The mission of the Messiah, 1:5-9:50

2. Testimonies to the Messiah, 2:41-4:30

ii] The witness of John the Baptist


This passage records the testimony, or witness, of John the Baptist, with regard to the messianic credentials of Christ. Luke sets the stage, v1-2, records the nature of John's mission, v3-6, the substance of John's message, v7-14, John's relationship with the coming messiah, v15-18, and his imprisonment, v19-20.


Jesus is one "mightier" than even John the Baptist; he is God's beloved Son.


i] Context: See 2:41-52. The second unit of episodes in Luke's gospel, The Testimonies to the Messiah, 2:41-4:30, consists of six episodes which give witness to the coming messiah. This, the second episode, The witness of John the Baptist, tells us something more of Jesus' messianic character.


ii] Structure: This narrative, The witness of John the Baptist, presents as follows:

The Baptist's ministry, v1-6:

Setting, v1-2;

The Baptist's message, v3;

Textual support, v4-6;

The Baptist's preaching, v7-14:

A call for repentance, v7-9;

A call for the fruit of repentance, v10-14;

John explains his ministry, v15-18;

The imprisonment of John, v19-20;


iii] Interpretation:

Luke presents John the Baptist as the one who fulfills the words of the prophet Isaiah; he is the "one calling in the wilderness, 'prepare the way of the Lord.'" John prepares the way of the coming messiah by his preaching ministry. Unlike say Matthew who has John preaching the same message as Jesus, namely "the kingdom of heaven is at hand", Luke tells us that John preached a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." There is little doubt that John's preaching is in the context of the coming kingdom and of the salvation soon to be realized through the ministry of Israel's promised messiah, the Anointed One. John states clearly that to join the messiah in the coming kingdom will require the forgiveness of sins, and the forgiveness of sins requires repentance. To meet the coming messiah it is necessary to have a repentant spirit expressed outwardly in water baptism. The sign of repentance is just that, a sign. The significance of repentance entails a changed heart not just an outward expression of washing; it involves a dread recognition of ones sins and a willingness to live a renewed life of neighborly love.

John's ministry points beyond itself to the coming messiah, to the one "mightier than" he, to the one who "will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire." For Luke, John prepares the way for the coming of Christ and testifies to this mighty one.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 3:1-2

The witness of the Baptist, v1-20: i] The Baptist's ministry, v1-6. a) Setting, v1-2. Luke, in the style of a Greek historian, dates the preaching ministry of John and the baptism of Jesus, by cross referencing significant personages of the time. His dating is around 27-29AD. Although the Romans removed Annas in 14AD, he continued to exercise power while his son-in-law, Caiaphas, was High Priest. The wilderness is where we meet God and so it is where John receives his call from God. By implication, Luke's dating of John's ministry also dates the commencement of Jesus' ministry.

de "-" - but. Indicating a new section. Note the argument as to whether John is the final prophet of the age of promise, so Conzelmann, or the introductory prophet for the age of fulfilment, or a bridge between the two.

en + dat. "in [the fifteenth year]" - Temporal use of the preposition.

thV hJemoniaV (a) gen. "of the reign" - The genitive is adverbial, reference; "with respect to the reign ..."

Tiberiou KaisaroV gen. "of Tiberius Caesar" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective; "the rule exercised by Tiberius Caesar."

hJgemoneuontoV (hJgenomeuw) gen. pres. part. "when [Pontius Pilate] was governor" - governing. The genitive absolute participle forms a temporal clause.

tetraarcountoV (tetraarcew) gen. pres. part. "tetrarch" - [Herod] being tetrarch [of Galilee]. The participle is adjectival, descriptive of Herod. The title "Tetrarch" was given to local rulers appointed by the Roman government to serve alongside a local Roman official, either a Procurator or Prefect. Here referring to Herod Antipas, 4BC-AD39.

epi + gen. "during" - Temporal use of the preposition; "in the time of / during."

