at Caesarea, on the coast (Acts 23:23).  He had a cohort for a bodyguard (Matthew 27:27).  As a Roman judge, he sat on a portable tribunal or Bema, placed on a tessellated pavement (Gabbatha, John 19:13).  At the great festivals he came up to Jerusalem; he had been a rapacious governor (Luke 13:1-2), who could not afford to be accused to Caesar, and who had more than once been rebuked by the suspicious tyrant who ruled at Rome.  His position with regard to the tetrarchs was not unlike that of a governor of an Indian province to the dependent native princes [in the nineteenth century].   [6]

                        being governor of Judea.  South of Galilee and including Jerusalem as its religious center.  [rw]           

                        Herod.  This Herod is usually known as "Antipas" (properly, Antipater).  He was a son of Herod the Great, and reigned for more than forty years; he was eventually deposed by the Roman authorities and banished to Gaul.  Galilee at this period was the most flourishing and densely populated portion of the land of promise.  Roughly speaking, it occupied all the centre of Palestine, the rich plain of Esdraelon (Jezreel) and the surrounding districts.  [18]

Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great by Malthace, a Samaritan, and appointed by him in his last will "Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea."  He married (1) a daughter of Aretas, King of Arabia Petrea; then (2) his niece, Herodias, the wife of his half-brother, Herod Philip.  His marriage with Herodias was the occasion of his war with, and defeat at the hands of Aretas.  Instigated by Herodias, he went to Rome to gain the title of king, but fell under the suspicion of the Emperor Caligula, and was banished to Lyons and died in exile.  [6]

                        being tetrarch.  Means the ruler of a fourth part of a kingdom, but was used to denote any tributary prince to whom the title "king" had not been given.  Herod was called "king" by courtesy (Mark 6:14).  [6]

                        of Galilee.  This province is about 25 miles from North to South, and 27 from East to West.  Lower Galilee included the district from the plain of Akka to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was mainly composed of the rich plain of Esdraelon (or Jezreel).  Upper Galilee included the mountain range between the Upper Jordan and Phoenicia.  Galilee was thus the main scene of our Lord’s ministry.  It was surprisingly rich and fertile (Josephus, B.J., i. 15.5, iii. 10.7, 8).  Herod’s dominions included the larger though less populous district of Peraea; but the flourishing towns of Decapolis (Gerasa, Gadara, Damascus, Hippos, Pella, etc.) were independent.  [56]             

                        and his brother Philip.  Herod Philip, the best of the sons of Herod the Great, received as his government "Batanea, Trachonitis, Gaulonitis, and some parts about Jamnia" (Josephus), with the title of Tetrarch.  His rule was just and moderate.  He attended to the duties of his province, and kept himself free from the intrigues of the Herodian family.  He built a new city on the site of Paneas, and called it Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13), and rebuilt Bethsaida, calling it Julias.  He married Salome, daughter of his brother Herod Philip and Herodias.  He died childless, and his dominions were added to the Roman province of Syria.  When our Lord crossed the Sea of Galilee, he left the lands of Herod Antipas and entered those of Herod Philip.  [6]

                        tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis.  So Luke designated the territory ruled over by Philip.  The former was a mountainous region to the south of Mount Hermon, inhabited by a hardy race, skilled in the use of the bow; the latter (the rough country) = the modern El-Lejah, the kingdom of Og in ancient Damascus, and east of Golan.  It is probable that only a fragment of Ituraea belonged to Philip, the region around Paneas.  On the other hand, according to Josephus, his territories embraced more than the regions named by Luke:  Batanaea, Auranitis, Gaulonitis, and some parts about Jamnia (various places in Ant. and B.J.).  [12]

                        Iturea.  A tract about thirty miles long and twenty-five broad, lying between the Damascus region on the north, Batanea on the south, the Hermon range of mountains on the west and the rough Trachonitis on the east.  Jetur (1 Chronicles 1:31; 5:9) was the name of one of the sons of Ishmael and thence of his Ishmaelitish tribe who settled this locality.  Though this tract in the course of centuries was conquered by different occupants, much of the old stock remained.  Aristobulus, king of Judea, about B.C. 100, subdued and compelled them to accept the Jewish faith.  Herod the Great, in dividing his kingdom, left Iturea as part of a tetrarchy to his son Philip.  [14]  

                        Ituraea was at the foot of Mount Hermon, and was named from Jetur, son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:15, 16).  The Ituraeans were marauders, famous for the use of the bow, and protected by their mountain fastnesses (Strabo, xvi. 2; Lucan, Phars., vii. 230). [56]

                        the region of Trachonitis.  It lay south of Iturea, and like it had been conquered by Augustus and given to Herod the Great.  [6]

                        Trachonitis, also a country of robbers (Josephus, Antiquities, xvi. 9.1, 2), is the Greek rendering of the Aramaic Argob (a region about 22 miles from North to South by 14 from West to East), and means “a rough or stony tract.”  It is the ancient kingdom of Og—“an ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders, tossed about in the wildest confusion, and intermingled with fissures and crevices in every direction.”  [56]

                        Lysanias the tetrach of Abilene.  Abilene history mentions no Lysanias as ruler, but one who was slain by Mark Antony about sixty years before the point of time here designated by Luke.  Hence Strauss, assuming that Luke has this Lysanias in mind, makes a charge to convict him of chronological mistake.  But

                        1.  There is not a word in any history of this point of time to contradict Luke's statement that a later Lysanias (probably grandson of the historical Lysanias) was tetrarch of Abilene; for history leaves the matter perfectly blank; there being no history of that period extant.

                        2.  Josephus, describing the transfer of Abilene to Agrippa, styles it the "Abilene of Lysanias," which could hardly refer to a Lysanias no later than the Lysanias of seventy years before.

                        3.  Traces of Luke's Lysanias are found outside of [written] history.  A coin has been found, belonging to a period later than Herod's death, bearing the inscription "Lysanias, tetrarch and high priest."  A Doric temple in Abila bears the inscription, "Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene."  This must have been Luke's Lysanias, for the first Lysanias was not tetrarch, that title having been first adopted after Herod's death.

                        And we may here note an admonitory warning against drawing arguments against the truth of Scripture history from the non-existence of confirmatory secular history.  No Abilenean history was extant, and so, forsooth, no second Lysanias could have existed.  Such was the sceptical argument until an accidental medal authenticated the man named.  [14]     

                        Approaching the historicity with a slightly different angle of approach [56]:  There was a Lysanias king of Chalcis under Mount Lebanon, and therefore in all probability tetrarch of Abilene, in the days of Antony and Cleopatra, 60 years before this period (Josephus, B.J., i. 13.1); and there was another Lysanias, probably a grandson of the former, in the reigns of Caligula and Claudius, 20 years after this period (Josephus, Antiquities, xv. 4.1).  No intermediate Lysanias is recorded in history, but there is not a shadow of proof that the Lysanias here mentioned may not be the second of these two, or more probably some Lysanias who came between them, perhaps the son of the first and the father of the second.

                        Even M. Renan admits that after reading at Baalbek the inscription of Zenodorus he infers the correctness of the Evangelist.  It is indeed, on the lowest grounds, inconceivable that so careful a writer as Luke should have deliberately gone out of his way to introduce so apparently superfluous an allusion at the risk of falling into a needless error.  Lysanias is perhaps mentioned because he had Jewish connections (Josephus,Antiquities, xiv. 7.4).  [56]

                        Abilene.  A district called after its capital town, Abila, about eighteen miles from Damascus.  [6]

                        To what end this reference to a non-Jewish prince, and this outlying territory between the Lebanon ranges?  What concern has it with the evangelic history, or of what use is it for indicating the place of the latter in the world's history?  By way of answer to this question, Farrar (C. G. T.) suggests that the district of Abilene (Abila the capital) is probably mentioned here "because it subsequently formed part of the Jewish territory, having been assigned by Caligula to his favourite, Herod Agrippa I., in A.D. 36."  [12]



3:2                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    during the High-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, a message from God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the Desert.

WEB:              in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.

Young’s:         Annas and Caiaphas being chief priests -- there came a word of God unto John the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness,
Conte (RC):   under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas: the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.


3:2                   Annas.  According to Mosaic law, there could only be one high priest, and he held office for life; but Herod had degraded the high priesthood, and Roman governors made and unmade high priests at their pleasure.  Annas had been deprived in 14 A.D., and his son-in-law, Joseph Caiaphas, was the fourth high priest since his deposition.  According to strict Jewish law, Annas, who had been deposed by the governor Valerius Gratus, was still high priest, and he was at the head of that party of Sadducees who contrived to keep in favor with the Roman governor and practically rule the nation.  He was the real political chief of the Jews and the determined opponent of the Pharisees.  Hence in the Talmud he is loaded with [derogatory] names.  He lived to see five sons and a son-in-law high priests, and for nearly fifty years enjoyed the real power of the high priesthood.  [6]

                        As Annas had been unjustly deposed by a heathen ruler, it may be that in the opinion of the stricter Jews, he was still termed the high priest, and a degree of power put into his hands that made him of equal consequence with Caiaphas.  It was before him that Jesus was first conveyed on the night of His trial, and (Acts xxiii. 5) he is called "the ruler of the people."  [4] 

                        and Caiaphas.  Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas (Luke 3:2; John 18:13) and high priest from A.D. 18-36, was a Sadducee (Acts 5:17), a hard and crafty man.  The fact that he remained so long in office shows that the Romans found in him a subservient tool.  John 18:14 refers to his prejudice against Jesus which made him unfit as a judge.  [22]

                        being the high priests.  Annas is called high priest (Acts 4:6; John 18:19; compare verse 13); while in John 11, 49, 51, we are told that Caiaphas was high priest the same year.  Annas, a rich Sadducee, had been high priest [but] deposed several years before our date; yet that being a man of great wealth, ability, and influence, he continued to enjoy much esteem from the people, and had five sons, besides Caiaphas, his son-in-law, successively in the office during his lifetime.  It became, apparently, not uncommon for two or more simultaneously to be entitled high priest.  The consideration naturally given to such a man by his own sons in the office, would especially conduce to his being called high priest, and sharing in the deliberations of the acting high priest for the time.  Compare our practice of still calling an ex-governor or judge by his former title.  [52]

                        Or:   One can only suppose that among the caste of high priests past and present (there had been three between Annas and Caiaphas) Annas was so outstanding that it came natural to name him first.  Annas had been deposed arbitrarily by the Roman governor, and this may have increased his influence among his own people.  His period of office was A.D. 7-14, that of Caiaphas A.D. 17-35.  [12]

                        the word of God.  The old prophetic call.  [6]

                        Of the manner of this revelation we can know nothing and may only conjecture.  [52]

                        came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.  We know as little of the thirty years of John's life as of the like period of the life of Jesus.  He had buried himself in the rocky solitudes of the wild regions which lay near his birth-place, skirting the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea.  "Through the loopholes of retreat we can well imagine the Baptist busily scanning the state of that community upon which he was to act.  When he stepped forth from his retirement, and men of all kinds and classes gathered round him, he did not need any one to tell him who the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, or the publicans were, or what were their peculiar and distinctive faults" (Hanna).  [6]



3:3                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    John went into all the district about the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of the penitent for the forgiveness of sins;

WEB:              He came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins. 

