Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:6

and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - John;   Jordan;   Minister, Christian;   Repentance;   Sin;   Thompson Chain Reference - Baptism;   John's;   Jordan;   Sacraments;   The Topic Concordance - Baptism;   John the Baptist;   Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Baptism;   Jordan, the River;   Rivers;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Confession;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Confess, Confession;   Messiah;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Hutchinsonians;   Easton Bible Dictionary - John the Baptist;   Jordan;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Confession;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Matthew, the Gospel of;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Confession;   John the Baptist;   Jordan;   Mss;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Baptism ;   Confession (of Christ);   Confession (of Sin);   John the Baptist;   Judaea;   Old Testament (Ii. Christ as Student and Interpreter of).;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Confession;   John the Baptist;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jordan;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Kingdom of christ of heaven;   Kingdom of god;   Kingdom of heaven;   Levi;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Confession;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - John, the Baptize;   Jesus of Nazareth;   Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Baptism (the Baptist Interpretation);   Confession;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Trine (Triune) Immersion;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Baptism;   Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;  
Devotionals:
Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for December 26;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Were baptized - In what form baptism was originally administered, has been deemed a subject worthy of serious dispute. Were the people dipped or sprinkled? for it is certain βαπτω and βαπτιζω mean both. They were all dipped, say some. Can any man suppose that it was possible for John to dip all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea, and of all the country round about the Jordan? Were both men and women dipped, for certainly both came to his baptism? This could never have comported either with safety or with decency. Were they dipped in their clothes? This would have endangered their lives, if they had not with them change of raiment: and as such a baptism as John's (however administered) was, in several respects, a new thing in Judea, it is not at all likely that the people would come thus provided. But suppose these were dipped, which I think it would be impossible to prove, does it follow that, in all regions of the world, men and women must be dipped, in order to be evangelically baptized? In the eastern countries, bathings were frequent, because of the heat of the climate, it being there so necessary to cleanliness and health; but could our climate, or a more northerly one, admit of this with safety, for at least three-fourths of the year? We may rest assured that it could not. And may we not presume, that if John had opened his commission in the north of Great Britain, for many months of the year, he would have dipped neither man nor woman, unless he could have procured a tepid bath? Those who are dipped or immersed in water, in the name of the Holy Trinity, I believe to be evangelically baptized - those who are washed or sprinkled with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, I believe to be equally so; and the repetition of such a baptism I believe to be profane. Others have a right to believe the contrary, if they see good. After all, it is the thing signified, and not the mode, which is the essential part of the sacrament. See the note on Mark 10:16.

Confessing their sins - Εξομολογουμενοι, earnestly acknowledging that their sins were their own. And thus taking the whole blame upon themselves, and laying nothing to the charge of God or man. This is essential to true repentance; and, till a man take the whole blame on himself, he cannot feel the absolute need he has of casting his soul on the mercy of God, that he may be saved.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/matthew-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Were baptized - The word “baptize” βαπτίζω baptizosignifies originally to tinge, to dye, to stain, as those who dye clothes. It here means to cleanse or wash anything by the application of water. See the notes at Mark 7:4. Washing, or ablution, was much in use among the Jews, as one of the rites of their religion, Numbers 19:7; Hebrews 9:10. It was not customary, however, among them to baptize those who were converted to the Jewish religion until after the Babylonian captivity. At the time of John, and for some time previous, they had been accustomed to administer a rite of baptism, or washing, to those who became proselytes to their religion; that is, to those who were converted from being Gentiles. This was done to signify that they renounced the errors and worship of the pagans, and as significant of their becoming pure by embracing a new religion.

It was a solemn rite of washing, significant of cleansing from their former sins, and purifying them for the special service of Yahweh. John found this custom in use; and as he was calling the Jews to a new dispensation - to a change in their form of religion - he administered this rite of baptism (washing), to signify the cleansing from sin, the adopting of the new dispensation, or the fitness for the pure reign of the Messiah. He applied an old ordinance to a new purpose. As it was used by him it was a significant rite, or ceremony, intended to denote the putting away of impurity, and a purpose to be pure in heart and life. The Hebrew word טבל Tabalwhich is rendered by the word “baptize,” occurs in the Old Testament in the following places, namely: Leviticus 4:6; Leviticus 14:6, Leviticus 14:51; Numbers 19:18; Rth 2:14 ; Exodus 12:22; Deuteronomy 33:24; Joshua 3:15; Job 9:31; Leviticus 9:9; 1 Samuel 14:27 (twice); 2 Kings 5:14; 2 Kings 8:15; Genesis 37:31; Joshua 3:15.

It occurs in no other places; and from a careful examination of these passages its meaning among the Jews is to be derived. From these passages it will be seen that its radical meaning is neither to sprinkle nor to immerse. It is to dip, commonly for the purpose of sprinkling, or for some other purpose.

Thus, to dip the finger, i. e., a part of the finger, in blood enough to sprinkle with, Leviticus 4:6. To dip a living bird, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, in the blood of the bird that was killed, for the purpose of sprinkling; where it could not be that all these would be immersed the blood of a single bird, Leviticus 14:6. To dip hyssop in the water, to sprinkle with, Numbers 19:18. To dip a portion of bread in vinegar, Rth 2:14 . To dip the feet in oil - an emblem of plenty, Deuteronomy 33:24. To dye, or stain, Ezekiel 23:15. To plunge into a ditch, so as to defile the clothes, Job 9:31. To dip the end of a staff in honey, 1 Samuel 14:27. To dip in Jordan - a declaration respecting Naaman the Syrian, 2 Kings 5:14. The direction of the prophet was to wash himself 2 Kings 5:10, and this shows that he understood washing and baptizing to mean the same thing. To dip a towel, or quilt, so as to spread it on the face of a man to smother him, 2 Kings 8:15.

In none of these cases can it be shown that the meaning of the word is to immerse entirely But in nearly all the cases the notion of applying the water to a part only of the person or object, though it was by dipping, is necessarily to be supposed.

In the New Testament the word βαπτίζω baptizoin various forms, occurs 80 times; 57 with reference to persons. Of these 57 times, it is followed by “in” ἐν en18 times, as in water, in the desert, in Jordan; 9 times by “into” εἰς eisas into the name, etc., into Christ; once it is followed by ἐπί epi Acts 2:38, and twice by “for” ὑπέρ huper 1 Corinthians 15:29.

The following remarks may be made in view of the investigation of the meaning of this word:

1.That in baptism it is possible, perhaps probable, that the notion of dipping would be the one that would occur to a Jew.

2.It would not occur to him that the word meant of necessity to dip entirely, or to immerse completely.