arcierewV (euV ewV) sing. "the high priesthood" - Both Annas and Caiaphas are mentioned, but the priesthood is singular. Caiaphas is functioning as the formal high priest, but Annas still pulls the strings. The Roman authorities had removed Annas in AD14.

qeou (oV) gen. "[the word] of God" - The genitive may be taken as adjectival, possessive, or ablative, source/origin; "word from God."

epi + acc. "[came] to [John]" - [came] upon, on, over, to. Spacial. Used in the LXX of divine inspiration; John's message is God's message. "God spoke to Zechariah's son John", CEV.

en + dat. "in [the desert]" - Expressing space/sphere. The desert is a place of reflection, retreat and revelation. Probably for John, the wilderness is the area north west of the Dead sea, leading into the Jordan valley.


b) The Baptist's message, v3. Only a Gentile convert to Judaism would be baptized (a sign of regeneration), but John demands that Abraham's children must also be baptized. It was as if Israel had reached the river Jordan and must again cross the river to enter the promised land. So, John preached a message of repentance, a repentance which had but one aim, the forgiveness of sins. Baptism, water washing, serves as the outward expression of this repentance, while at the same time illustrating the cleansing of forgiveness soon to be realized in the coming messiah.

eiV + acc. "into" - to, into. Spacial. John's ministry covered the whole of Jordan; "he went all over the Jordan valley", REB.

tou Iordanou (oV) gen. "[all the country] around the Jordan" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive / wholative ; specifically, a region followed by a river name in the genitive indicates the region surrounding the river, BDAG 808, Culy.

khrusswn (khrussw) pres. part. "preaching" - communicating, proclaiming. The participle is adverbial, probably modal, expressing manner, how John came, ie. he came preaching, but possibly final expressing purpose, Fitzmyer. The present tense indicating ongoing action. The sense is of authoritative communication, heralding, proclaiming openly, and in the NT of proclaiming the gospel. Note, the following clause defines what John preached.

baptisma (a atoV) "a baptism" - immersion, overwhelmed. The word, "immersion", is used both figuratively and literally. It is often used to describe water immersion, but also overwhelmed in/by/with the Spirit, in tribulation ("fire") and in teaching ("into the Name"). Here it is most likely that water immersion is intended. Presumably the stress is on the substance of the immersion, that which it represents, namely, repentance. So, John preached a message concerning repentance for the forgiveness of sins, which repentance was expressed outwardly in water baptism. It is also argued that the sign of water baptism also images cleansing. This does seem likely since Jesus' baptism with the Spirit for regenerative cleansing is prefigured in John's baptism with water.

metanoiaV (a) gen. "repentance" - The genitive is adjectival, possibly attributive, limiting "baptism", a repentance type of baptism; a baptism which is "characterized by repentance or associated with repentance", Culy. On the other hand, the genitive may well be attributed where "repentance" is limited by "baptism", a repentance which is characterized by baptism. The Hebrew origins of the word obviously dictate its meaning. It involves a turning back / returning to God, rather than a mere expression of sorrow. Obviously, good deeds, in the sense of the fruit of repentance, follow, but such deeds are not a necessary component of the inward act of repentance. Forgiveness does not rest on the deeds (fruit), but on a turning toward God, which turning taps into God's grace.

eiV "for" - into, to, for. A causal sense has been argued, as has result, but purpose / aim seems best; "John preached a message of repentance, which repentance had as it purpose, the forgiveness of sins."

aJmartiwn (a) gen. "[the forgiveness] of sins" - The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective.


c) Textual support, v4-6: Luke now quotes Isaiah 40:3ff. John's task is to prepare the way for the coming messiah. The Exodus journey of the messiah and his people to the promised land is made clear and straight by John's call to repentance. Those who heed the call will gain the long-hoped-for messianic deliverance.

wJV "as [it is written]" - Comparative. Usual formula for an authoritative quote from scripture. The quotation comes from Isaiah 40:3-5.