Young’s:         and he came to all the region round the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of reformation -- to remission of sins,
Conte (RC):   And he went into the entire region of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,


3:3                   And he came into all the country.  The desert in which he spent his youth is distinguished more sharply from the places of the Jordan, the southern part of which was of the nature of a steppe, and in which, according to Mark 1:14, He began by preaching the baptism of repentance.  [31]

                        Luke along mentions the mission journeys of John the Baptist; the other Evangelists, whose narratives (Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; John 1:15, 28) should be carefully compared with that of St. Luke, describe how the multitudes “came streaming forth” to him.  [56]

                        about Jordan.  His work was mainly confined to the Arabah or Jordan Valley from Bethabara at the Bethshean ford in the north to the Jericho ford in the south.  "The Jordan now seemed to have met with its fit purpose.  It was the one river of Palestine, sacred in its recollections, abundant in its waters; and yet at the same time a river not of cities but of the wilderness, the scene of the preaching of those who dwelt not in king's palaces nor wore soft clothing.  On the banks of the rushing stream the multitudes gathered:  the priests and scribes from Jerusalem down the pass of Adummim; the publicans from Jericho in the south, and from the Lake of Gennesareth in the north; the soldiers on their way from Damascus to Petra, through the Ghor, in the war with the Arab chief Hareth (Aretas); the peasants from Galilee, with one from Nazareth, through the opening of the plain of Esdraelon.  The tall reeds or canes in the jungle waved, shaken by the wind; the pebbles of the bare clay hills lay around, to which the Baptist pointed as capable of being transformed into the children of Abraham; at their feet rushed the refreshing stream of the never-failing river" (Stanley).  [6]

                        He seems to have principally preached and taught in the Jordan valley—no doubt for the convenience of his candidates for baptism.  But he evidently did not confine his preaching to one spot or even to one neighborhood.  The district here alluded to was about a hundred and fifty miles in length.  [18]

                         preaching.  Publicly proclaiming what was to be communicated, as news to the hearer.  [52]

                        the baptism of repentance.  John's   baptism (to use Dr. Morrison's vivid expressions, Commentary on Matt. iii. 6) was just the embodiment, in significant optical symbolism of the significant audible symbolism of the Old Testament prophets, when they cried aloud and said,  "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes" (Isa. 1:16);  "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness"  (Zech. 13:1); "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean:  from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you" (Ezek. 36:25-26).  [18]

                        The baptism of John was “a baptism of repentance,” not yet “a laver of regeneration” (Titus 3:5).  It was intended first as a symbol of purification—“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean,” Ezekiel 36:25 (compare Isaiah 1:16; Zechariah 13:1); and then as an initiation into the kingdom which was at hand.  [56]

                        for the remission of sins.  I.e., in order to, with a view to obtaining “remission” or “release from,” forgiveness.”  [52]


                        Question:  Is repentance an unneeded lesson for a well established congregation [54]?  From the 1650s:  John’s note [message] was still repentance.  Christ comes not where this herald hath not been before him.  Yet now it is come to that pass, that many men scorn to hear a sermon of repentance.  It is a sign, say some, that the minister hath been idle that week, or that his stock is spent when he comes to preach of such a common theme as repentance.  If God be not merciful, we shall quickly dispute away all our repentance, as a famous preacher justly complaineth.



3:4                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    as it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying aloud! 'In the Desert prepare ye a road for the Lord: make His highway straight.

WEB:              As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.  

Young’s:         as it hath been written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'A voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, straight make ye His paths;
Conte (RC):   just as it has been written in the book of the sermons of the prophet Isaiah: "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.


3:4                   As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet.  Pointing the reader to the specific Old Testament book where the promise is recorded.  Even though the text did not come with chapter and verse divisions, the mention of the book and the providing of the text would make it easy enough for any interested party to locate.  [rw]

                        saying.  This quotation is nearly according to the Septuagint, though it does not exactly accord to it.  Instead of the words, "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together:  (Isaiah 40:5), the clause of the Septuagint is here added, "all flesh shall see the salvation of God."  [20]

                        The voice of one crying in the wilderness.  Here is a figure drawn from the custom of Oriental monarchs, before whom, in their stately procession, the most extravagant pains are taken to clear their path of all impediments and difficulties.  The herald, supposed thus to be going before Jehovah to see that the march was made easy for him and his people, is seen in the gospel to have been a type of John the Baptist preceding the Lord’s advent as Messiah and preparing for him access to the confidence and love of men.  John’s appearance is the only actual realization of that grand and beautiful description of a herald, as the advent of Jesus alone fulfills the promise of deliverance to distressed and despairing men.  [52]

                        In modern idiom the expression “voice of one crying in the wilderness” has become a synonym for a valiant try, but an effort that ultimately failed.  In one sense the Baptist’s mission was a failure:  it appears that only a modest percentage of those who responded energetically to his message embraced the cause of Jesus as well.  (In all fairness, this might be because of our limited resources on this specific a topic.)  On the other hand, the Baptist would surely have regarded his work as, essentially, a success:  His job was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah and he had done it.  What they would answer for was whether they took advantage of the opportunity that had been given.  [rw]

                        Prepare ye the way of the Lord.  “Lord” is obviously regal terminology.  In the socio-religious context of a people anticipating the Messiah to be a ruler, the work of John could hardly be interpreted by listeners as anything but a preparation for that Messiah’s appearance.  The fact that the “road building” was under way constituted a warning that the Messiah’s appearance had to be close to hand.  You didn’t go to the trouble of building roads when the monarch wasn’t planning on coming until a decade or more in the future.  [rw]

                        make his paths straight.  Assuring as easy a journey as possible was not only a prerogative any ruler would expect because of his position, it was also a means of showing respect and honor to his importance.  One way you did not endear yourself to any ruler was by doing things that implied discourtesy or disrespect.  You made his journey easier and never harder than it inherently had to be.  [rw]     



3:5                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Every ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill levelled down, the crooked places shall be turned into straight roads, and the rugged ways into smooth;

WEB:              Every valley will be filled. Every mountain and hill will be brought low. The crooked will become straight, and the rough ways smooth. 

Young’s:         every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straightness, and the rough become smooth ways;
Conte (RC):   Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low. And what is crooked shall be made straight. And the rough paths shall be made into level ways.


3:5                   Introductory overview of the intent of the language.  The expressions of the prophet were metaphorical hyperboles, literally applicable only partially even to the preparations made for the most powerful civil or military potentate.  They are a poetical expansion and variation of the thought, that John, by promoting sincere repentance, has to make ready the way for Jesus to the hearts of the people whom He comes to save.  [52]

                        Godet and other commentators suggest, though they do not press, a particular application to each of the details of the picture [and some applications are quite reasonable].  "For instance, the mountains that must be levelled may be referred to the pride of the Pharisees; the valleys to be filled up, to the moral and religious indifference of such as the Sadducees; the crooked places to be made straight, to the frauds and lying excuses of the publicans; and lastly, the rough places, to the sinful habits found in all, even the best."  [18]

                        In our judgment the challenge was far, far more broad-based and fundamental—it was to every single person to set their lives right so that the path the Messiah would travel in encouraging further positive and upright behavior would be made easier and with minimal difficulty.  [rw]

                        Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low.  As a moral illustration describing what is to happen to the lowly and the proud:  i.e., the humble and meek shall be exalted and the mighty put down.  Compare Isaiah 2:12-15, “The day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. . . .  And upon all the high mountains, etc.”  Zechariah 4:7, “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerrubbabel thou shalt become a plain.”  [56]

Historical illustration:  The metaphor is derived from pioneers who go before the march of a king.  There is a remarkable parallel in Josephus (B.J. iii. 6.2), where he is describing the march of Vespasian, and says that among his vanguard were “such as were to make the road even and straight, and if it were anywhere rough and hard to be passed over, to plane it, and to cut down the woods that hindered their march, that the army might not be tired.”  The Jews fabled that the Pillar of Cloud and Fire in the desert smoothed the mountains and filled the valleys before them.  Tanchuma, f. 70, 3 on Numbers 20:22.  [56]   

and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.  The general meaning of the prophecy is that no obstacles, whether they arose from depression, or power, or pride, or cunning perversity, or menacing difficulties should be able to resist the labours of the Pioneers and Herald of the Kingdom of God.  The feeble instrumentality of Galilaeans should be strengthened; the power of the Romans and Herods should be shattered; the duplicity and plots of Pharisees and wordlings should be defeated; the apparently insuperable opposition of Judaism and Heathenism be swept away.  [56]   



3:6                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    and then shall all mankind see God's salvation.'"

WEB:              All flesh will see God's salvation.'"

Young’s:         and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'
Conte (RC):   And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."


3:6                   And all flesh.  Without exception; the teaching and principle is applicable to anyone and everyone.  And knowledge of it will be available.  [rw]

                        shall see the salvation of God.  When the mountains of earthly tyranny and spiritual pride are leveled, the view of God’s saving power becomes clear to all flesh.  [56]



3:7                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Accordingly John used to say to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, "O vipers' brood, who has warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

WEB:              He said therefore to the multitudes who went out to be baptized by him, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Young’s:         Then said he to the multitudes coming forth to be baptised by him, 'Brood of vipers! who did prompt you to flee from the coming wrath?
Conte (RC):   Therefore, he said to the crowd that went out in order to be baptized by him: "You progeny of vipers! Who told you to flee from the approaching wrath?


3:7                   Then said he to the multitude.  Implying vast numbers were so impressed by what they had heard about him and his teaching that they took time to travel to hear him.  Since the bulk of the population was poor, this meant that the effort cost them loss out of their modest income.  The very act of going was, therefore, an indication of spiritual zeal and interest and self-sacrifice.  [rw]

                        that came forth to be baptized of him.  It was as if a fashion had soon set in to go and be baptized by the hermit preacher.  [52]

                        However much there was a spiritual revolution going on for many, it was certainly not the case for some who came out to hear John.  There are always some folk who want to “blend in” and make themselves acceptable to others by acting in the same manner—whether they want to or not.  And whether they really mean anything more than superficial conformity by their behavior.  [rw]

                        O generation of vipers.  It described the venomous hypocrisy which turned religion itself into a vice, and hid a deadly malice under the glittering semblance of a zeal for orthodoxy.  The metaphor was one of those desert symbols which would be suggested to John both by the scene of his preaching and by the language of Isaiah with which he shows special familiarity.  [56]

Matthew tells us [this] was addressed to the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7) and was applied by Jesus to the same classes at the close of His ministry (Matthew 23:33).  "It described the venomous hypocrisy which turned religion itself into a vice, and hid a deadly malice under the glittering semblance of a zeal for orthodoxy" (Farrar).  [6]

                        No apology must be made (as by Van Oosterzee) for the denunciatory preaching of John; no more than for the thunder and smoke of Sinai, or the fire and brimstone of Gehenna.  Neither commentator nor preacher should effeminately shrink at the "mention of hell to ears polite."  Doubtless John applied precisely the right epithet and threatened precisely the true destiny, to these future [rejectors] of the Messiah he came to announce.  [14]

                        who hath warned you.  The context implies that they came for baptism without repentance, hoping to receive it not because of change of heart and life, but as a privilege due to their birth as children of Abraham.  John asserted what the old prophets taught (Isaiah 48:2; Jeremiah 7:3-4; Micah 3:11), what Jesus afterwards said (Matthew 8:11-12), what Peter (1 Peter 2:10) and Paul spent their lives in teaching (Romans 9:6-7; Galatians 3:29; 6:15).   [6]

                        to flee from.  When grave and threatening danger approaches, only the fool stands there convinced the danger is only imaginary.  The wise person gets out of the way—which was what the opportunity to repent, on a moral and spiritual level, was giving these people.  [rw]

                        the wrath to come.  The people expected a Messianic triumph, with judgment on their oppressors; John warned of coming judgment and consequent outpouring of wrath for the Jews themselves.  [26]

                        The Jews had been taught by Prophecy that the Advent of their Deliverer should be preceded by a time of anguish which they called “the Woes of the Messiah;” compare Malachi 3:2, “Who may abide the day of His coming?  And who shall stand when He appeareth?  For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.’  Id. 4:1, “Behold I send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”  Such prophecies received their primary fulfillment at the Destruction of Jerusalem (see Matthew 24:28; Mark 13:19, 20); and await their final fulfillment hereafter.  Revelation 6:16.  [56]  



3:8                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Live lives which shall prove your change of heart; and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our forefather,' for I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones.