3.The notion of washing would be the one which would most readily occur, as connected with a religious rite. See the cases of Naaman, and Mark 7:4 (Greek).

4.It cannot be proved from an examination of the passages in the Old and New Testaments that the idea of a complete immersion was ever connected with the word, or that it ever occurred in any case. If those who were baptized went into the water, it is still not proved by that, that the only mode of baptism was by immersion, since it might have been by pouring, though they were in the water.

5.It is not positively enjoined anywhere in the New Testament that the only mode of baptism shall be by an entire submersion of the body under water. Without such a precept it cannot be made obligatory on people of all ages, nations, and climes, even if it were probable that in the mild climate of Judea it was the usual mode.

In Jordan - The River Jordan is the eastern boundary of Palestine or Judea. It rises in Mount Lebanon, on the north of Palestine, and runs in a southerly direction, underground, for 13 miles, and then bursts forth with a great noise at Cesarea Philippi. It then unites with two small streams, and runs some miles farther, and empties into the Lake Merom. From this small lake it flows 13 miles, and then falls into the Lake Gennesareth, otherwise called the Sea of Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee. Through the middle of this lake, which is 15 miles long and from 6 miles to 9 miles wide, it flows undisturbed, and preserves a southerly direction for about 70 miles, and then falls into the Dead Sea. The Jordan, at its entrance into the Dead Sea, is about 90 feet wide. It flows in many places with great rapidity, and when swollen by rains pours like an impetuous torrent. It formerly regularly overflowed its banks in time of harvest, that is, in March, in some places 600 paces, Joshua 3:15; 1 Chronicles 12:15. These banks are covered with small trees and shrubs, and afford a convenient dwelling for wild beasts. Allusion is often made to these thickets in the sacred Scriptures, Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44. On the reason why a river, or a place abounding in water, was selected for administering baptism, see the notes at John 3:23.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Matthew 3:6

Baptized of Him.

I. In baptism we are admitted to the kingdom of Christ.

1. Presented unto Him.

2. Consigned with His Sacrament.

3. Witnessing a good confession.

4. Undertaking a holy life.

II. In baptism we

III. Baptism Is

IV. Baptism is adoption into the

Baptism

1. An initiatory rite.

2. A leading ordinance.

3. A confirmatory rite.

4. An instrument of regeneration.

5. A representative ordinance.

6. A sealing ordinance. (T. Watson, M. A.)

Confessing their sins.

The nobility of compression;

1. Confession of sin should not be made to every one we meet; it should be discriminating.

2. It should be honest.

3. The moment a man attempts to be honest with himself in respect to his moral character, and to make confession before God, everything that is in Him rises up against him:-

1. Reason. Reason suborned by his feeling: refuses to investigate. It returns false reports.

2. Pride. How on the proud man do the evidences of sin beat as hailstones on a slate roof, and never penetrate. The mouth of pride has the lockjaw, when it is a question of confessing wrong.

3. “Vanity. Vanity teaches men to regard more the opinions of men than of God.

4. Conscience. When ready to confess, conscience says, “Stop, insincere hypocrite.”

5. Prudence. “Let well alone.” Let the past alone.

6. Yet is there anything nobler than confession of wrong done? It is a way of pleasantness and peace.

7. Do not be afraid to confess your sin to Jesus. It is easy for sorrow to confess to love. (H. W. Beecher.)

Confession without extenuation

Men’s faults lie like reptiles-like toads, like lizards, like serpents; and what if there is over them the evening sky, lit with glory, and all aglow? All the gorgeousness of the departing day, shining down on a reptile, leaves it a reptile still. Men think, “I am generous; I am full of fine feelings; I am endowed with superior taste; “ but what of that? Down in the very thicket; down where men do not love often to go-there their faults lie nestling. (H. W. Beecher.)

Compression should realize the nature and peril of sin

Ah! the bank is breaking away. A craw-fish has pierced it. The stream is working, and working and working. The engineer is sent up to see if all is safe. He sees that a stream is running through the bank, big as his finger. He looks at it, and waits to see if the stream enlarges. Soon it is as big as his two fingers. He waits a little longer, and it is as big as his hand. It is wearing on either side the opening, and the waters are beginning to find it out, and slowly they swirl on the inside towards this point. It will not be many hours before the bank will be so torn that it will give way, and the flood will pour through the crevasse. But the engineer goes back and says, “Well, there was a little rill there. But it was a very beautiful place: I never saw a prettier bank than that. The trees that grow in the neighbourhood are superb; and the shrubbery there is very fragrant and charming; and the moisture which finds its way through the bank seems to nourish all vegetation near it.” “Well, but the break! How about that?” “It was something of a break; but, as I was saying, it is a beautiful spot. And right there is a fine plantation; and the man that owns it-” “But how about the crevasse? Yes, there was a little crevasse; but, as I was saying, all things conspire to make it a lovely scene.” What kind of a report is that, of an engineer sent out to investigate, when it is question of impending ruin? What kind of a report is that, when the elements are at work which will soon launch desolation on the neighbourhood? Send the engineer Reason into a man’s soul, and ask it to report concerning the habit of drinking in the man. It comes back and says, “Oh! well, he takes a little for the oft infirmities of his stomach; but he is a good fellow, he is a strong man, and his heart is in the right place.” “But what about his habit? … He takes a little now and then; but, as I was saying, he is a generous fellow. If you had heard of his kindnesses to that family when they were in distress-” “But what about his habit?” (H. W. Beecher.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 3:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And were baptized of him,.... The place where they were baptized of him was, "in Jordan"; some copies read, "in the river Jordan", as in Mark 1:5. As to the name of this river, and the etymology of it, the Jews sayF12T. Bab. Becorot. fol. 55. 1. Kimchi in Josh. xix. 47. it was so called, שיורד מדן "because it descended" from Dan, i.e. Leshem Dan, or Pamias, which they say is a cave at the head of it. It was in John's time and long after a considerable river, a river to swim in; weF13T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 9. 2. read that "Resh Lakish הוה סחי בירדנא was swimming in Jordan." And elsewhereF14T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 84. 1. , that one day "R. Jochanan was swimming in Jordan." Also it was a river for boats and ships to pass in, so that it was a navigable river; hence we readF15T. Hieros. Sabbat. fol. 7. 1. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 64. 2. of עריבת הירדן "the boat of Jordan", and of ships in it, and of such and such things being forbidden to be carried over Jordan in a shipF16T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 116. 2. Chagiga, fol. 23. 1. Sabbat. fol. 60. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Parah Adumah, c. 10. sect. 2. & Bartenora in Misn. Parah, c. 9. sect. 6. ; particularly,

"a man might not take the water of the sin offering, and the ashes of the sin offering, and carry them over Jordan in a ship.'