en + dat. "in [the book]" - Expressing space/sphere. Luke uses an unusual reference formula.

logwn (oV) gen. "of the words" - The genitive is adjectival, of content.

fwnh (h) "a voice" - a voice, sound. Although without an article, it may be understood as definite due to its association with the genitive participle "calling." Following the MT the verb to-be may be assumed; "a voice is crying." "Hark! someone is shouting", Phillips.

bowntoV (boaw) gen. pres. part. "of one calling" - The participle serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, possessive.

thn oJdon (oV) "the way" - Luke sees John fulfilling Isaiah 40:3-5 as the one who prepares a roadway through the desert, an expressway ready for the journey of messiah to Jerusalem.

kuriou (oV) gen. "for the Lord" - of Lord. This genitive, as with autou, "of him", following, is adjectival, possibly possessive, "the Lord's way", Berkeley, or attributive, limiting "the way"; "prepare a roadway which will suit the coming Lord."


Note the imagery of road building, of building an expressway to hasten travel. The Assyrians and the Persians, as with the Romans in later years, were great road builders, enabling the rapid deployment of military forces and efficient commerce.

plhrwqhsetai (plhrow) fut. pas. "shall be filled in" - will be filled. It is possible to take the future tense here as an imperative, eg. "fill up every valley", CEV.

ta skolia adj. "the crooked roads" - the crooked, twisted. The adjective serves as a noun. Possibly not an existing road, but a place too rough and steep to normally take a road. "The crooked places must become straight roads", Williams.

estai (eimi) fut. "shall become [straight]" - Note the position of the verb to-be before the subject serving to emphasize the reality of what will be and also the Semitic construction of eiV + acc. noun producing a predicate modifier, cf. Wallace 47.


sarx (x koV) "mankind" - flesh. Used here for the Hebrew "living thing", meaning "humanity", NJB.

to swthrion adj. "salvation" - the salvation. Note how Luke has replaced "glory" with "salvation" from the original. Of course, God's glory is manifested in his salvation of broken humanity.

tou qeou gen. "God's [salvation]" - [the salvation] of God. The genitive here is usually treated as verbal, subjective; "all humanity will witness God's work of salvation."


ii] Luke doesn't give us a description of John's prophetic manner, his clothing etc., as does Mark, but moves on to give us an account of his call for repentance, v7-14. a) A call for repentance, v7-9: John sees the "multitude" coming toward him and questions their commitment. Although the description, "snakes" (children of the Devil), particularly applies to the Pharisees and Sadducees, John suspects that this crowd, which seeks to escape the day of judgment through baptism, is responding to his preaching at a superficial level. For John, baptism is an outward manifestation of repentance - the symbolic expression of a genuine cry for mercy. Genuine repentance exhibits an attitude of neighborly-love and serves as the mark of the new Israel.

oun "-" - therefore. Here resumptive and so best left untranslated, as NIV.

elegen (legw) imperf. "John said" - he was saying. The imperfect is possibly reiterative, so Nolland, although often the imperfect in Luke is simply a literary device used to express a vivid ongoing scene, so Bock. "He would say", Nolland.

toiV ocloiV (oV) dat. "to the crowds" - Dative of indirect object. In Matthew and Mark, John actually addresses the religious leaders, so it is interesting that these rather harsh words are addressed to the people in general.

ekporeuomenoiV (ekporeuomai) pres. part. "coming out" - going out, coming out. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "crowds"; "the crowds which were coming out."

baptisqhnai (baptizw) aor. pas. inf. "to be baptized" - to be immersed. The infinitive here is verbal, expressing purpose; the crowds came out in order to be baptized by John.

uJp (uJpo) + gen. "by [him]" - Expressing agency.

gennhmata (a atoV) "brood" - offspring, produce, children/sons of. Simply, "you snakes", CEV.