WEB:              Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and don't begin to say among yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father;' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones!

Young’s:         make, therefore, fruits worthy of the reformation, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have a father -- Abraham; for I say to you, that God is able out of these stones to raise children to Abraham;
Conte (RC):   So then, produce fruits worthy of repentance. And do not begin to say, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that God has the power to raise up sons to Abraham from these stones.


3:8                   Bring forth therefore.  Since the mere [baptismal] sign of repentance cannot help you without its transforming operation in your lives.  [52]

fruits worthy of repentance.  Humility, patience, faith, love, equity, mercy.  Profession without fruit only sears the conscience (2 Corinthians 4:2).  "Herein is My Father glorified that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8).  [7]

                        and begin not to say within yourselves.  Equivalent to:  Do not start with saying; otherwise real repentance will be precluded as unnecessary.  [52]

We have Abraham to our father.  These words show that John had the splendid courage to strike boldly at the very root of Jewish pride.  Gradually Jewish belief in the especial favor of God, which they were to enjoy through all eternity, had grown up till it resulted in such extravagant expressions as these:  "Abraham would sit at the gates of hell, and would not permit any circumcised Israelite of decent moral character to enter it;" "A single Israelite is worth more in God's sight than all the nations of the world;" "The world was made for their (Israel's) sake."  This incredible arrogance grew as their earthly fortunes became darker and darker.  Only an eternity of bliss, of which they alone were to be partakers, could make up for the woes they were made to suffer here, while an eternity of anguish for the Gentile world outside Israel was a necessary vengeance for the indignities this Gentile world had inflicted upon the chosen people.  Lone ago the great Hebrew prophets had warned the deluded race that their election would profit them nothing if they failed in their duties to their God and their neighbor.  [18] 

                        for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones.  Pointing to the boulders in the clay slopes or to the water-worn stones in the Jordan course.  [6]

                        Sooner than recognize you, in your hardness of heart and impenitence, as heirs of His promise to Abraham, God will prepare for that blessing other hearts which you would think as little capable of sharing it as the stones which lie along these banks.  [52]

                        to raise up children unto Abraham.  “He who could make Adam from the clay could make sons of Abraham from the stones” (Bengel).  [6]

                        John's thought was the same which Paul afterwards expressed to the Galatians in his own language,  "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham;"  "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"  (Gal. iii. 7, 29).  [18]

                        The Prophet had long ago warned them that privileges without duties were no protection (Jeremiah 7:3, 4; Micah 3:11; Isaiah xlviii. 2, etc.).  Christ taught them that Abraham’s seed had no exclusive offer of salvation (Matthew 8:11, 12), and it was a special part of the mission of Paul to bring home to them that “they are not all Israel which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6, 7; Galatians 3:29, 6:15).  [56] 



3:9                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    And even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees, so that every tree which fails to yield good fruit will quickly be hewn down and thrown into the fire."

WEB:              Even now the axe also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire."       

Young’s:         and already also the axe unto the root of the trees is laid, every tree, therefore, not making good fruit is cut down, and to fire it is cast.'
Conte (RC):   For even now the axe has been placed at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not produce good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire."


3:9                   And now also.  If that was not enough to convince you to reform your way of life, then consider this.  [rw]                   

the axe is laid.  Literally, “lies.”  The notion is that of a woodman touching a tree with the edge of his axe to measure his blow before he lifts his arm for the sweep which fells it.  [56] 

He passes from [the] possibility to the certainty of coming wrath.  [7]

                        As the officers carried before the Roman Magistrates, a bundle of rods and a sharp axe, so we see John Baptist, this usher and officer of Christ; he comes before Christ, not only with rods and chastisements, but with an axe of destruction to hew down, and stub up, unfruitful and unprofitable [followers of God]. Mal. iii. 1; iv. 6.—Bp. Brownrig.  [36]

                        unto the root.  Not the useless branches lopped [off]; such warning is ended.  Points to a judgment of extermination in the case of the incorrigible.  [7]

                        of the trees.  I.e., of the barren tree which does not bring forth fruit (verse 8).  John adopts a common symbol in Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; 11:16), an orchard full of barren trees, fit only for cutting down into firewood.  The rulers could not stand such plain speaking   (Luke 7:30; Matthew 21:25; John 1:19).  [6]

                        Or:  Within forty years of that time would the fatal axe, now lying at the root of the tree, be lifted.  In uttering this stern prophetic saying, we believe John was gazing at the storm gathering around Jerusalem, which in A.D. 70 swept away city and temple, and destroyed the existence of Israel as a nation.  When he preached it was about AD 30-32.  [18] 

                        Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit.  None is exempt:  every tree.”  The moral quality of the fruit—the human life that is being examined—must be “good” or all is lost.  One has the full “right” to not care and do anything one wishes.  God also has the right to do what He wishes and make you permanently regret your blind and short-sighted decision.  [rw]

                        is hewn down and cast into the fire.  Destruction is your destiny.  In human relationships undermined and abused.  In friendships twisted to your self-serving purpose and even the harm of the other person.  In those you have abandoned because they are no longer of benefit to you.  These are the self-created fires of destruction that we ego-driven humans bring into the world in a self-centered determination to have “our rights” no matter how many others are destroyed in the process.  God is going to bring those reckless “chickens home to roost”—in the next life at least.  Of course, He doesn’t always bother to wait that long, either—in the hope that by reaping what we sow we will reform and keep Him having to deal out even greater retribution later.  The choice is left up to us.  God is never going to make us do right.  On the other hand, He will never permit us to permanently escape the consequences of doing wrong either.  [rw] 



3:10                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    The crowds repeatedly asked him, "What then are we to do?"

WEB:              The multitudes asked him, "What then must we do?"    

Young’s:         And the multitudes were questioning him, saying, 'What, then, shall we do?'
Conte (RC):   And the crowed was questioning him, saying, "What then should we do?"


3:10                 And the people asked him, saying.  A wording that suggests the question was not merely one from specific individuals but one that was common, repeated.  “Repentance” is a quite understandable word as to its meaning (a change of mind resulting in a change of behavior), but it does not provide the detail of what do I change in particular?  What frames of mind?  What types of behavior?  [rw]

                        What shall we do then?  To show the sincerity of our repentance.  [16]

                        Dean Plumptre's note here is interesting and suggestive:  "The questions that follow are peculiar to St. Luke.  They are interesting as showing that the work of the Baptist was not that of a mere preacher of repentance.  Confession of sins followed naturally on the part of the penitents; that was followed, as naturally, by guidance for the conscience.  St. Luke, as a physician of the soul, may well have delighted to place on record this example of true spiritual therapeutics."  The same train of thought is followed out by Godet in his remark on the question contained in this verse:  "It is the confessional after preaching."   [18]

                        Compare the question of the multitude to Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37) and that of the Philippian jailor (16:30).  [56]



3:11                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Let the man who has two coats," he answered, "give one to the man who has none; and let the man who has food share it with others."

WEB:              He answered them, "He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise."   

Young’s:         and he answering saith to them, 'He having two coats -- let him impart to him having none, and he having victuals -- in like manner let him do.'
Conte (RC):   But in response, he said to them: "Whoever has two coats, let him give to those who do not have. And whoever has food, let him act similarly."


3:11                 He answereth and saith unto them, he that hath two coats, let him impart [give, NKJV] to him that hath none.  In other words, aid the poor according to your ability; be benevolent and you will thus show that your repentance is genuine.  For (1) the nature of religion is to do good.  (2)  This requires self-denial and none will deny themselves who are not attached to God.  And (3) this is to imitate Jesus Christ who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor.  [11]

                        Luke alone preserves for us the details in this interesting section.  Beyond the single upper garment (chiton, cetoneth), and garment (himation) and girdle, no other article of dress was necessary.  A second “tunic” or cetoneth was a mere luxury, so long as thousands were too poor to own even one.  [56]

                        to him that hath none.  Not giving away to simply give it away, but giving it away because someone else stands in desperate need of your assistance.  [rw]

                        Paul gave similar advice (2 Corinthians 8:13-15), and James (2:15-17), and John (1 John 3:17), because they had learnt this spirit from Christ.  [56]

                        and he that hath meat [food, NKJV], let him do likewise.  [Not “meat;] rather, “food.”  The word has now acquired the specific sense of “flesh,” wish it never has in our E.V.  For instance the “meat-offering” was generally an offering of flour and oil.  [56]


                        In depth:  Overview of the characteristics of the Baptist’s preaching [56].   We may notice the following particulars respecting the preaching of the Baptist:

                        (1)  It was stern, as was natural to an ascetic whose very aspect and mission were modeled on the example of Elijah.  The particulars of his life, and dress, and food—the leathern girdle, the mantle of camel’s hair, the living on locusts and wild honey—are preserved for us by the other Evangelists, and they gave him that power of mastery over others which always springs from perfect self-control, and absolute self-abnegation.  Hence “in his manifestation and agency he was like a burning torch; his whole life was a very earthquake; the whole man was a sermon.”

                        (2)  It was absolutely dauntless.  The unlettered Prophet of the Desert has not a particle of respect for the powerful Sadducees and long-robed luxurious Rabbis, and disdains to be flattered by their coming to listen to His teaching.  Having nothing to hope from man’s favour, he has nothing to fear from man’s dislike.

                        (3)  It shows remarkable insight into human nature, and into the needs and temptations of every class which came to him,--showing that his ascetic seclusion did not arise from any contempt of, or aversion to, his fellowmen.

                        (4)  It was intensely practical.  Not only does it exclude all abstract and theological terms such as “justification,” etc., but it says nothing directly of even faith, or love.  In this respect it recalls the Old Testament and might be summed up in the words of Balaam preserved in the prophet Micah, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”  Micah 6:8.

                        (5)  Yet though it still belongs to the dispensation of the shadow it prophesies of the dawn.  His first message was “Repent;” his second was “The kingdom of heaven is at hand:  and this message culminated in the words “Behold the Lamb of God,” which showed that the Olam habba or “future age” had already begun.  These two great utterances “contain the two capital revelations to which all the preparation of the Gospel has been tending.”  “Law and Prophecy; denunciation of sin and promise of pardon; the flame which consumes and the light which consoles—is not this the whole of the covenant?”  Lange.