PlinyF17Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 15. , PausaniasF18L. 5. p. 29. , SolinusF19Polyhist. c. 48. , and others, speak of it as a very considerable and delightful river; see Joshua 3:15. The Christians of Christ's time are called by the Jews, in a way of contempt, apostates, that received the doctrine of baptism, and were טבולים בירדן "dipped in Jordan"F20Cosri, p. 3. sect. 65. p. 241. Ed. Buxtorf. . The manner in which they were baptized by him was by immersion or plunging them in the water: this may be concluded from the signification of the word βαπτιζω where used, which in the primary sense of it signifies to dip or plunge; from the place in which they were baptized, "the river Jordan"; and from John's constant manner of baptizing elsewhere, who chose places for this purpose, where and because there was there much water; see John 1:28. The character of the persons baptized by him is this, they were such as were

confessing their sins. They were called to repentance by John's ministry, and had the grace of it bestowed upon them; being thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly sorry for it, they were ready to acknowledge and confess it to God and men; and such an abiding sense they had of it upon their minds, that they continued doing it: they were not only confessing their sins before baptism, which engaged John to administer it to them; since we find afterwards he refused to admit others, because of their want of repentance and fruits meet for it; but also whilst they were going into the water, and when they came up out of it, so full were they of a sense of sin, and so ready to own it. Even in baptism itself there is a tacit confession and acknowledgment of sin, for it represents the sufferings and death of Christ which were for sin, into which persons are baptized, and profess to be dead to sin thereby; and also the resurrection of Christ for justification from sin, which obliges the baptized person to walk in newness of life, see Romans 6:3 besides, in this ordinance believers are led to the blood of Christ, both for the cleansing and remission of their sins, which suppose filth and guilt, Acts 22:16 and Acts 2:38. Now this is the character given of the very first persons that were baptized by John, and ought surely to be attended to, by us; and as much care as possible should be taken, that none but such as have a true sense of sin, and are brought to an humble and hearty acknowledgment of it, be admitted to this ordinance.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And were baptized of him in Jordan, h confessing their sins.

(h) Acknowledging that they were saved only by free remission and forgiveness of their sins.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins — probably confessing aloud. This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt need of deliverance from sin, of their expectation of the coming Deliverer, and of their readiness to welcome Him when He appeared. The baptism itself startled, and was intended to startle, them. They were familiar enough with the baptism of proselytes from heathenism; but this baptism of Jews themselves was quite new and strange to them.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

6. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

[And were baptized.] It is no unfit or unprofitable question, whence it came to pass that there was so great a conflux of men to the Baptist, and so ready a reception of his baptism?

I. The first reason is, Because the manifestation of the Messias was then expected, the weeks of Daniel being now spent to the last four years. Let us consult a little his text:--

Daniel 9:24. "Seventy weeks [of years] are decreed concerning thy people," &c. That is, four hundred and ninety years, from the first of Cyrus to the death of Christ. These years are divided into three parts, and they very unequal.

1. Into seven weeks, or forty-nine years, from the giving of Cyrus' patent for the rebuilding Jerusalem, to the finishing the rebuilding of it by Nehemiah.

2. Into sixty-two weeks, or four hundred thirty-four years,--namely, from the finishing the building of the city to the beginning of the last week of the seventy. In which space of time, the times of the Persian empire (which remained after Nehemiah, if indeed there was any time now remaining), and the times of the Grecian empire, and of the Syro-Grecian, were all run out, and those times also, wherein the Romans ruled over the Jews.

3. The holy text divides the last week, or the last seven years, into two equal parts, verse 27; which I thus render; "And he shall strengthen, or confirm, the covenant with many in that one week: and the half of that week shall make the sacrifice and oblation to cease: or, in the half of that week he shall make to cease," &c. Not in the middle of that week, but in the latter half, that is, the latter three years and a half of the seven.

First, seven weeks having been reckoned up before, and then sixty-two weeks, verse 25,--now there remained one only of the seventy; and in reference to that, in the middle of it the Messias shall begin his ministry; which being finished in three years and a half (the latter halved part of that week), "he shall make the sacrifice and oblation to cease," &c.

The nation could not but know, could not but take great notice of, the times so exactly set out by the angel Gabriel. Since, therefore, the coming of the Messias was the great wish and desire of all,--and since the time of his appearing was so clearly decreed by the angel that nothing could be more,--and when the latter half of the last seven years, chiefly to be observed, was now, within a very little, come:--it is no wonder if the people, hearing from this venerable preacher that the kingdom of heaven was now come, should be stirred up beyond measure to meet him, and should flock to him. For, as we observed before, "They thought that the kingdom of God would immediately be manifested," Luke 19:11.

II. Another reason of it was this,--the institution of baptism, for an evangelical sacrament, was first in the hand of the Baptist, who, "the word of the Lord coming to him," (Luke 3:2) went forth, backed with the same authority as the chiefest prophets had in times past. But yet the first use of baptism was not exhibited at that time. For baptism, very many centuries of years backwards, had been both known and received in most frequent use among the Jews,--and for the very same end as it now obtains among Christians,--namely, that by it proselytes might be admitted into the church; and hence it was called Baptism for proselytism: and was distinct from Baptism [or washing] from uncleanness. See the Babylonian Talmud in Jevamoth.

I. I ascribe the first use of it, for this end, to the patriarch Jacob, when he chose into his family and church the young women of Sychem, and other heathens who then lived with him. "Jacob said to his family, and to all who were with him, Put away from you the strange gods, and be ye clean, and change your garments," &c. Genesis 35:2. What that words means, and be ye clean, Aben Ezra does very well interpret to be the washing of the body, or baptism; which reason itself also persuades us to believe.

II. All the nation of Israel do assert, as it were with one mouth, that all the nation of Israel were brought into the covenant, among other things, by baptism. "Israel (saith Maimonides, the great interpreter of the Jewish law) was admitted into the covenant by three things,--namely, by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice. Circumcision was in Egypt; as it is said, 'None uncircumcised shall eat of the passover.' Baptism was in the wilderness before the giving of the law; as it is said, 'Thou shalt sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments.'"

III. They assert, that that infinite number of proselytes in the day of David and Solomon were admitted by baptism: "The Sanhedrims received not proselytes in the days of David and Solomon: not in the days of David, lest they should betake themselves to proselytism out of a fear of the kingdom of Israel: not in the days of Solomon, lest they might do the same by reason of the glory of the kingdom. And yet abundance of proselytes were made in the days of David and Solomon before private men; and the great Sanhedrim was full of care about this business: for they would not cast them out of the church, because they were baptized," &c.