ecidnwn (a) gen. "of vipers" - snakes, reptiles. The genitive is adjectival, relational; "you viper's brood." Possibly an allusion to the Devil. These Israelites, who should be sons of God, are sons of the Devil, ie. lost and facing judgment.

uJpedeixen (uJpodeiknumi) aor. "warned" - showed, informed, pointed out, told. With an infinitive, usually "warned", although the more general "informed" fits better. Although the sense is debatable, it seems likely that John is reacting to a superficial response to his preaching, so he indirectly questions the level of commitment of those seeking baptism, cf. v8. Where indeed did they get the idea that ritual immersion would enable them to escape the day of judgment? Note how Marshall unpacks what John elegen "said" to the crowds": i] who has warned you to flee? ii] who has shown you how to flee? iii] who has given you the idea that you can flee merely by participating in ritual immersion? "Do you really understand what my baptism is all about?" Bock.

fugein (feugw) aor. inf. "to flee" - The infinitive forms a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what they were warned to do, namely, to flee ....

thV melloushV orghV "the coming wrath" - Referring to the day of judgment, obviously an important element in John's preaching.


As noted above, the fruit of repentance is not an integral element of repentance. Repentance entails a turning to God for mercy, which mercy prompts a renewed life-style. John rightly identifies continued societal evils as evidence that the crowd's repentance is not genuine.

oun "-" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion / inferential, "then", Nolland; "Now produce fruits that answer to your repentance", Moffatt.

poihsate (poiew) aor. imp. "produce" - make, do. A strange expression, possibly a Hebraism. Often taken in the sense of "produce" or "prove", but best "let your lives then prove your change of heart", Weymouth.

axiouV adj. "[fruit] in keeping with [repentance]" - [fruits] worthy [of repentance]. This adjective, with its genitive complement, thV meanoiaV, "of repentance", may serve to limit "fruit", or as noted by Culy, serve "as the complement in an object-complement double accusative construction."

mh arxhsqe (arcw) aor. subj. "do not begin" - may begin. The negated subjunctive expressing a prohibition, "don't let the thought enter your minds that"; "do not even begin to say", Williams.

legein (legw) pres. inf. "to say" - The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "begin".

en + dat. "to [yourselves]" - in [yourselves]. Expressing space/sphere; "within yourselves", Berkeley.

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason, introducing a causal clause explaining why they cannot claim status as a descendent of Abraham.

uJmin dat. "[I tell] you" - [I say] to you. Dative of indirect object.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the Baptist tells them.

ek + gen. "from [these stones]" - Expressing source/origin. The allusion is unclear. Possibly alluding to Isaiah 51:1-2 where Abraham is referred to as a rock from which God cuts the stones who seek him. John's point is that "placement into blessing is not a matter of election through mere biology", Bock.

tw/ Abraam dat. "for Abraham" - Dative of interest, advantage, as NIV.


kai "-" - and. Ascensive; "it is even the case that", Nolland.

hdh adv. "already" - now, already. Emphasizing the urgent nature of John's message due to impending judgment.

proV + acc. "at" - to [to the root]. The sense is of movement toward, but with "laid" the sense implies movement having come to rest. So, the aiming stroke is indicated where the axe first touches the wood prior to the first stroke. An image of judgment.

twn dendrwn (on) gen. "of the trees" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

oun "and" - so, therefore, consequently, accordingly, then, so then. Drawing a logical conclusion / inferential, possibly expressed as a result; "so that every tree that does not produce good fruit", Weymouth.

mh poioun (poiew) pres. part. "does not produce" - not making. The present tense, as with "cut down", is gnomic, expressing a timeless fact. The negated participle is adverbial, possibly forming a conditional clause; "if a tree does not produce good fruit, it is cut down ..."

ekkoptetai (ekkoptw) pres. "will be cut down" - is cut down. Futuristic present tense.