                        (6)  It does not claim the credentials of a single miracle.  The glory and greatness of John the Baptist, combined with the fact that not a single wonder is attributed to him, is the strongest argument for the truth of the Gospels against the “mythical theory” of Strauss, who reduces the Gospel miracles to a circle of imaginative legends devised to glorify the Founder of Christianity.  At the same time this acknowledged absence of miraculous powers enhances our conception of the enormous moral force which sufficed, without a sign, to stir to its very depths the heart of a sign-demanding age.

                        (7)  It had only a partial and temporary popularity.  Rejected by the Pharisees who said that “he had a devil,” the Baptist failed to produce a permanent influence on more than a chosen few (John 5:35; Luke 7:30; Matthew 11:18, 21:23-27; Acts 18:25, 19:3, 4).  After his imprisonment he seems to have fallen into neglect, and he himself felt from the first that his main [purpose] was to prepare the way for another, and to decrease before him.  He was “the lamp kindled and shining” (John 5:35) which becomes needless and ceases to be noticed when the sun has dawned.             



3:12                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    There came also a party of tax-gatherers to be baptized, and they asked him, "Rabbi, what are we to do?"

WEB:              Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what must we do?"

Young’s:         And there came also tax-gatherers

to be baptised, and they said unto him, 'Teacher,

what shall we do?'
Conte (RC):   Now the tax collectors also came

to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher,

what should we do?" 


3:12                 Then came also.  Some of these folk you would have expected to come but among those least likely to come—to have their “thick hides” pierced by the message of moral reform—were tax collectors, who prospered the best when they were dishonest the most.  [rw]

publicans to be baptized.  Yet even these men are not bidden by this inspired prophet of the Highest to change their way of life [= career], but only its manner.  "Would you," he says to these men who belonged to the hated calling, "indeed wash and be clean in the eyes of the All-Seeing?  Then in that profession of yours, remember, be scrupulous, be honest."  [18]                                                      

                        and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  The description of him as “Master” shows that they regarded him as authoritative to give reliable moral counsel.  The fact that they felt the need to ask either betrays their own recognition of their more unscrupulous actions or thorough awareness of how despised they were among the bulk of the population.  Hence the logical concern:  “What part of what they say should I take seriously?,” probably with the unstated worry that the answer would be, “a lot of it!”  [rw]



3:13                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Do not exact more than the legal amount," he replied.

WEB:              He said to them, "Collect no more than that which is appointed to you."

Young’s:         and he said unto them, 'Exact no more than that directed you.'
Conte (RC):   But he said to them, "You should do nothing more than what has been appointed to you."


3:13                 And he said unto them, exact.  Demand, or take, no more.  [11]

                        This was their habitual sin, and later historians often allude to the immodestia (i.e. the extravagant greed) of the publicans and their cruel exactions (Caes. Bell. Civ. III. 32).  The cheating and meddling for which Zacchaeus promised fourfold restoration (19:8) were universal among them.  [56]

                        no more than that which is appointed you.  That is, by the government.  John does not condemn the office or say that the employment should be forsaken.  Though it was hated by the people--though often abused and therefore unpopular--yet the office itself was not dishonorable.  If there is a government, it must be supported; and of course there must be men whose duty it is to collect taxes, as the means of the proper support of the government.  And as such a support of the government is necessary, so the people should pay and regard favorably those who are authorized to collect it.  See Romans 13:1-6.  [11]



3:14                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    The soldiers also once and again inquired of him, "And we, what are we to do?" His answer was, "Neither intimidate any one nor lay false charges; and be content with your pay."

WEB:              Soldiers also asked him, saying, "What about us? What must we do?" He said to them, "Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages."         

Young’s:         And questioning him also were those warring, saying, 'And we, what shall we do?' and he said unto them, 'Do violence to no one, nor accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.'
Conte (RC):   Then the soldiers also questioned him, saying, "And what should we do?" And he said to them: "You should strike no one, and you should not make false accusations. And be content with your pay."


3:14                 And the soldiers.  It is not improbable that, as Judea was a Roman province, they were Jews or Jewish proselytes in the service of Herod Antipas, or Philip, and so were really in the Roman service.  [11]

                        Commentators generally discuss here who these soldiers were.  The question is of little moment whether they were legionaries of Rome, or mercenaries in the pay of one of the tetrarchs or neighbouring princes.  The lesson is clear.  As above to the publicans, so here to the soldiers, John says, "Remain in that profession of arms; you may, if you will, serve God in it, for it is never the work which ennobles, but the way in which the work is done."  [18]     

                        Or:  Josephus informs us, that Herod was at this time engaged in a war with his father-in-law, Aretas, a petty king of Arabia Petraea, whose daughter he had repudiated.  His army must have marched by the spot where John was baptizing.  Such coincidences are never found except in true histories.  John looks not to the object of the war, nor the character of the kings, but promulgates the great principles of morality to all alike.  Afterwards he upbraided this same Herod for the crime which had made this war necessary.  Let ministers of the Gospel learn to avoid politics and fanaticism, and to confine themselves to the objects of their vocation.  It will be a gain to them of real influence; a gain to others of peace.  [4]

                        likewise demanded of him, saying.  The imperfect tense (as before in verse 10) implies that such questions were put to him by bodies of soldiers in succession.  [56]    

And what shall we do?  Since he had given counsel to others, they (rightly) assumed that he would have such for them as well.  [rw]

                        And he said unto them, do violence.  Only here in New Testament.  Lit., to shake violently; hence to agitate or terrify; and so to extort money from one by terrifying him.  [2]

                        to no man.  John does not forbid the forcible execution of military duties as ordered by the government, but that illegal violence which transforms the soldier into a private ruffian.  [14]

                        neither accuse any falsely.  Rather, “cheat by false accusation.”  The Greek implies pettifogging charges on trivial grounds, and is the word from which sycophant is derived.  The temptation of soldiers, strong in their solidarity, was to terrify the poor by violence, and undermine the rich by acting as informers.  The best comment on the Baptist’s advice to them is the Sixteenth Satire of Juvenal, which is aimed at their brutality and threats.  [56]   

                        and be content with your wages.  Without adding pillage thereto.  And this very injunction implies their continuance in the military service for which the "wages" were received.  [14]


                        In depth:  How John’s various admonitions show that his own type of “withdrawal from the world” was fine for some, but that the general rule should be honorably conducting oneself within the varied pursuits of this life [56].  It is remarkable that the Baptist does not bid even soldiers to abandon their profession, but to serve God in it.  This is important as showing that he did not hold up the life of the hermit or the ascetic as a model or ideal for all.  He evidently held, like the good St. Hugo of Avalon, that “God meant us to be good men, not monks and hermits.”  Josephus, when (Antiquities, xviii 5.2) he sums up the teaching of the Baptist by saying that “he commanded the Jews to practice virtue both in righteousness to one another and piety to God,” rightly estimates the practical, but omits the prophetic side of his teaching. 



3:15                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And while the people were in suspense and all were debating in their minds whether John might possibly be the Anointed One,

WEB:              As the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he was the Christ,  

Young’s:         And the people are looking forward, and all are reasoning in their hearts concerning John, whether or not he may be the Christ;
Conte (RC):   Now all were thinking about John in their hearts, and the people were supposing that perhaps he might be the Christ.


3:15                 And as the people were in expectation, and all men.  General terms, but confined to Palestine.  [7]

                        in expectation.  Expecting the Messiah.  [11]

                        mused in their hearts of John.  Thought of his character, his preaching, and success, and anxiously inquired whether he did not do the things which were expected of the Messiah.  [11]     

                        whether he were the Christ, or not.  They were fully confident that the time of the Messiah was near but exactly what that Messiah would be like, they were uncertain.  John seemed a tenable and reasonable choice, but there was nothing that pointed to him as the unquestionable one.  [rw]



3:16                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    he answered the question by saying to them all, "As for me, I am baptizing you with water, but One mightier than I is coming, whose very sandal-strap I am not worthy to unfasten: He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and with fire.

WEB:              John answered them all, "I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire,  

Young’s:         John answered, saying to all, 'I indeed with water do baptise you, but he cometh who is mightier than I, of whom I am not worthy to loose the latchet of his sandals -- he shall baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire;
Conte (RC):   John responded by saying to everyone: "Indeed, I baptize you with water. But there will arrive one stronger than me, the laces of whose shoes I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit, and with fire.


3:16                 John answered, saying unto them all.  This was his response to anyone and everyone who enquired on the matter.  He knew his place in the Divine plan and that he was not the One they were seeking for.  [rw]

                        I indeed baptize you with water.  In requiring this as the symbol of moral purification and the pledge of a new life, you might think me to be performing Messianic functions.  [52]

                        but one mightier than I cometh.  A potentate so much more exalted than I that I am not sufficient [worthy] to perform for him the most menial service.  [52]

the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.  The task of a domestic slave with a rich Roman.  [52]

He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.  If the intended imagery is “being buried in,” “submerged in,” “totally immersed” in the Holy Spirit, then that point would be fully fulfilled in those individuals who fully obey the commands God and Jesus have revealed through the Spirit in the Scriptures.  They have been “buried” in them and emerged a new, purified person.  Many prefer an explicit miraculous connotation, though sometimes fudging what they say by grafting in a non-literal  approach such as we have suggested as well:  [rw]

                        Rather, “in the Holy Ghost and fire.”  The preposition en distinguishes between the mere instrumentality of the water, and the spiritual element whereby and wherein the child of the kingdom is baptized.  This baptism by the Spirit had been foretold in Isaiah xliv. 3; Joel 2:28.  Its first obvious fulfillment was at Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 2:3) and subsequent outpourings after baptism (Acts 11:15, 16).  But it is fulfilled without visible supernatural signs to all Christians (1 Corinthians 6:11; “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” 1 Corinthians 12:13). [56]           

                        and with fire.  That two subjects are under consideration (either receiving the Holy Spirit or “fire” would seem to be confirmed by the dual subjects of reward and punishment in the following verse, where the fire imagery is unquestionably utilized in a punitive fashion.  It is not uncommon to try to have the “fire” in this verse carry a positive imagery:  [rw]

                        Not with punitive fire, which interpretation would be quite alien from the context here.  Those expositors who have adopted this meaning of the fire here have been most likely influenced by the mention of the unquenchable fire in the next sentence.  The fire which was to enter into Messiah's baptism was rather the flame of purification.  So we read of the coal of fire taken from off the altar and laid on the mouth of Isaiah the prophet (Isa. vi. 6-7).  "With fire," writes Bishop Wordsworth, "to purify, illumine, transform, inflame with holy fervour and zeal, and carry upward, as Elijah was carried up to heaven in a chariot of fire."  [18]

                        [It] is part of the promise to the same persons, supposed believers.  He will immerse you in the Holy Spirit and fire, in both.  “Fire” may be added as figuratively synonymous with the Holy Spirit, in one of his functions, the removal of all that is carnal and sinful in the soul, as, in another view, he supplies all renewing and sanctifying grace.  [52]

                        Other positive images of “fire” that are evoked:  In its first and most literal sense the allusion is to the fiery tongues of Pentecost (Acts 2:3); but the secondary and metaphoric allusion is to the burning zeal and illuminating light of the Spirit.  Jerome sees a further allusion to fiery trials (12:49; Mark 9:49; 1 Peter 4:12) and to the fire of judgment (1 Corinthians 3:13); but these allusions cannot be regarded as certain.  [56]



3:17                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    His winnowing-shovel is in His hand to clear out His threshing-floor, and to gather the wheat into His storehouse; but the chaff He will burn up in fire unquenchable."