IV. "Whensoever any heathen will betake himself, and be joined to the covenant of Israel, and place himself under the wings of the divine Majesty, and take the yoke of the law upon him, voluntary circumcision, baptism, and oblation, are required: but if it be a woman, baptism and oblation."

That was a common axiom No man is a proselyte until he be circumcised and baptized. It is disputed by the Babylonian Gemara, "A proselyte, that is circumcised and not baptized, what of him? R. Eliezer saith Behold, he is a proselyte: for so we find concerning our fathers, that they were circumcised, but not baptized. One is baptized, but not circumcised; what of him? R. Joshua saith, Behold, he is a proselyte: for so we find concerning the maidservants, who were baptized, but not circumcised. But the wise men say, Is he baptized, and not circumcised? Or, Is he circumcised, and not baptized? He is not a proselyte, until he be circumcised and baptized."

But baptism was sufficient for women so far forth as this held good, "One baptizeth a heathen woman in the name of a woman, we can assert that for a deed rightly done." Where the Gloss is this; "To be baptized in the name of a woman, was to be baptized with the washing of a woman polluted, and not with the baptism to proselytism. But we may, nevertheless, assert her, who is so baptized, for a complete proselytess; because that baptism of washing for uncleanness serves for proselytism to her; for a heathen woman is not baptized [or washed] for uncleanness."

V. They baptized also young children (for the most part with their parents). They baptize a little proselyte according to the judgment of the Sanhedrim: that is, as the Gloss renders it, "If he be deprived of his father, and his mother brings him to be made a proselyte, they baptize him [because none becomes a proselyte without circumcision and baptism] according to the judgment [or right] of the Sanhedrim; that is, that three men be present at the baptism, who are now instead of a father to him."

And the Gemara a little after; If with a proselyte his sons and his daughters are made proselytes also, that which is done by their father redounds to their good. R. Joseph saith, When they grow into years, they may retract. Where the Gloss writes thus; "This is to be understood of little children, who are made proselytes together with their father."

"A heathen woman, if she is made a proselytess, when she is now big with child,--the child needs not baptism: for the baptism of his mother serves him for baptism." Otherwise, he were to be baptized.

"If an Israelite take a Gentile child, or find a Gentile infant, and baptizeth him in the name of a proselyte,--behold, he is a proselyte."

We cannot also pass over that, which indeed is worthy to be remembered: "Any one's servant is to be circumcised, though he be unwilling; but any one's son is not to be circumcised, if he be unwilling. R. Jochanan inquired, Behold a little son; do you circumcise him by force? Yea, although he be as the son of Urcan. R. Hezekiah saith, Behold, a man finds an infant cast out, and he baptizeth him in the name of a servant: in the name of a freeman, do you also circumcise him in the name of a freeman."

We have therefore alleged these things the more largely, not only that you may receive satisfaction concerning the people flocked, in so universal a concourse, to John's baptism (because baptism was no strange thing to the Jews); but that some other things may be observed hence, which afford some light to certain places of Scripture, and will help to clear some knotty questions about baptism.

First, You see baptism inseparably joined to the circumcision of proselytes. There was, indeed, some little distance of time; for "they were not baptized till the pain of circumcision was healed, because water might be injurious to the wound." But certainly baptism ever followed. We acknowledge, indeed, that circumcision was plainly of divine institution; but by whom baptism, that was inseparable from it, was instituted, is doubtful. And yet it is worthy of observation, our Saviour rejected circumcision, and retained the appendix to it: and when all the Gentiles were now to be introduced into the true religion, he preferred this 'proselytical introductory' (pardon the expression) unto the sacrament of entrance into the gospel.

One might observe the same almost in the eucharist. The lamb in the Passover was of divine institution, and so indeed was the bread. But whence was the wine? But yet, rejecting the lamb, Christ instituted the sacrament in the bread and wine.

Secondly, Observing from these things which have been spoken, how very known and frequent the use of baptism was among the Jews, the reason appears very easy why the Sanhedrim, by their messengers, inquired not of John concerning the reason of baptism, but concerning the authority of the baptizer; not what baptism meant, but whence he had a license so to baptize, John 1:25.

Thirdly, Hence also the reason appears why the New Testament doth not prescribe, by some more accurate rule, who the persons are to be baptized. The Anabaptists object, 'It is not commanded to baptize infants,--therefore they are not to be baptized.' To whom I answer, 'It is not forbidden to baptize infants,--therefore they are to be baptized.' And the reason is plain. For when Paedobaptism in the Jewish church was so known, usual, and frequent, in the admission of proselytes, that nothing almost was more known, usual, and frequent,--

1. There was no need to strengthen it with any precept, when baptism was now passed into an evangelical sacrament. For Christ took baptism into his hands, and into evangelical use, as he found it; this only added, that he might promote it to a worthier end and a larger use. The whole nation knew well enough that little children used to be baptized: there was no need of a precept for that which had ever, by common use, prevailed. If a royal proclamation should now issue forth in these words, "Let every one resort, on the Lord's day, to the public assembly in the church"; certainly he would be mad, who, in times to come, should argue hence that prayers, sermons, singing of psalms, were not to be celebrated on the Lord's day in the public assemblies, because there is no mention of them in the proclamation. For the proclamation provided for the celebration of the Lord's day in the public assemblies in general: but there was no need to make mention of the particular kinds of the divine worship to be celebrated there, when they were always, and every where, well known and in daily use before the publishing of the proclamation, and when it was published. The case is the very same in baptism. Christ instituted it for an evangelical sacrament, whereby all should be admitted into the possession of the gospel, as heretofore it was used for admission into proselytism to the Jewish religion. The particulars belonging to it,--as, the manner of baptizing, the age, the sex to be baptized, &c.--had no need of a rule and definition; because these were, by the common use of them, sufficiently known even to mechanics and the most ignorant men.

2. On the other hand, therefore, there was need of a plain and open prohibition that infants and little children should not be baptized, if our Saviour would not have had them baptized. For, since it was most common, in all ages foregoing, that little children should be baptized, if Christ had been minded to have that custom abolished, he would have openly forbidden it. Therefore his silence, and the silence of the Scripture in this matter, confirms Paedobaptism, and continueth it unto all ages.