b) A call for the fruit of repentance, v10-14: Heartfelt repentance accesses the mercy of God, which mercy prompts mercy. Here, radical generosity. Even tax collectors were prompted to repent (the profession of tax collector is not sinful in itself, but in the Roman provinces it was often corrupt - a form of legalized extortion) as were soldiers (neither is serving in the police force a sinful profession, but again, it is open to corruption. The solders referred to here are most likely Jews, members of Herod's local police).

poihswmen (poiew) aor. subj. "should we do" - Deliberative subjunctive. "What is the product that reflects true repentance?" Bock.

oun "then" - therefore. Inferential; "Given what you have just said, what should we do."

ephrwtwn (ephrwtaw) imperf. "[the crowd] asked" - [the crowds] were questioning [him]. Probably an inceptive imperfect, "they began to question him."

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant, expressing action accompanying the verb "were questioning."


apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "[John] answered" - having answered [he said to them]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "said".

oJ exwn (ecw) pres. part. "the man with [two tunics]" - the one having. The participle serves as a substantive.

metadotw (metadidwmi) aor. imp. "should share with" - let him share. Note how John defines the fruit of repentance in the terms of personal radical generosity. He neither calls for the abandonment of society (communalism), nor the reformation of society (political activism, etc.). This is not to say that either abandonment or involvement are necessarily wrong in themselves, just that mercy (generosity, kindness) is the primary fruit of repentance.

tw/ mh exonti (ecw) dat. pres. part. "the one who has none" - to the one not having. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object.


de "-" - but, and. Here transitional, introducing the next step in the narrative.

kai "even" - Either ascensive, as NIV, or adjunctive, "also", ie. adverbial.

telwnai (hV ou) "tax collectors" - Local duty collectors in the service of the Roman Government. They often used their franchise, under the authority of the Roman government, to collect duties on the sale and transport of goods, over and above a nominal commission.

baptisqhnai (baptizw) aor. pas. inf. "to be baptized" - The infinitive used to express purpose.

poihswmen (poiew) aor. subj. "[what] should we do?" - Deliberative subjunctive. "Master, what are we to do?" Phillips.


mhden .... prassete (prassw) pres. imp. "don't collect" - do. "Exact no more than the rate fixed", Barclay.

para + acc. "[any more] than" - beside. Comparative use of the preposition, "more than", taking the force of a comparative genitive.

to diatetagmenon (diatassw) perf. pas. part. "required" - that which having been demanded. The participle functions as a substantive; "fixed rate", Moffatt.


de "-" - but, and. Transitional, as above.

kai "then" - and. Adjunctive; "also".

strateuomenoi (strateuw) pres. part. "some soldiers" - serving as a soldier. The participle serves as a substantive, even though anarthrous. Either Jewish mercenaries in Roman service, or members of Herod Antipas' guard. "Police", Nolland.

enhrwtwn (eperwtaw) imperf. "asked" - were asking. Possibly repeated asking, although the imperfect is often used of speech.

mhdena diaseishte (diaseiw) aor. subj. "don't extort money" - shake, shake down. Subjunctive of prohibition. "Don't extort by violence."

mhde sukofanthshte (sukofantew) aor. subj. "don't accuse people falsely" - slander, cheat. Subjunctive of prohibition. Probably, "don't seek bribes."

toiV oywnioiV (on) dat. "with [your] pay" - the wages [of you]. Dative of reference; "with respect to your pay."


iii] Luke now emphasizes the fact that John, the agent of eschatological judgment, is not the messiah, but is subordinate to another, v15-18. Messianic expectation is high and so many in the crowd wonder whether John is the messiah. John indicates that his role is preparatory; he performs water baptism as a sign of repentance in preparation for the coming messiah. The messiah, who is about to inaugurate the long-expected kingdom, will baptize (in the sense of immerse or overwhelm) with / in the Holy Spirit and fire. Those who follow the coming messiah will be washed clean with his regenerating Spirit, but will also face the fire of persecution, of tribulation. Luke goes on in v17 to remind us that the coming judgment is central to John's gospel message - he good news of a coming messiah has its bad-news side. Luke explains in v18 that the above is but a summary of John's gospel preaching.