WEB:              whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Young’s:         whose winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his floor, and will gather the wheat to his storehouse, and the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.'
Conte (RC):   His winnowing fan is in his hand. And he will purify his threshing floor. And he will gather the wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."


3:17                 Whose fan is in his hand.  Rather, “winnowing fan.”  The Latin vannus, a great shovel with which corn was thrown up against the wind to separate it from the chaff.  [56]

Note the tenses:  He is quite prepared to act now—whether he does so or not.  The preparations are in order; the decision as to timing is all that remains.  [rw]

                        and he will thoroughly purge his floor.  The ancient covenant people is here spoken of under the figure of a threshing floor.  This is a level plot of ground, about fifty feet across, with a hard, beaten floor or bottom, on which the grain is spread, and the oxen tread it out by being driven all over it.  Genesis 50:10; 2 Samuel 23:16-24.  A kind of threshing machine much used in Palestine [in the mid-nineteenth century], is made of two thick planks, fastened together and bent upwards in front.  Sharp iron teeth are fixed in the bottom, sometimes sharp stones or other rough edges, and this is drawn over the grain by oxen, while a man sits on it to keep it down.  Jehovah promises to make his [people] to be "a new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth or edges" (Isaiah 41:15).  This cuts the straw as well as separates the grain.  There is still another machine seen now in Palestine.  It is a frame of wood, with three wooden rollers in the center, armed with spikes.  It is surmounted by a seat in which the driver sits, which it is drawn by oxen.  A man stands to turn the grain with a fork, to have it thoroughly trodden out, and then throws up the grain to the wind, so as to have the chaff blown away.  Thus, by all means, our Lord would purge his ancient [people].  [8]

                        and will gather the wheat into his garner [barn, NKJV].  Reward and punishments go hand in hand; to give only one and not the other would be to leave the job half finished.  [rw]

                        Compare Matthew 13:30, “gather the wheat into my barn.”  [56]

                        but the chaff.  Indicates the worldly-minded, self-complacent, who having rejected their Messiah, will be rejected by Him  [52]

                        The [literal use of the] word includes straw and stubble.  We find similar metaphors in Psalms 1:4, “the ungodly . . . are like the chaff;” Malachi 4:1, “all that do wickedly shall be stubble;” Jeremiah 15:7, “I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land.”  So far as the allusion is to the separation of good from evil elements in the Church we find similar passages in Matthew 13:30; 1 John 2:19, etc.  But it may refer also to the destruction of the evil elements in a mixed character, as in 22:31, “Simon . . . Satan hath desire to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.”  [56]

he will burn with fire.  It is idle to dispute whether the fire, denounced against the unrelenting, be metaphorical or real.  Suppose it a metaphor; yet those metaphors, which represent things of another world, do not generally exceed [in severity] the originals, or the reality, of the things, designed to be shadowed out by them. Verse 9.—J. Seed.  [36]

                        with fire unquenchable.  We, after the lapse of a long time, postpone the fulfillment of these declarations to a still future day.  It is probable that John and his hearers interpreted his words as about to take effect at the appearing of the Messiah.  [52] 


                        In depth:  The duration of the burning fire and the length of eternal punishment [9].  The words unquenchable fire, are absolutely inconsistent with all the views of the restoration of the wicked, and however the phrase of being consumed like chaff might seem to favor the doctrine of their annihilation, the epithet of unquenchable given to this fire, or more exactly unquenched, i.e., never quenched or put out, is so far from proving this doctrine that it cannot, by any easy and just interpretation, be reconciled with it.  Compare Mark ix. 43, 45, where the same Greek word is paraphrased, that never shall be quenched, and where Jesus repeats the expression with great solemnity, as if to show that the highest possible meaning was to be attributed to His word.  Restorationism teaches that the wicked will be delivered from hell, but this supposes the word unquenchable to be an empty terror devoid of meaning.  For to what amounts it that the fire is unquenchable if the sinner may be snatched from it at any moment?  Destructionism is the doctrine that the sinner ceases, by the penalty, to exist.  But if this doctrine be true, then God still keeps an empty hell eternally burning! 



3:18                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    With many exhortations besides these he declared the Good News to the people.

WEB:              Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people,        

Young’s:         And, therefore, indeed with many other things, exhorting, he was proclaiming good news to the people,
Conte (RC):   Indeed, he also proclaimed many other things, exhorting the people.


3:18                 And many other things.  I.e., different, relating to different subjects, or to different aspects of the same, and expressed in different terms.  The preceding statements are regarded as a selection and sample of the teachings with which he warned the people to [practice] true, practical, heart piety.  [52]

                        in his exhortation preached he unto the people.  We have here an attempt to sum up the core of John’s reformation message, but Luke does not want to leave us under the impression that it was so narrowly centered that these represented the sum total.  Although the record of what Jesus said and did is far longer and more detailed, even that represents a “pruned down” summation to keep the length within a reasonable space.  As John wrote, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25, New American Standard Bible).    


                        In depth:  How long was John’s ministry [52]?  How long the active ministry of John continued before the baptism of Jesus is unknown.  The common supposition is that it was only a few months—about the difference between the age of John and Jesus. But when we consider what he was to do (Luke 1:16-17, 76-79; Matthew 3:4-6), what he had done (Matthew 3:5-6 and parallels), and the impression that he had made upon all Israel, even to their remote settlements (Matthew 11:7ff; 21:25-26; Luke 7:24ff; Acts 13:24-25), it seems quite as likely that his ministry lasted years as months.



3:19                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    But Herod the Tetrarch, being repeatedly rebuked by him about Herodias his brother's wife, and about all the wicked deeds that he had done,

WEB:              but Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things which Herod had done,

Young’s:         and Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him concerning Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, and concerning all the evils that Herod did,
Conte (RC):   But Herod the tetrarch, when he was corrected by him concerning Herodias, his brother's wife, and concerning all the evils that Herod had done,


3:19                 In historical context:  Luke writing to Theophiluis “in order,” having now finished his account of the public work of John with the people, gathers up what he knew concerning his subsequent fortunes prior to his death and tells us at once how his public labors terminated in a prison.  [52]

                        But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias.  The reproof was of course based on Leviticus 18:16, 20:21, and was perfectly uncompromising (Matthew 14:4).  In this respect the dauntless courage of John, under circumstances of far greater peril, contrasts most favorably with the timid and disgraceful concessions of the reformers in the [Reformation era] matter of the marriage of Philip of Hesse.  [56]      

                        his brother Philip's wife.  The two first words are omitted by some of the best uncials, and “Philip’s” by nearly all of them.  [56]

                        and for all the evils which Herod had done.  This one particular evil is stressed because of its importance and because it is what ultimately led to John’s death.  But Luke wants us to be well aware that it was far from the only thing that deserved censure in the tetrarch’s rule.  [rw]

The notices of him in Josephus will show that, worthily of his origin, half Edomite and half Samaritan, he had done enough both in contempt of Hebrew law and customs, and in the promotion of pagan practices, to furnish texts for many rebukes.  [52]           


            In depth:  Herod and how Roman rule came to Palestine [22].  (40 B.C. - 70 A.D.).  This came on gradually and was at first indirect.  Antipater, an Idumean officer of wealth, influence and ability, acquired complete control over the feeble Hyrcanus II.  When the latter and his brother Aristobulus could not agree on the succession they appealed to the Roman general Pompey, who had just completed his victory over Syria and Pontus.  In 63 B.C. Pompey came to Jerusalem and to the horror of the Jews entered the Holy of Holies which he found empty (Tac. Hist. v.).  He decided for Hyrcanus. 

After the death of Pompey, Antipater saw that his advantage lay in supporting Julius Caesar (Pompey's enemy) in his eastern campaign.  In consequence, the latter, out of gratitude, conferred upon Antipater Roman citizenship and confirmed Hyrcanus in the high priesthood.  Soon after this Antipater made his son Herod governor of Galilee. 

In 43 B.C. Antipater was poisoned.  In order to ally himself with the reigning Asmonean House, Herod married the beautiful Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus.  In 40 B.C. the Roman senate appointed Herod king of Palestine.  The Jews resisted desperately and it took Herod three years to capture Jerusalem.  He was the first foreigner to rule directly over the Jews.

                        Rule of Herod the Great.  (37-4 B.C.).  After the conquest of Jerusalem, Herod killed Antigonus, the last of the Maccabean priest-kings, 45 of his most prominent opponents, and every member of the Sanhedrin but two.  He was an exceedingly bad man but a ruler highly talented, having met with great success.  On this account he is called "the Great."  

He built a harbor and called it Caesarea, in honor of the Roman Emperor.  This city became the political capital of Palestine under the procurators.  He introduced foreign customs, erected a theater within, and an amphitheater without the walls of Jerusalem, instituted games, and even gladiatorial combats with wild animals. 

In 20 B.C. he proposed to rebuild the Temple.  The people on the contrary believed he intended to destroy it.  To assure them of his sincerity, he agreed to prepare the materials before a stone of the old building should be removed.  In 18 B.C. the building began and was completed in 65 A.D., only five years before its final destruction. 

He was bitterly hated by the people for his cruelty and constant annoyance.  Among other things he placed a large golden eagle, the emblem of Roman power, over the principal gate of the Temple.  This enraged the Jews.  Instigated by two rabbis some young men removed it and were burned alive.  At another time ten men formed a plot to kill Herod.  They were betrayed and tortured to death.  Herod died after excruciating pains in March B.C. 4 (A. U. C. 750), after a reign of 34 years.      



3:20                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    now added this to crown all the rest, that he threw John into prison.

WEB:              added this also to them all, that he shut up John in prison.          

Young’s:         added also this to all, that he shut up John in the prison.
Conte (RC):   added this also, above all else: that he confined John to prison.


3:20                 added.  Used by Luke twice as often as in all the rest of the New Testament.  A very common medical word, used of the application of remedies to the body, as our apply, administer.  So Hippocrates, "apply wet sponges to the head;" and Galen, apply a decoction of acorns," etc.   [2]

                        yet this above all.  He had done many things that deserved censure but this stood “head and shoulders” above every other excess of which he was guilty.  [rw]

                        he shut up John in prison.  St. Luke mentions the imprisonment of John, as he now takes leave of him.  See Matt. xiv. 1-13.  [4]

                        This prison, as we learn from Josephus, was the stern and gloomy fortress of Makor or Machaerus, on the borders of Arabia to the north of the Dead Sea.  It is situated among black basaltic rocks and was believed to be haunted by evil demons.  Its ruins have been visited in recent years by Canon Tristram (Land of Moab, page 259) and other travelers, and dungeons are still visible of which one may have witnessed the great Prophet’s tragic end. [56] 


                        In depth:  John the Baptist in the writings of Josephus [13].  The fact of John the Baptist's ministry is authenticated by the narrative of Josephus.  The historian speaks of it at some length when describing the marriage of Herod Antipas with Herodias.  After relating the defeat of Herod's army by Aretas, the father of his first wife, Josephus continues thus (Antiquities xviii. 5. 1. 2):

                        "This disaster was attributed by many of the Jews to the displeasure of God, who smote Herod for the murder of John, surnamed the Baptist; for Herod had put to death this good man, who exhorted the Jews to the practice of virtue, inviting them to come to his baptism, and bidding them act with justice toward each other, and with piety toward God; for their baptism would please God if they did not use it to justify themselves from any sin they had committed, but to obtain purity of body after their souls had been previously purified by righteousness. 

