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Bible Commentaries
Luke 3

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


It was the fifteenth year of the rule of Emperor Tiberius. Tiberius was the step-son of Emperor Augustus (Luke 2:1), and followed him as Emperor. Luke gives great detail to pinpoint the date of this. It would be 26 A.D. by our calendar.

Verse 2


Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. The Jews accepted only one high priest, who held that position for life. But Pilate, the Roman governor, had set aside Annas, and appointed Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, as high priest in his place. Both were called high priests at the same time. The word of God came to John. This is God’s call for John to begin his work. John is 30 years old at this point, 6 months older than Jesus.

Verse 3


So John went throughout the whole territory. See notes on Matthew 3:1-12.

Verse 7


You snakes! John said this to the Pharisees (Matthew 3:7).

Verses 10-11

10–11. What are we to do, then? The baptized must be taught; and those who baptized them are required to teach them (Matthew 28:19-20). John’s answer gives his moral code – which is more concerned with external conduct, while Jesus puts more stress on the inner motives that create the outward conduct. [John preached renewal; Jesus came to make possible a new birth. See notes on Acts 19:1-7.]

Verses 12-13

12–13. Some tax collectors. Jews who collected taxes for the Roman Occupation Government.

Verse 14

14. Some soldiers also asked him. These were probably Jews or Gentiles converted to Judaism who were part of the Roman army.

Verses 19-20


But John spoke against Governor Herod. See notes on Matthew 14:1-12.

Verses 21-22


Jesus also was baptized. See notes on Matthew 3:13-17. Luke alone points out that Jesus was praying when heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came down like a dove. Luke shows Jesus praying at each crisis in his life.

Verses 23-38


When Jesus began his work. Luke gives the Genealogy of Jesus, and this is compared with Matthew’s Genealogy in notes on Matthew 1:1-17. Luke evidently gives the family record of Mary, since Heli was her father, Joseph’s father was Jacob. This was “standard practice” to state it as Luke does, and the Jews, who were very accurate about such things, did not dispute either set of “family records.” He was the son, so people thought, of Joseph. Joseph was Jesus’ LEGAL father, and perhaps only Mary and Joseph [at this time] knew the Miraculous Birth of Jesus. [See note on Matthew 27:56 about the difficulty of tracing names at this time.]

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/luke-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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