Fourthly, It is clear enough, by what hath been already said, in what sense that is to be taken in the New Testament which we sometimes meet with,--namely, that the master of the family was baptized with his whole family, Acts 16:15, 33, &c. Nor is it of any strength which the Anti-paedobaptists contend for, that it cannot be proved there were infants in those families; for the inquiry is not so proper, whether there were infants in those families, as it is concluded truly and deservedly,--if there were, they had all been to be baptized. Nor do I believe this people, that flocked to John's baptism, were so forgetful of the manner and custom of the nation, that they brought not their little children also with them to be baptized.

Some things are now to be spoken of the manner and form which John used.

First, In some things he seems to have followed the manner whereby proselytes were baptized; in other things, not to have followed them. Concerning it the Talmudic Canons have these sayings:--

I. They do not baptize a proselyte by night. Nor, indeed, "were the unclean to be washed but in the day-time." Maimonides adds, "They baptized not a proselyte on the sabbath, nor on a holy-day, nor by night."

II. A proselyte hath need of three: that is, it is required, that three men, who are scholars of the wise men, be present at the baptism of a proselyte; who may take care that the business be rightly performed, and may briefly instruct the catechumen [the person to be baptized], and may judge of the matter itself. For the admission of a proselyte was reckoned no light matter; Proselytes are dangerous to Israel, like the itch, was an axiom. For they, either tenacious of their former customs, or ignorant of the law of Israel, have corrupted others with their example; or, being mingled with Israel, were the cause that the divine glory did rest the less upon them; because it resteth not on any but upon families of a nobler pedigree. These reasons the Glossers give. When, therefore, the admission of proselytes was of so great moment, they were not to be admitted but by the judicial consistory of three.

III. They baptize a proselyte in such a confluence of waters as was fit for the washing of a menstruous woman. Of such a confluence of waters the lawyers have these words: "A man that hath the gonorrhea is cleansed nowhere but in a fountain: but a menstruous woman, as also all other unclean persons, were washed in some confluence of waters; in which so much water ought to be as may serve to wash the whole body at one dipping. Our wise men have esteemed this proportion to be a cubit square, and three cubits depth: and this measure contains forty seahs of water."

When it is said, that "he that hath the gonorrhea is to wash in a spring [or a stream]; but a menstruous woman, and all other unclean persons, in some confluence of waters,"--it forbids not a menstruous woman, and other unclean persons, to wash in streams, where they might: but it permits, where they might not, to wash in some confluence of water; which was not lawful for a man that had the gonorrhea to do. The same is to be understood concerning the baptism of a proselyte, who was allowed to wash himself in streams: and was allowed also, where there were no streams, to wash in a confluence of waters.

IV. When a proselyte was to be circumcised, they first asked him concerning the sincerity of his conversion to Judaism: whether he offered not himself to proselytism for the obtaining riches, for fear, or for love to some Israelite woman, &c. And when they saw that he came out of love of the law, they instructed him concerning the various articles of the law, of one God, of the evil of idolatry, of the reward of obedience, of the world to come, of the privileges of Israel, &c. All which, if he professed that he embraced them he is forthwith circumcised.

"As soon as he grows whole of the wound of circumcision, they bring him to baptism; and being placed in the water, they again instruct him in some weightier and in some lighter commands of the law. Which being heard, he plunges himself, and comes up, and behold, he is as an Israelite in all things. The women place a woman in the waters up to the neck; and two disciples of the wise men, standing without, instruct her about some lighter precepts of the law and some weightier, while she, in the meantime, stands in the waters. And then she plungeth herself; and they, turning away their faces, go out, while she comes up out of the water."

In the baptizing of a proselyte, this is not to be passed over, but let it be observed, namely, that others baptized him, and that he baptized himself, or dipped, or plunged himself in the waters. Now, what that plunging was, you may understand from those things which Maimonides speaks in Mikvaoth in the place before cited. "Every person baptized" [or dipped, whether he were washed from pollution, or baptized into proselytism], "must dip his whole body, now stripped and made naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the law washing of the body or garments is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole body. For if any wash himself all over, except the very top of his little finger, he is still in his uncleanness. And if any hath much hair, he must wash all the hair of his head, for that also was reckoned for the body. But if any should enter into the water with their clothes on, yet their washing holds good; because the water would pass through their clothes, and their garments would not hinder it."

And now, a little to compare the baptism of John with that proselytical baptism, and ours with both, these things are to be considered:--

I. If you compare the washing of polluted persons, prescribed by the law, with the baptism of proselytes,--both that and this imply uncleanness, however something different, that implies legal uncleanness,--this, heathen,--but both polluting. But a proselyte was baptized not only into the washing-off of that Gentile pollution, nor only thereby to be transplanted into the religion of the Jews; but that by the most accurate rite of translation that could possibly be, he might so pass into an Israelite, that, being married to an Israelite woman, he might produce a free and legitimate seed, and an undefiled offspring. Hence, servants that were taken into a family were baptized,--and servants also that were to be made free: not so much because they were defiled with heathen uncleanness, as that, by that rite becoming Israelites in all respects, they might be more fit to match with Israelites, and their children be accounted as Israelites. And hence the sons of proselytes, in following generations, were circumcised indeed, but not baptized. They were circumcised, that they might take upon themselves the obligation of the law; but they needed not baptism, because they were already Israelites. From these things it is plain that there was some difference as to the end, between the Mosaical washings of unclean persons, and the baptism of proselytes; and some between the baptism of proselytes and John's baptism: not as though they concurred not in some parallel end; but because other ends were added over and above to this or that, or some ends were withdrawn.

II. The baptism of proselytes was the bringing over of Gentiles into the Jewish religion; the baptism of John was the bringing over of Jews into another religion. And hence it is the more to be wondered at, that the people so readily flocked to him, when he introduced a baptism so different from the known proselytical baptism. The reason of which is to be fetched from hence,--that at the coming of the Messias they thought, not without cause, that the state of things was plainly to be changed; and that, from the oracles of the prophets, who, with one mouth, described the times of the Messias for a new world. Hence was that received opinion, That God, at that time, would renew the world for a thousand years...And that also, that they used the world to come by a form of speech very common among them, for the times of the Messias; which we observe more largely elsewhere.

III. The baptism of proselytes was an obligation to perform the law; that of John was an obligation to repentance. For although proselytical baptism admitted of some ends,--and circumcision of others,--yet a traditional and erroneous doctrine at that time had joined this to both, that the proselytes covenanted in both, and obliged himself to perform the law; to which that of the apostle relates, Galatians 5:3, "I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."

But the baptism of John was a 'baptism of repentance'; Mark 1:4: which being undertaken, they who were baptized professed to renounce their own legal righteousness; and, on the contrary, acknowledged themselves to be obliged to repentance and faith in the Messias to come. How much the Pharisaical doctrine of justification differed from the evangelical, so much the obligation undertaken in the baptism of proselytes differed from the obligation undertaken in the baptism of John: which obligation also holds amongst Christians to the end of the world.