"And when a great multitude of people came to him, and were deeply moved by his discourses, Herod, fearing lest he might use his influence to urge them to revolt--for he well knew that they would do whatever he advised them--thought that the best course for him to take was to put him to death before he attempted anything of the kind.  So he put him in chains, and sent him to the castle of Machaerus, and there put him to death.  The Jews, therefore, were convinced that his army was destroyed as a punishment for this murder, God being incensed against Herod."

                        This account, while altogether independent of the evangelist's, confirms it in all the essential points:  the extraordinary appearance of this person of such remarkable sanctity; the rite of baptism introduced by him; his surname, the Baptist; John's protest against the use of baptism as a mere opus operatum; his energetic exhortations; the general excitement; the imprisonment and murder of John; and further, the criminal marriage of Herod, related in what precedes. 

                        By the side of these essential points, common to the two narratives, there are some secondary differences.  First:  Josephus makes no mention of the Messianic element in the preaching of John.  But in this there is nothing surprising.  This silence proceeds from the same cause as that which he observes respecting the person of Jesus.  He who could allow himself to apply the Messianic prophecies to Vespasian, would necessarily try to avoid everything in contemporaneous history that had reference either to the forerunner, as such, or to Jesus. 

Weizsacker rightly observes that the narrative of Josephus, so far from invalidating that of Luke on this point, confirms it.  For it is evident that apart from its connection with the expectation of the Messiah, the baptism of John would not have produced that general excitement which excited the fears of Herod, and which is proved by the account of Josephus.

                        Second:  According to Luke, the determining cause of John's imprisonment was the resentment of Herod at the rebukes of the Baptist; while, according to Josephus, the motive for this crime was the fear of a political outbreak.  But it is easy to conceive that the cause indicated by Luke would not be openly avowed, and that it was unknown in the political circles where Josephus gathered his information.

                        Herod and his counsellors put forward, as is usual in such cases, the reason of state.  The previous revolts--those which immediately followed the death of Herod, and that which Judas the Gaulonite provoked--only justified too well the fears which they [claimed] to feel.  In any case, if, on account of this general agreement, we were willing to admit that one of the two historians made use of the other, it is not Luke that we should regard as the copyist for the forms of his narrative indicate a source independent of that of Josephus.

                        The higher origin of the ministry of John is proved by the two following characteristics, which are inexplicable from a purely natural point of view.  First, his connection so emphatically announced, with the immediate appearance of the Messiah.  Second, the abdication of John, when at the height of his popularity, in favor of the poor Galilean, who was as yet unknown to all.

                        As to the originality of John's baptism, the lustrations used in the oriental religions, in Judaism itself, and particularly among the Essenes, have been alleged against it.  But this originality consisted less in the outward form of the rite, than (1) in its application to the whole people, thus pronounced defiled, and placed on a level with the heathen; and (2) in the preparatory relation established by the forerunner between this imperfect baptism and that final baptism which the Messiah was about to confer.  



3:21                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Now when all the people had been baptized, and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the sky opened,

WEB:              Now it happened, when all the people were baptized, Jesus also had been baptized, and was praying. The sky was opened,

Young’s:         And it came to pass, in all the people being baptised, Jesus also being baptised, and praying, the heaven was opened,
Conte (RC):   Now it happened that, when all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized; and as he was praying, heaven was opened.


3:21                 Now when all the people were baptized.  This is the shortest account of the first three Gospels of this event.  Two circumstances related are, however, peculiar to St. Luke--the fact that he ascended  "praying"  from the water, and the opening words of this verse, which probably signify that on this day Jesus waited till the crowds who were in the habit of coming to John had been baptized.  [18]

                        The expression (which is peculiar to Luke) seems to imply that on this day Jesus was baptized last; and from the absence of any allusion to the multitude in this and the other narratives we are almost forced to conjecture that His baptism was in a measure private.  Luke’s narrative must be supplemented by particulars derived from Matthew (3:13-17), who alone narrates the unwillingness of the Baptist, and the memorable conversation between them and that it was He who first saw the cleaving heavens, and the Spirit descending.  [56]

it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized.  In spite of all that Jesus was, He used none of that to push His way forward to take precedence over anyone else.  Furthermore, the dramatic event that was to occur accompanying the baptism was best if He were last in line.  It would be so awesome that anyone who came later would surely have felt overshadowed and that their baptism faded in importance—if it had any value at all.  In contrast, He wanted them to be able to leave in the mood John was encouraging—in the joy of triumph of having committed fully to God’s service.  To the extent that this danger could be overcome, it was by making His being “the one at the end of the line.”  [rw]    

                        and praying.  This is omitted by the other Evangelists.  [4]

[However:]  The Evangelists frequently call attention to the prayers of Jesus:  (1) at His baptism (Luke 3:21); (2) after a night of toil in healing (Mark 1:35); (3) after a day of severe toil (Luke 5:16); (4) before choosing the apostles (Luke 6:12); (5) before Peter's great confession (Luke 9:18); (6) when the people would have made Him king (John 6:15); (7) at the transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29); (8) for Peter (Luke 22:32); (9) in Gethsemane (Mark 14:35); (10) for His murderers (Luke 23:34); (11) at the moment of death (Luke 23:46).  [6]

[Prayer of Jesus as a theme in the gospel of Luke:]  This deeply interesting touch is peculiar to Luke, who similarly on eight other occasions calls attention to the prayers of Jesus—after severe labors (verse 16); before the choosing of the Apostles (6:12); before Peter’s great Confession (9:18); at His transfiguration (9:28, 29); for Peter (22:32); in Gethsemane (22:41); for His murderers (23:34); and at the moment of death (23:46).  He also represents the duty and blessing of urgent prayer in two parables—the Importunate Friend (11:5-13) and the Unjust Judge (18:2).  [56]  

                        the heaven was opened.  Which sets the stage for what happens in the next verse.  Even without that additional information, the wording would seem to require some visible phenomena in the heavens above, which—by itself—would mark out Jesus’ baptism as special and unique of all those that John had administered.  [rw]


                        In depth:  Why did Jesus desire to be baptized [28]?  Why did the ideal Man, the Son of God, submit to the baptism of John, a baptism of repentance?  Surely not to confess any sin of His own; but first of all to set His seal of approval upon the work of John and to attest the message which declared that repentance and confession of sin are absolutely necessary for all who are to share the salvation of Christ.

                        Then again by His baptism Jesus identified Himself with His people, not as being sinful, but as doing what they were commanded to do and as sympathizing with them in their hatred of sin, in their distress for its burden, and in their hope and expectation of relief.  Only those who sympathize can serve and save.

                        Then again baptism indicated that the penitent had broken with the past to begin a life of new holiness and obedience.  So in His baptism Jesus was ending His quiet years of preparation in Nazareth and was about to enter upon the ministry of service and sacrifice which was to be performed in obedience to the will of His Father.  It is for this reason that Luke, with the art of a skilled historian, first completed the story of John, the great forerunner, before mentioning that which in reality was the supreme incident in the career of John--his baptism of Jesus.  That incident introduced Jesus to His public ministry and that ministry was to form the very substance of the gospel. 

                        Or as a confession of national/group transgressions:  In presenting Himself for baptism, Jesus had to make, as others did, His confession of sins (Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:7).  Of what sins, if not of those of His people and of the world in general?  He placed before John a striking picture of the humble and compassionate tones of an Isaiah (chapter 63), a Daniel (chapter 9), or a Nehemiah (chapter 9), when they confessed the miseries of their people, as if the burden were their own.  [13]

                        Other possibilities have also been suggested as well:  Our Lord Himself, in reply to the objection of the Baptist, stated it as a reason for His Baptism that “thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness;” i.e. that it was His will to observe all the requirements of the Mosaic law, which He came “not to destroy but to fulfill.”  Other reasons have also been suggested, as

                        (i) that He baptized (as it were) the water—“to sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin” (Ignatius, ad Eph., 18; Maxim. Sermon 7, de Epiphan.; Ps.-Aug. Sermon 135.4); or

(ii)  that He was baptized as it were viracriously, as head of His body, the Church (Just. Mart., c. Tryph., 88); or

(iii)  as a consecration of Himself to His work, followed by the special consecration from the Father; or

(iv)  as a great act of humility (St. Bernard, Serm. 47, in Cant.).  [56]       



3:22                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and the Holy Spirit came down in bodily shape, like a dove, upon Him, and a voice came from Heaven, which said, "Thou art My Son, dearly loved: in Thee is My delight."

WEB:              and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove on him; and a voice came out of the sky, saying "You are my beloved Son. In you I am well pleased."   

Young’s:         and the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily appearance, as if a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, saying, 'Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in thee I did delight.'
Conte (RC):   And the Holy Spirit, in a corporal appearance like a dove, descended upon him. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my beloved Son. In you, I am well pleased."


3:22                 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape.  No vision; [the] actual form of a dove was seen.  [7]

                        like a dove.  [Interpreted on a symbolic level:] Symbolized purity, peacefulness, and meekness.  [7]

                        [Interpreted as a literal something but not actually dove like:]  That the form of a dove absolutely descended and lighted upon Jesus seems unlikely;  a radiant glorious Something both Jesus and the Baptist saw descending.  John compares it to a dove--this cloud of glory sailing through the clear heaven, then, bird-like, sinking, hovering, or brooding, over the head of the Sinless One, then lighting, as it were, upon him.  In likening the radiant vision to a dove, probably John had heard of the rabbinical comment (it is in the Talmud) on Gen. i. 2, that the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters like a dove.  Milton has reproduced the thought--"And with mighty wings outspread Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss."  ('Paradise Lost,' i. 20.)  John, for want of a better simile, reproduced the image which he had doubtless heard from his teacher in the Law, when he desired to represent in earthly language the Divine Thing which in some bodily form he had seen.  In the early Church there was a legend very commonly current--we find it in Justin Martyr ('Dialogue with Trypho,' 88) and also in the Apocryphal Gospels--that at the baptism of Jesus a fire was kindled in Jordan.  This was doubtless another, though a more confused memory of the glory-appearance which John saw falling on the Messiah.  [18]

                        [Objections to such an approach:]  Every evangelist mentions the "dove;" and Luke declares there was "bodily shape like a dove."  To make this (with Olshausen, Van Oosterzee, and others) a ray of light, a shapeless something "with a quivering motion as of a dove," is not to interpret Luke's language, but to substitute words of one's own.  [14]

                        upon Him.  Like “bodily shape,” this is also language that best fits something both visible and tangible—literal, rather than symbolic.  Like a dove” warns us that it was not a literal dove but that which comes closest to it in form and action would be a literal dove.  [rw] 