prosdokwntoV (prosdokaw) gen. pres. part. "[the people] were waiting expectantly" - the people being expectant. The participle with the noun tou laou, "the people", both being genitive, = a genitive absolute, usually forming a temporal clause; "while the people were in suspense", Williams. Yet, a causal clause seems more likely. The sense is that the crowd (Nolland suggests that "the people" = "the people of Israel", not just "the crowd", although the present audience seems best), which has come out to John, is now filled with messianic fervor due to his preaching, and therefore needs instruction; "As all this aroused people's expectations", Goodspeed.

dialogizomenwn (dialogizomai) gen. pres. part. "were [all] wondering" - wondering, discussing, reasoning [everyone]. Again, a genitive absolute formed with the gen. "everyone." Possibly temporal, "when they were all debating in their minds", Barclay, but see above.

en "in [their hearts]" - Expressing space/sphere; "All were reflecting fully on the matter", Bock.

peri + gen. "if [John]" - Reference; "in their hearts concerning John."

mhpote "might" - perhaps, lest. Possibly expecting a negative conclusion, ie. the people knew that John was not the messiah. Yet, it seems more likely that here the conjunction expresses doubt, particularly with the optative of the verb to-be. "Whether perhaps he could be the messiah."

oJ cristoV (oV) "the Christ" - the messiah. Properly rendered "the Messiah", Barclay.


legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - [John answered] saying [to all]. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant / Semitic construction; "John answered and said."

pasin "them all" - "All Israel", so Nolland, but surely, given the context, John is addressing all in the crowd being baptized. None-the-less, the words do apply to all Israel, as they do to all humanity.

men ...... de "....... but ....." - Comparative construction; "on the one hand I baptize ...... but on the other hand he who is mightier ....."

egw "I" - Emphatic by use and position.

baptizw pres. "I baptize" - Present tense = ongoing action; "I am baptizing with water", TH.

uJdati (wr atoV) dat. "with water" - The dative is probably instrumental, but the locative "in" is possible. The position is emphatic, so, "only with water."

oJ iscuroteroV comp. adj. "one more powerful" - the one stronger. "One mightier than I", NAB.

mou gen. pro. "than I" - of me. The genitive is ablative, of comparison, as NIV.

iJkanoV adj. "[I am not] worthy" - significant, able, worthy, adequate, competent.

lusai (luw) aor. inf. "to untie" - to loose. The infinitive is epexegetic, explaining the adjective (functioning as a substantive) "worthy", ie. explaining what John is not worthy to do.

twn uJpodhmatwn (a atoV) gen. "[the straps] of [whose] sandals" - [the strap] of the sandals [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

autoV "he" - Emphatic.

en + dat. "with" - in, with, by. Probably instrumental, "with", although locative, "in", is possible; "He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire", Williams.

pneumati aJgiw/ kai puri "the Holy Spirit and [with] fire" - The meaning of these words has prompted endless debate. A singular sense is possible, eg. "the purging (cleansing) Spirit", "the fire of the Holy Spirit", Phillips, or "the holy fire of judgment", but it is likely that the messiah "immerses / overwhelms" with both the Spirit (cleansing through regeneration) and fire (tribulation). This line of interpretation can be traced back to Origin, although it is not adopted by most modern commentators. Fitzmyer argues that the two-baptisms argument defies good grammar.