IV. That the baptism of John was by plunging the body (after the same manner as the washing of unclean persons, and the baptism of proselytes was), seems to appear from those things which are related of him; namely, that he "baptized in Jordan"; that he baptized "in Aenon, because there was much water there"; and that Christ, being baptized, "came up out of the water": to which that seems to be parallel, Acts 8:38, "Philip and the eunuch went down into the water," &c. Some complain, that this rite is not retained in the Christian church, as though it something derogated from the truth of baptism; or as though it were to be called an innovation, when the sprinkling of water is used instead of plunging. This is no place to dispute of these things. Let us return these three things only for a present answer:--

1. That the notion of washing in John's baptism differs from ours, in that he baptized none who were not brought over from one religion, and that an irreligious one too,--into another, and that a true one. But there is no place for this among us who are born Christians: the condition, therefore, being varied, the rite is not only lawfully, but deservedly, varied also. Our baptism argues defilement, indeed, and uncleanness; and demonstrates this doctrinally,--that we, being polluted, have need of washing: but this is to be understood of our natural and sinful stain, to be washed away by the blood of Christ and the grace of God: with which stain, indeed, they were defiled who were baptized by John. But to denote this washing by a sacramental sign, the sprinkling of water is as sufficient as the dipping into water,--when, in truth, this argues washing and purification as well as that. But those who were baptized by John were blemished with another stain, and that an outward one, and after a manner visible; that is, a polluted religion,--namely, Judaism or heathenism; from which, if, according to the custom of the nation, they passed by a deeper and severer washing,--they neither underwent it without reason; nor with any reason may it be laid upon us, whose condition is different from theirs.

2. Since dipping was a rite used only in the Jewish nation and proper to it, it were something hard, if all nations should be subjected under it; but especially, when it is neither necessarily to be esteemed of the essence of baptism, and is moreover so harsh and dangerous, that, in regard of these things, it scarcely gave place to circumcision. We read that some, leavened with Judaism to the highest degree, yet wished that dipping in purification might be taken away, because it was accompanied with so much severity. "In the days of R. Joshua Ben Levi, some endeavoured to abolish this dipping, for the sake of the women of Galilee; because, by reason of the cold, they became barren. R. Joshua Ben Levi said unto them, Do ye go about to take away that which hedges in Israel from transgression?" Surely it is hard to lay this yoke upon the neck of all nations, which seemed too rough to the Jews themselves, and not to be borne by them, men too much given to such kind of severer rites. And if it be demanded of them who went about to take away that dipping, Would you have no purification at all by water? it is probable that they would have allowed of the sprinkling of water, which is less harsh, and not less agreeable to the thing itself.

3. The following ages, with good reason, and by divine prescript, administered a baptism differing in a greater matter from the baptism of John; and therefore it was less to differ in a less matter. The application of water was necessarily of the essence of baptism; but the application of it in this or that manner speaks but a circumstance: the adding also of the word was of the nature of a sacrament; but the changing of the word into this or that form, would you not call this a circumstance also? And yet we read the form of baptism so changed, that you may observe it to have been threefold in the history of the New Testament.

Secondly, In reference to the form of John's baptism [which thing we have propounded to consider in the second place], it is not at all to be doubted but he baptized "in the name of the Messias now ready to come": and it may be gathered from his words, and from his story. As yet he knew not that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messias; which he confesseth himself, John 1:31: yet he knew well enough, that the Messias was coming; therefore, he baptized those that came to him in his name, instructing them in the doctrine of the gospel, concerning faith in the Messias, and repentance; that they might be the readier to receive the Messias when he should manifest himself. Consider well Malachi 3:1, Luke 1:17, John 1:7,31, &c. The apostles, baptizing the Jews, baptized them "in the name of Jesus"; because Jesus of Nazareth had now been revealed for the Messias; and that they did, when it had been before commanded them by Christ, "Baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." So you must understand that which is spoken, John 3:23, 4:2, concerning the disciples of Christ baptizing; namely, that they baptized in 'the name of Jesus,' that thence it might be known that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messias, in the name of whom, suddenly to come, John had baptized. That of St. Peter is plain, Acts 2:38; "Be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ": and that, Acts 8:16, "They were baptized in the name of Jesus."

But the apostles baptized the Gentiles, according to the precept of our Lord, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," Matthew 28:19. For since it was very much controverted among the Jews about the true Messias, and that unbelieving nation denied, stiffly and without ceasing, that Jesus of Nazareth was he (under which virulent spirit they labour even to this day), it was not without cause, yea, nor without necessity, that they baptized in the name of Jesus; that by that seal might be confirmed this most principal truth in the gospel, and that those that were baptized might profess it; that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messias. But among the Gentiles, the controversy was not concerning the true Messias, but concerning the true God: among them, therefore, it was needful that baptism should be conferred in the name of the true God, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

We suppose, therefore, that men, women, and children came to John's baptism, according to the manner of the nation in the reception of proselytes; namely, that they standing in Jordan were taught by John that they were baptized into the name of the Messias, that was now immediately to come; and into the profession of the doctrine of the gospel concerning faith and repentance; that they plunged themselves into the river, and so came out. And that which is said of them, that they were baptized by him "confessing their sins," is to be understood according to the tenour of the Baptist's preaching; not that they did this man by man, or by some auricular confession made to John, or by openly declaring some particular sins; but when the doctrine of John exhorted them to repentance and to faith in the Messias, they renounced and disowned the doctrine and opinion of justification by their works, wherewith they had been beforetime leavened, and acknowledged and confessed themselves sinners.

[In Jordan.] John could not baptize in any part of Jordan, so it were within the bounds of Judea (which the evangelists assert), which had not been dried up, and had afforded a passage to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, and were now entering into the promised land.

Some few remarks concerning the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/matthew-3.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

And were baptized of him in the Jordan. Note that the baptism took place not at, but {in,} in the Jordan. Mark says, "in the river Jordan." The Jordan, the principal stream of Palestine, rises in the mountains of Lebanon, runs south into the sea of Galilee, leaves it and descends southward along Galilee, Samaria and Judea, to the Dead Sea. In many places the streams is fordable, and furnishes good facilities for baptizing.