                        and a voice came from heaven.  [This happened] thrice to Jesus:  (1) here at His baptism, the call to His work; (2) at the transfiguration (Mark 9:7); (3) in the Temple court just before His death (John 12:28).  [6] 

which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.  This provides an over all evaluation of Jesus:  everything He is and has become pleases Me fully; in the context of the baptism itself, it conveys the message that this act in particular has God’s full backing.  Jesus did not need it like others since he had no sins to repent of; but since God had commissioned John to baptize the people, as an obedient son of Israel it was Jesus’ responsibility to fulfill the role imposed on all other Israelites.  (From the practical standpoint, if He had not been baptized of John, would not that have been used as an accusation against Him?)  [rw]



3:23                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And He--Jesus--when He began His ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (it was supposed)

WEB:              Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years old, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,

Young’s:         And Jesus himself was beginning to be about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, son of Joseph,
Conte (RC):   And Jesus himself was beginning to be about thirty years old, being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Matthat,


3:23                 And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age.  So old Joseph was when he stood before Pharaoh (Genesis 12:46), David when he began to reign (2 Samuel 5:4), and at this age the priests were to enter upon the full execution of their office (Numbers 4:3).  [32] 

                        This was the age at which the Levites entered upon their word; the age, too, at which it was lawful for scribes to teach.  Generally speaking, thirty among the Jews was looked upon as the time of life when manhood had reached its full development.  [18]

God's prophets appear when they get the inward call, and that may come at any time, at twenty, thirty, or forty.  Inspiration is not bound by rule, custom, or tradition.  [12]

                        (as was supposed).  As was commonly thought, or perhaps being legally, reckoned as his son.  [11]

                        “Is not this the carpenter’s son?”  Matthew 13:55; John 6:42.  [56]

                        the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.  Few would know of the virgin birth because, until the credibility of it had been fully established by His bodily resurrection, why would anyone be expected to believe it?  Jesus would face enough barriers to His acceptance as God’s spokesman.  Putting another one in the way would have done no good and much harm.  [rw]



3:24                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph,

WEB:              the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,          

Young’s:         the son of Eli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph,
Conte (RC):   who was of Levi, who was of Melchi, who was of Jannai, who was of Joseph,


3:24                 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph.


                        In depth:  the availability of public geneaological records from which the links to Jesus' past could be obtained [13].  Have we sufficient evidence of genealogical registers among the Jews at this epoch?  Josephus extracted his own genealogy [from such sources]:  "I relate my genealogy as I find it recorded in the public tables" (Vita, c. i).  The same Josephus, in his work "Contra Apion" says,  "From all the countries in which our priests are scattered abroad, they send to Jerusalem (in order to have their children entered) documents containing the names of their parents and ancestors, and countersigned by witnesses."  What was done for the priestly families could not fail to have been done with regard to the royal family, from which it was known that the Messiah was to spring.

                        The same conclusion results also from the following facts.  The famous Rabbi Hillel, who lived in the time of Jesus, succeeded in proving, by means of a genealogical table in existence at Jerusalem, that although a poor man, he was a descendant of David (Bereschit rabba, 98).  The line of descent in the different branches of the royal family was so well known that even at the end of the first century of the Church the grandsons of Jude, the brother of the Lord, had to appear at Rome as descendants of David, and undergo examination in the presence of Domitian (Hegesippus in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, iii. 19-20).  According to these facts, the existence of two genealogical documents relating, one to Joseph, the other to Heli, and preserved in their respective families, offers absolutely nothing at all improbable.     


                        On relationship of this genealogy with that of Matthew, see “In depth” at the end of the chapter.



3:25                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai,

WEB:              the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,          

Young’s:         the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Naum, the son of Esli,
Conte (RC):   who was of Mattathias, who was of Amos, who was of Nahum, who was of Esli, who was of Naggai,


3:25                 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge.



3:26                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Mahath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda,

WEB:              the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,       

Young’s:         the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Juda,
Conte (RC):   who was of Maath, who was of Mattathias, who was of Semein, who was of Josech, who was of Joda,


3:26                 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda.



3:27                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Johanan, son of Resa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri,

WEB:              the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,          

Young’s:         the son of Joanna, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
Conte (RC):   who was of Joanan, who was of Rhesa, who was of Zerubbabel, who was of Shealtiel, who was of Neri,


3:27                 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri.

                        Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel.  Rhesa and Abiud, put down, the one by Luke, the other by Matthew, as sons of Zorobabel, are not mentioned in the Old Testament, according to which the sons of this restorer of Israel should have been Meshullam and Hananiah (1 Chronicles 3:19).  Bleck observes, that if the evangelists had fabricated their lists, they would naturally have made use of these two names that are furnished by the sacred text; therefore they have followed their documents [found in the genealogical records of their day].  [13]  

                        Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri.  How is that the names Zorobabel and Salathiel occur, connected with each other in the same way, in both the genealogies?  And how can Salathiel have Neri for his father in Luke; and in Matthew King Jechonias?   Should these names be regarded as standing for different persons as Wieseler thinks?  This is not impossible. 

                        The Zorobabel and the Salathiel of Luke might be two unknown persons of the obscurer branch of the royal family descended from Nathan; the Zorobabel and the Salathiel of Matthew, the two well-known persons of the Old Testament history, belonging to the reigning branch, the first a son, the second a grandson of King Jechonias (1 Chronicles 3:17; Ezra 3:2; Haggai 1:1).  This is the view which, after all, appears to Bleek most probable.  It is open, however, to a serious objection from the fact that these two names, in the two lists, refer to exactly the same period, since in both of them they are very nearly halfway between Jesus and David.

                        If the identity of these persons in the two genealogies is admitted, the explanation must be found in 2 King 24:12, which proves that King Jechonias had no son at the time when he was carried into captivity.  It is scarcely probable that he had one while in prison, where he remained shut up for thirty-eight years.  He or they whom the passage 1 Chronicles 3:17 assigns to him (which, besides, may be translated in three different ways must be regarded as adopted sons or as sons-in-law; they would be spoken of as sons because they would be unwilling to allow the reigning branch of the royal family to become extinct.  Salathiel, the first of them, would thus have some other father than Jechonias and this father would be Neri, of the Nathan branch, indicated by Luke.

                        An alternative hypothesis has been proposed, founded on the Levirite law.  Neri, as a relative of Jechonias, might have married one of the wives of the imprisoned king, in order to perpetuate the royal family; and the son of this union, Salathiel, would have been legally a son of Jechonias, but really a son of Neri.

                        In any case, the numerous differences that are found in the statements of our historical books at this period prove that the catastrophe of the captivity brought considerable confusion into the registers or family traditions.  According to 1 Chronicles 3:16, 2 Chronicles 36:10 (Hebrew text), Zedekiah was son of Jehoiakim and brother of Jehoiachin; but, according to 2 Kings 24:17 and Jeremiah 37:1, he was son of Josiah and brother of Jeholakim.  According to 1 Chronicles 3:19, Zorobabel was son of Pedaiah and grandson of Jeconiah, and consequently nephew of Salathiel; while, according to Ezra 3:2, Nehemiah 12:1, Haggai 1:1, he was son of Salathiel.  [13]     



3:28                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er,

WEB:              the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,      

Young’s:         the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,
Conte (RC):   who was of Melchi, who was of Addi, who was of Cosam, who was of Elmadam, who was of Er,


3:28                 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er.        



3:29                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Joshua, son of Eliezar, son of Jorim, son of Maththat, son of Levi,

WEB:              the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,  

Young’s:         the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
Conte (RC):   who was of Joshua, who was of Eliezer, who was of Jorim, who was of Matthat, who was of Levi,


3:29                 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi.



3:30                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Symeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim, son of

WEB:              the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,         

Young’s:         he son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Juda, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,
Conte (RC):   who was of Simeon, who was of Judah, who was of Joseph, who was of Jonam, who was of Eliakim,


3:30                 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim.



3:31                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David,

WEB:              the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

Young’s:         the son of Melea, the son of Mainan, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
Conte (RC):   who was of Melea, who was of Menna, who was of Mattatha, who was of Nathan, who was of David,


3:31                 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David.



3:32                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Salmon, son of Nahshon,

WEB:              the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,           

Young’s:         the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Booz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
Conte (RC):   who was of Jesse, who was of Obed, who was of Boaz, who was of Salmon, who was of Nahshon,


3:32                 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson.



3:33                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Amminadab, son of Admin, son of Arni, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah,

WEB:              the son of Amminadab, the son of Aram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,        

Young’s:         the son of Amminadab, the son of Aram, the son of Esrom, the son of Pharez,
Conte (RC):   who was of Amminadab, who was of Aram, who was of Hezron, who was of Perez, who was of Judah,


3:33                 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda.



3:34                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor,

WEB:              the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

Young’s:         the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
Conte (RC):   who was of Jacob, who was of Isaac, who was of Abraham, who was of Terah, who was of Nahor,


3:34                 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor.



3:35                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah,

WEB:              the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,   

Young’s:         the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
Conte (RC):   who was of Serug, who was of Reu, who was of Peleg, who was of Eber, who was of Shelah,


3:35                 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala.



3:36                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Cainan, son of Arpachshad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech,

WEB:              the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,          

Young’s:         the son of Salah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
Conte (RC):   who was of Cainan, who was of Arphaxad, who was of Shem, who was Of Noah, who was of Lamech,


3:36                 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech.

                        Cainan.  The name Cainan is only found in the Septuagint and is wanting in the Hebrew text (Genesis 10:24, 11, 12).  This must be a very ancient variation.  [13] 



3:37                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalalel, son of Kenan,

WEB:              the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,           

Young’s:         the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel,
Conte (RC):   who was of Methuselah, who was of Enoch, who was of Jared, who was of Mahalalel, who was of Cainan,


3:37                 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Caina.



3:38                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    son of Enosh, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.

WEB:              the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.           

Young’s:         the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Conte (RC):   who was of Enos, who was of Seth, who was of Adam, who was of God.


3:38                 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

                        the son of Adam.  From Adam to Noah there was but one man, Methusala, who joined hands with both.  From Noah to Abraham one man, Shem, who saw both for a considerable time.  From Abraham to Joseph, one, Isaac, Joseph's grandfather.  From Joseph to Moses, one, Amram, who might have seen Joseph long.  These characters of time Moses has carefully preserved.—Abp. Sumner.  [36]

                        which was the son of God.  Directly and personally created through the power of God, Adam was uniquely the “son of God” in a sense that none of his children would or could be.  [rw]


                        In depth:  Reconciling the differences in the geneaology in Matthew and Luke [52].  Here we see that Luke begins with Jesus and goes back through a series of progenitors, the natural order of an inquirer into his special parentage:  while Matthew, as if following the series of public records, comes down from a known ancestor to Christ.  The existence of the latter kind of records is evident from the fixed custom of resorting for enrollment to each man’ own city (2:1).  That the means of tracing the pedigree of a particular individual back were extant also appears from cases such as that of Anna (2:36) and Paul (Philippians 3:5).

                        Other differences between the two genealogies are obvious.  Matthew makes from Abraham, three sections of fourteen (twice seven) names, down to Christ; while Luke mentions fifty-four between the same limits, no pairs of which are identical in the two lists, after David, except in the case Shealtiel and Zerubabel.  What was the relation then, between the two series of names?

