Matthew 3

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The Baptism of Christ, by Piero della Francesca, 1449

Matthew 3 is the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. It is the first chapter dealing with the ministry of Jesus with events taking place some three decades after the close of the infancy narrative related in the previous two chapters. The focus of this chapter is on John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus.

For the first time since Matthew 1:1 there are clear links with the Gospel of Mark. Many scholars are certain a good portion of this chapter is a reworking of Mark 1. The chapter also parallels Luke 3, also believed to be based on Mark 1. A number of passages shared by Luke and Matthew, but not found in Mark, are commonly ascribed to Q.

The chapter opens with a portrait of John the Baptist. It describes his preaching, clothing, and diet. It presents him as a preacher in the wilderness prophesizing about the "wrath to come." The chapter then moves to a tirade, ascribed to John, against the Pharisees and Sadducees in which he warns them to repent. This includes the famous "generation of vipers" line at Matthew 3:7. Jesus then arrives from Galilee to be baptized. The chapter closes with the Baptism of Jesus, the voice of the Father, and the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.

Full text[edit]

In the King James Version this chapter reads:

1In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
13Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

References[edit]

  • Albright, W.F. and C.S. Mann. "Matthew." The Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.
  • Clarke, Howard W. The Gospel of Matthew and its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.
  • France, R.T. The Gospel According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985.
  • Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982.
  • Guthrie, Donald. The New Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970.
  • Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981
  • Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975


Preceded by
Matthew 2
Chapters of the New Testament
Gospel of Matthew
Succeeded by
Matthew 4