Confessing their sins. Baptism itself, a burial in water, a "baptism into death," a symbol of the burial of one who dies to the old life, is a confession of sins. There was, perhaps, also a verbal confession. The acknowledgment of sin, repentance and baptism are prescribed as conditions of pardon.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

And they were baptized (και εβαπτιζοντοkai ebaptizonto). It is the imperfect tense to show the repetition of the act as the crowds from Judea and the surrounding country kept going out to him (εχεπορευετοexeporeueto), imperfect again, a regular stream of folks going forth. Moffatt takes it as causative middle, “got baptized,” which is possible. “The movement of course was gradual. It began on a small scale and steadily grew till it reached colossal proportions” (Bruce). It is a pity that baptism is now such a matter of controversy. Let Plummer, the great Church of England commentator on Matthew, speak here of John‘s baptising these people who came in throngs: “It is his office to bind them to a new life, symbolized by immersion in water.” That is correct, symbolized, not caused or obtained. The word “river” is in the correct text, “river Jordan.” They came “confessing their sins” (εχομολογουμενοιexomologoumenoi), probably each one confessing just before he was baptized, “making open confession” (Weymouth). Note εχex It was a never to be forgotten scene here in the Jordan. John was calling a nation to a new life. They came from all over Judea and even from the other side of El Ghor (the Jordan Gorge), Perea. Mark adds that finally all Jerusalem came.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/matthew-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Were baptized ( ἐβαπτίζοντο )

See on Mark 7:4.

Confessing their sins ( ἐξομολογούμενοι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν )

The words imply: 1. That confession was connected with baptism. They were baptized while in the act of confessing. 2. An open confession, not a private one to John ( ἐξ , compare Acts 19:18; James 5:16). 3. An individual confession; possibly a specific one. (See Luke 3:10-15.)

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/matthew-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Confessing their sins — Of their own accord; freely and openly. Such prodigious numbers could hardly be baptized by immerging their whole bodies under water: nor can we think they were provided with change of raiment for it, which was scarcely practicable for such vast multitudes. And yet they could not be immerged naked with modesty, nor in their wearing apparel with safety. It seems, therefore, that they stood in ranks on the edge of the river, and that John, passing along before them, cast water on their heads or faces, by which means he might baptize many thousands in a day. And this way most naturally signified Christ's baptizing them with the Holy Ghost and with fire, which John spoke of, as prefigured by his baptizing with water, and which was eminently fulfilled, when the Holy Ghost sat upon the disciples in the appearance of tongues, or flames of fire.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

and they were baptized of him1 in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

  1. And they were baptized of him, etc. See .

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Scofield's Reference Notes

sins

Sin. (See Scofield "Romans 3:23").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Matthew 3:6". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/matthew-3.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Ver. 6. And were baptized of him in Jordan] Baptizing of proselytes was in use among the Jews before the days of John Baptist. From this custom (saith Broughton, in Daniel 9:1-27), though without commandment and of small authority, Christ authorizeth a seal of entering into his rest, using the Jews’ weakness as an allurement thither. As from bread and wine, used with the paschal lamb, being without all commandment of Moses, but resting upon the common reason given by the Creator, he authorized a seal of his flesh and blood.

In Jordan] At Bethabara, John 1:28, that is, at that very place where the people of Israel passed over Jordan and possessed the land. Baptism then was there first administered, where it had been of old foreshadowed. Here also we see that the acts of Joshua and Jesus took their happy beginning at one and the same place. And like as the people, after they had passed over Jordan, were circumcised before they received the land by lot of inheritance: so after we have been baptized, and thereby enrolled among the citizens of the New Jerusalem, the remnants of sin and superfluity of naughtiness must be daily pared off by the practice of mortification, ere we can come to the kingdom of heaven, James 1:21; η περισσεια της κακιας. In allusion to the garbage and excrements of the sacrificed beast.

Confessing their sins] In token of their true repentance. For as only the man that is wakened out of his dream can tell his dreams; so only he that is wakened out of his sins can clearly confess them. {a} And this confession of sin, joined with confusion of sin (without the which, confession is but wind, and the drops of contrition, water), is that which in baptism we reciprocate. "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the confident answer of a good conscience toward God," 1 Peter 3:21; {b} a clearing, cheering conscience, a heart washed from wickedness in this laver of regeneration, the baptism of repentance, the washing of the new birth, the being baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, this sayeth, saith St Peter. Not as the efficient cause of salvation, for that is Christ alone: nor yet as a necessary instrument, for that is faith alone: but only as a badge of the saved, and a pledge of their salvation; as, on the other side, God will not own a viperous brood, though baptized, that bring not forth fruits meet for repentance. To such, baptism is not the mark of God’s child, but the brand of a fool that maketh a vow and then breaketh it, Ecclesiastes 5:4. For the font is Beersheba, the well of an oath; and there we swear (as David did) "to keep God’s righteous judgments," Psalms 119:106; Isaiah 10:1-19. Now, if Zedekiah and Shimei paid so dearly for their perjury, for their fast and loose with men, how will God revenge the quarrel of his covenant? The Spanish converts in Mexico remember not anything of the promise and profession they made in baptism, save only their name, which many times also they forget. In the kingdom of Congo in Africa, the Portuguese, at their first arrival, finding the people to be heathens, without God, did induce them to a profession of Christ, and to be baptized in great abundance, allowing of the principles of religion; till such time as the priests pressed them to lead their lives according to their profession; which the most part of them in no case enduring, returned again to their Gentilism. Such renegades we have among us not a few, that give themselves up to Christ, Quoad Sacramenti perceptionem, by external profession (Augustine); but when it comes once ad vitae sanctificationem, to holiness of life, there they leave him in the open field, forsaking their colours, renouncing their baptism, and running away to the enemy. Now for such there is but one law, and it is martial law, Hebrews 10:39 : If any withdraw ( υποστειληται) or steal from his captain (as the military term there used importeth) he doth it to perdition, -he is even a son of perdition, as Judas; who was circumcised indeed, as well as Peter, but better he had not. As it had been better for him never to have been born, Mark 14:21, so, being born, never to have been circumcised, and thereby bound to the law. Unregenerate Israel is as Ethiopia, Amos 9:7. And it had been happy that baptismal water had never been spilt on that face that is afterwards hatched with impudent impiety, Jeremiah 3:3-5.

{a} εξομολογεισθαι. Est aperta et clara voce confiteri.