This verse may serve to explain baptism with Spirit and fire, or even just baptism with fire, but is more likely a separate, but central, element in John's gospel message, namely that "the day of judgment is at hand."

to ptuon (on) "[his] winnowing fork" - [whose] winnowing fork. An agricultural implement used to separate chaff from grain by casting both into the air on a windy day. Serving to image judgment, of the separation of the saved from the lost.

diakaqarai (diakaqairw) aor. inf. "to clear" - to clean out, thoroughly clean. Infinitive expressing purpose, "in order to cleanse."

sunagagein (sunagw) aor. inf. "to gather" - to gather, bring together, call together. The infinitive again expressing purpose, "in order to gather."

katakausei (katakaiw) fut. "he will burn up" - will burn up, consume.

puri asbestw/ dat. "with unquenchable fire" - with fire inextinguishable. Instrumental dative, as NIV. Meaning a fire that "cannot be extinguished rather than ... and endless fire which will never go out", Plummer (The notion of the ongoing punishment of the wicked is questionable). Alluding to the rubbish dump outside Jerusalem which was constantly burning and often used to image the horror of judgment, cf. Isa.34:10, 66:24, ..... "He will burn the chaff with fire that nothing can put out", Barclay.


Here Luke describes the breadth of John's preaching ministry which may be summed up as "proclaimed/communicated important news" (not "good news" for those who fail to repent). John's message "breaks out in various patterns of expression as human beings are confronted with God's rescuing action", Danker.

oun "-" - therefore. Possibly inferential, "so with many other exhortations ...", ESV, although probably just transitional; "now", Bock.

kai "and" - and . Probably adjunctive; "also", Bock.

men .... de .... "-" - Comparative construction with de used in v19; "now on the one hand with many words exhorting ....... but on the other hand he rebuked Herod ....."

polla .... eJtera "many other words" - many other. "Word's" assumed, although possibly "ways", cf. REB etc. The point is that the previous verses is but a summary of John's preaching. "These and many other things John said to the people as he exhorted them and announced the good news", Phillips.

parakalwn (parakalew) pres. part. "John exhorted" - exhorting, urging, admonishing. Nolland suggests "to admonish", reflecting John's stern message. So, although the participle "exhorting" may be adverbial, modal, expressing the manner by which John "proclaimed" / "preaching the good news" to the people, it is more likely to be attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying "preaching the good news"; "he admonished them to do many things (as listed above) and proclaimed the good news to them", cf. Culy. "In many different ways John preached the good news to the people", CEV.

euhggelizeto (euaggelizw) imperf. "preached the good news" - he was proclaiming. Usually a technical term referring to gospel preaching, so "evangelizing", but possibly just in the sense of communicating, "he spoke his message to the people", Moffatt.


iv] Luke now gives us a summary of John's encounter with Herod, v19-20. Luke reminds us that John prepares the way for Jesus in his suffering, as well as in his preaching.

de "but" - Adversative used in a comparative construction, see above.

elegcomenoV (elegcw) pres. pas. part. "when John rebuked" - being reproved, convicted, exposed, censured. Temporal participle, so NIV, but possibly causal; "But Herod the governor, because he was repeatedly reproved by John for (marrying / "for his relations with", NJB) Herodias his brother's wife, and for all the wicked deeds that Herod had done", Williams.

uJp (uJpo) + gen. "by [him]" - Ultimate agency.

peri + gen. "because of" - concerning, about [Herodias]. Reference; "concerning Herodias."

tou adelfou (oV) gen. "brother's" - of the brother. The genitive is adjectival, relational. Herodias was initially married to Herod, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, but then married his younger brother, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great and his second wife, Malthake.

kai peri pantwn "and all" - and concerning all things. "And for all the other crimes he had committed, v20, added a further crime to all the rest by shutting John up in prison", NJB.

wJn gen. "-" - [and about all sins] which / that [Herod did]. An example of the direct attraction of the relative pronoun into the case of its antecedent, here "all". The case is determined by its function in the clause, so accusative might have been expected, but through attraction it is genitive. "All the wicked deeds that he had done", Weymouth.


proseqhken (prostiqhmi) aor. "Herod added" - he added, put on [this also on top of everything]. Herod's greatest crime (to date) was to silence the prophet. "Crowned them all by shutting John up in prison", REB.

epi + dat. "to [them all]" - upon, on top of [everything]. Spacial.

en + dat. "in [prison]" - Expressing space/sphere.


Luke Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]