                        That there was no irreconcilable difference may be assumed, because there was no such allegation made in the early ages when inaccuracy and contradiction, if existing, could easily be demonstrated.  This absence, as to all sources from which the two evangelists drew, leaves us to conjecture only how they stood toward each other.

                        Two leading hypotheses have been employed to effect harmony, neither of which is free from serious deficiency, but either of which may help to show that there is no necessary incompatibility between the two accounts.


                        I.  Both give an account of the lineage of Joseph, Christ’s father, as supposed in his day.  Of this supposition there are two varieties.

                        (1)  Matthew gives the royal line of David, showing the reigning, or ruling personages, as long as there were such, and their legal heirs, through whom the blood royal came to Joseph, without attempting to give the actual series of his immediate forefathers; while Luke gave just this, the true paternal descent, not concerning himself with the official lineage.

                        This is the view advocated laboriously by Lord Hervey, among many.  He thinks the case so plain, according to that view, that it scarcely needs discussion.  “One has only to read them (the two genealogies) to be satisfied of this.”  “St. Luke’s is Joseph’s private genealogy.”  “This is capable of being almost demonstrated.”  Where a conjecture might be ventured, he says, “it is perfectly certain,” etc.

                        (2)  Vice versa, it is maintained with much force that Matthew’s word “begat,” repeated so many times, implies the actual generation of the several descendants, while Luke’s phrase “son of,” is freely applicable to one legally brought) by adoption, or otherwise) into the family of David.  This supposition is maintained with much fullness of discussion, learning and confidence by Dr. J. B. McClellan, in a note to his New Translation of the New Testament.


                        II.  Luke presents the family record of Mary, the mother of Jesus, with the design rather of exhibiting our Lord’s common descent with all men, according to the flesh, from Adam, the father of all.  In doing this he shows incidentally that Mary too was truly of the offspring of David. 

                        As the ancient genealogies, Jewish or Roman, would not start from the mother, Luke begins with Joseph (as representing Mary), who thus becomes, in a loose sense, son of her (assumed) father, Heli.  Some would facilitate this hypothesis by extending the parenthesis in the verse before us so as to make it, “Being the son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Heli.”  Thus the sonship of Jesus would be directly referred (through Mary, who could not be named in the series) to Heli, supposed to be her father.

The absence, in the Greek, of the article before “Joseph,” which precedes every name in the series after that, slightly favor that view grammatically.  The explanation afforded, however, is on the whole not satisfactory; and if the alternative view, in either aspect of it, did not involve a number of violent assumptions, this would meet with little favor.

If it be accepted, no other difficulties are suggested by the comparison with Matthew’s pedigree, except that the two lines coincide in the two names, Shealtiel and Zerubabel, about which the difficulty is much the same on either supposition.

To the objection that the Jews and Romans took no account of women in their family records, it may be answered that the case of Anna (2:36) shows that a woman’s derivation could be traced, as is proved by Paul’s case also (“a Hebrew of Hebrews”), and that Luke cared little about the legal or official record; but much about the connection of Jesus with all that was highest in the Hebrew line, and all that was most ancient in the ancestry of mankind. 

There might seem a special reason why custom should be departed from in this case, because the Messiah was to be born of a virgin.  This would show, also, how the prophecies concerning “the seed of Abraham” were fulfilled, and how “Jesus Christ our Lord” “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3), and not merely by legal succession; a thing which, as the companion of Paul, Luke might have an interest in maintaining.

                        This view, in the main, is advocated by Godet, preceded by Knapp, Bengel, Spannehim, and others.  If we must adopt either of the harmonistic methods above mentioned, we should hesitatingly decide for the latter, notwithstanding the absence of direct mention of Mary, which alone hinders it from being unquestionably valid.  But we prefer to leave final decision in abeyance, while resting confidently in the accuracy of both accounts, as drawn from sources of evidence open to the writers but lost to us.                           


                        For further argumentation on the alternatives, see the Introduction to Luke.






Books Utilized

(with number code)



1          =          Adam Clarke.  The New Testament . . . with a Commentary and

Critical Notes.  Volume I:   Matthew to the Acts.   Reprint, Nashville,

Tennessee:  Abingdon Press.


2          =          Marvin R. Vincent.  Word Studies in the New Testament.  Volume I:

The Synoptic  Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Peter, James,

and Jude.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887; 1911 printing.


3          =          J. S. Lamar.  Luke.  [Eugene S. Smith, Publisher; reprint, 1977 (?)]


4          =          Charles H. Hall.  Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;

volume two:  Luke-John.  New York:  Hurd and Houghton, 1856,



5          =          John Kitto.  Daily Bible Illustrations.  Volume II:  Evening Series: 

The Life and Death of Our Lord.  New York:  Robert Carter and

Brothers, 1881.


6          =          Thomas M. Lindsay.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  Two

volumes.  New York:  Scribner & Welford, 1887.


7          =          W. H. van Doren.  A Suggestive Commentary on the New Testament: 

Saint Luke.  Two volumes.  New York:  D. Appleton and Company,



8          =          Melancthon W. Jacobus.  Notes on the Gospels, Critical and

Explanatory:  Luke and John.  New York:  Robert Carter &

Brothers, 1856; 1872 reprint.


9          =          Alfred Nevin.  Popular Expositor of the Gospels and Acts:  Luke. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  Ziegler & McCurdy, 1872.


10        =          Alfred Nevin.  The Parables of Jesus.  Philadelphia:  Presbyterian

Board of Publication, 1881.


11        =          Albert Barnes.  "Luke."  In Barnes' Notes on the New Testament.

Reprint, Kregel Publications, 1980.


12        =          Alexander B. Bruce.  The Synoptic Gospels.  In The Expositor's

Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.  Reprint, Grand

Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.   Eerdmans Publishing Company.


13        =          F. Godet.  A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.  Translated

from the Second French Edition by E. W. Shalders and M. D. Cusin.

New York:  I. K. Funk & Company, 1881.


14        =          D. D. Whedon.  Commentary on the Gospels:  Luke-John.   New

York:  Carlton & Lanahan, 1866; 1870 reprint.   


15        =          Henry Alford.  The Greek Testament.  Volume I:  The Four Gospels.

Fifth Edition.  London:  Rivingtons, 1863.  


16        =          David Brown.   "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and

David Brown,  A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the

Old and New Testaments.  Volume II:  New Testament.  Hartford:

S. S. Scranton Company, no date.


17        =          Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly.  An Exposition of the Gospel

of St. Luke.  New York:  Benziger Brothers, 1886.


18        =          H. D. M. Spence.  “Luke.”  In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.

M. Spence.  Reprinted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,



19        =          John Calvin.  Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Translated by William Pringle.  Reprint,

Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.    Eerdmans Publishing Company.


20        =          Thomas Scott.  The Holy Bible . . . with Explanatory Notes (and)

Practical Observations.  Boston:  Crocker and Brewster.


21        =          Henry T. Sell.  Bible Studies in the Life of Christ:  Historical and

Constructive.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902.


22        =          Philip Vollmer.  The Modern Student's Life of Christ.  New York:

Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912.


23        =          Heinrich A. W. Meyer.  Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke.  Translated from the Fifth German

Edition by Robert Ernest Wallis.  N. Y.:  Funk and Wagnalls,

1884; 1893 printing. 


24        =          John Albert Bengel. Gnomon of the New Testament.  A New

                        Translation by Charlton T. Lewis and Marvin R. Vincent. 

Volume One.  Philadelphia:  Perkinpine & Higgins, 1860.


25        =          John Cummings.  Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-

ment:  St. Luke.  London:  Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co,1854.


26        =          Walter F. Adeney, editor.  The Century Bible:  A Modern  

Commentary--Luke.  New York:  H. Frowdey, 1901.  Title page

missing from copy.


27        =          Pasquier Quesnel.  The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.

Volumes I and II.  (Luke is in part of both).  New York:  Anson

D. F. Randolph, 1855; 1867 reprint. 


28        =          Charles R. Erdman.  The Gospel of Luke:  An Exposition.

Philadelphia:  Westminster   Press, 1921; 1936 reprint.


29        =          Elvira J. Slack.  Jesus:  The Man of Galilee.  New York:  National

Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations, 1911.


30        =          Arthur Ritchie.  Spiritual Studies in St. Luke's Gospel.  Milwaukee:

The Young Churchman Company, 1906.


31        =          Bernhard Weiss.  A Commentary on the New Testament.  Volume

Two:  Luke-The Acts.  New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company,1906.


32        =          Matthew Henry.  Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Volume V:

Matthew to John.  17--.  Reprint, New York:  Fleming H. Revell

Company, no date.


33        =          C. G. Barth.  The Bible Manual:  An Expository and Practical

Commentary on the Books of Scripture.  Second Edition.

London:  James Nisbet and Company, 1865.


34        =          Nathaniel S. Folsom.  The Four Gospels:  Translated . . . and with

Critical and Expository Notes.  Third Edition.  Boston:  Cupples,

Upham, and Company, 1871; 1885 reprint.


35        =          Henry Burton.  The Gospel according to Luke.  In the Expositor's

Bible series.  New York:  A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1895. 


36        =          [Anonymous].  Choice Notes on the Gospel of S. Luke, Drawn from

Old and New Sources.  London:  Macmillan & Company, 1869.


37        =          Marcus Dods.  The Parables of Our Lord.  New York:  Fleming H.

Revell Company, 18--. 


38        =          Alfred Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  

Second Edition.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph and Company,



39        =          A. T. Robertson.  Luke the Historian in the Light of Research. 

New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint. 


40        =          James R. Gray.  Christian Workers' Commentary on the Old and

New Testaments.  Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Associat-

ion/Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915.


41        =          W. Sanday.  Outlines of the Life of Christ.  New York:  Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1905.


42        =          Halford E. Luccock.  Studies in the Parables of Jesus.  New York:

Methodist Book Concern, 1917.


43        =          George H. Hubbard.  The Teaching of Jesus in Parables.  New

York:  Pilgrim Press, 1907. 


44        =          Charles S. Robinson.  Studies in Luke's Gospel.  Second Series.

New York:American Tract Society, 1890.  


45        =          John Laidlaw.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:  Funk &

Wagnalls Company,   1892.


46        =          William M. Taylor.  The Miracles of Our Saviour.  Fifth Edition.

New York:  A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1890; 1903 reprint.


47        =          Alexander Maclaren.  Expositions of Holy Scripture:  St. Luke.

New York:  George H. Doran Company, [no date].


48        =          George MacDonald.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:

George Routledge & Sons, 1878. 


49        =          Joseph Parker.  The People's Bibles:  Discourses upon Holy Scrip-

                        tureMark-Luke.    New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 18--.


50        =          Daniel Whitby and Moses Lowman.  A Critical Commentary and

Paraphrase on the New Testament:  The Four Gospels and the Acts

of the Apostles.  Philadelphia:  Carey & Hart, 1846.


51        =          Matthew Poole.  Annotations on the Holy Bible.  1600s.



52        =          George R. Bliss.  Luke.  In An American Commentary on the New

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,



53        =          J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton.  The Fourfold Gospel. 

1914.  Computerized.


54        =          John Trapp.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  1654.



55        =          Ernest D. Burton and Shailer Matthews.  The Life of Christ.

Chicago, Illinois:  University of Chicago Press, 1900; 5th reprint,



56        =          Frederic W. Farrar.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  In “The

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges” series.  Cambridge:  At

the University Press, 1882.