{b} επερωτημα.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-3.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

John performed his ministry to all:

v. 6. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

His powerful, appealing call to repentance had its effect. In ever-increasing numbers they came. The guilt-burdened men and women, whose lives had been lived in sham and deceit, made a frank, explicit, public confession of their sins, voluntarily, now general, now special, as they came under the influence of John's personality and message. "This confession of sins by individuals was a new thing in Israel. There was a collective confession on the great Day of Atonement, and individual confession in certain specified cases (Num_5:1-31 :, but no great spontaneous self-unburdenment of penitent souls—every man apart. It must have been a stirring sight. " And as they came and made confession of their sins, in a practically unbroken stream, they were baptized by John in the river Jordan. It was an awakening such as the land had not witnessed since the time of the ancient prophets.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/matthew-3.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Matthew 3:6. Were baptized of him There were two kinds of baptism in use among the Jews; one was that of the priests at their consecration, Leviticus 8:6.; the other was that of the heathens proselyted to the Jewish religion. It was therefore no unheard-of rite which the Messiah's harbinger made use of. His countrymen were well acquainted both with the thing itself, and with its signification: they knew that it denoted some great change, either in the opinions or practices of those who submitted to it, and implied a promise of acceptance with God, on the part of him who administered it. They had also been led by a passage in their sacred books, Zechariah 13:1 to expect that either the Messiah himself, or some of his attendants, would baptize; as is evident from the question which the messengers of the Sanhedrim put to the Baptist, John 1:25. Why baptizest thou, then, if thou be not that Christ? &c. They must have known, therefore, that John's baptism represented purification both of heart and life as necessary even to Jews themselves, before they could become the subjects of so holya prince as the Messiah; and that it was a solemn obligation, binding those who received it to lead such lives. Hence, as Dr. Whitby observes, they are mistaken who think John's baptism the same in kind with that which Christ afterwards instituted for the admission of disciples into his church. The difference between the two was considerable: First, John did not baptize either in the name of Christ, or of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, They who were baptized with John's baptism, did not profess their faith in the Messiah, as actually come, neither did they receive his baptism in testimony of their entertaining that belief; for, after having administered it, he exhorted his disciples to believe on him who was tocome. Therefore his baptism could not initiate men into the Christian church. See Acts 19:4-5. Thirdly, John's was the baptism of repentance, whereby all who had a sense of their sins, and professed repentance, were promised pardon, and exhorted to believe in the Messiah, who was soon to appear; or it was a washing with water, to shew the Jews that they might be cleansed both from their prejudices and vices, in order to their becoming fit members of the Messiah's kingdom. Accordingly we read, that they who were baptized, confessed their sins. If those who were baptized had committed any great crime or scandalous offence, they were to make a public and open confession of it, as appears from Acts 19:18. Otherwise this confession implies only a general acknowledgement that they were sinners; that they repented of their sins, and were resolved to forsake them. See Whitby, Macknight, and Beausobre and Lenfant.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/matthew-3.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

This place the papists bring to support their doctrine of auricular confession; but very groundlessly.

For, 1. The confession of those converts was voluntary, and not constrained.

2. It was general, and not of every particular sin.

3. It was public and open, not in the ear of a priest.

4. It was a confession of sin committes before baptism, not after they were baptized: in all which circumstances it differs from the auricular confession of the church of Rome very greatly.

Note, That confession of sin past, together with a profession of faith in and obedience to Christ for the time to come, are necessary requisites and qualifications in all persons of riper years that are admitted to baptism, upon their confession of sin, and promise to become better, may be admitted to the holy sacrament, provided that we warn them, as the baptist did these, not only to make profession of repentance, but to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/matthew-3.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6. ἐβαπτίζοντο] When men were admitted as proselytes, three rites were performed—circumcision, baptism, and oblation; when women, two—baptism and oblation. The baptism was administered in the day-time, by immersion of the whole person; and while standing in the water the proselyte was instructed in certain portions of the law. The whole families of proselytes, including infants, were baptized. It is most probable that John’s baptism in outward form resembled that of proselytes. See above, on Matthew 3:1. Some (De Wette, Winer, Paulus, Meyer) deny that the proselyte baptism was in use before the time of John: but the contrary has been generally supposed, and maintained (cf. Lightfoot, Schöttgen, Buxtorf, Wetstein, Bengel). Indeed the baptism or lustration of a proselyte on admission would follow as a matter of course, by analogy from the constant legal practice of lustration after all uncleannesses: and it is difficult to imagine a time when it would not be in use. Besides, it is highly improbable that the Jews should have borrowed the rite from the Christians, or the Jewish hierarchy from John.

ἐξομολογούμενοι τ. ἁμ. αὐ.] From the form and expression this does not seem to have been merely ‘shewing a contrite spirit,’ ‘confessing themselves sinners,’ but a particular and individual confession; not, however, made privately to John, but before the people: see his exhortation to the various classes in Luke 3:10-15; nor in every case, but in those which required it. Josephus uses the very same expression, Antt. viii. 4. 6. The present participle carries with it a certain logical force; “confessing, as they did,”—almost = “on condition of confessing.” So Fritzsche, “si peccata sua confiterentur.”

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-3.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 3:6. ἐβαπτίζοντο, received baptism) The verb is in the middle voice.— ἐξομολογούμενοι, confessing) The preposition ἐξ denotes that they confessed their sins freely and expressly, not merely in the ear of John. A true confession mentions even individual sins (as formerly in the case of sin-offerings), although it does not enumerate them one by one. It holds the just mean between the lax abuse of a general formula and the narrow strictness of auricular confession. Thus it relieves the soul. At the Baptism of Repentance men confessed their sins, at the Baptism of Christ they confessed Christ.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A great part of those who went out to hear John were baptized, that is dipped, in Jordan; but from hence it will not follow that dipping is essential to baptism, the washing of the soul with the blood of Christ (the thing signified by baptism) being expressed by sprinkling or pouring water, as well as by dipping or being buried in water, Isaiah 44:3 Ezekiel 36:25 Colossians 2:12. Whether they confessed their sins, man by man, by word of mouth, or by submitting to the doctrine of the gospel declared their renunciation of the righteousness of the law, and their engagement to a holy life, is not expressed; but it is most certain, that a profession of faith and repentance was ordinarily required before the baptism of adult persons. It may be wondered that this new practice of John (if it were wholly new) made no more stir amongst the Jews. Either (as some think) baptism was in use before that time, as an appendix to circumcision, (though circumcision only be mentioned), or they had some notion that Christ, Elias, and that prophet, when they came, should baptize; for, John 1:25, they asked John, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet. That which seemeth to me most probable is, that before that time there was a baptism in ordinary use amongst them after circumcising the child, beside the baptizing of proselytes. And as in the other sacrament Christ left out the typical part, and blessed the bread, used at last in that administration, and made use of that for the institution of the sacrament of the supper; so as to the ordinance of circumcision, he in the institution of that gospel ordinance left out circumcision, (which was typical also), and retained only the washing of the person with water, and so instituted the other sacrament of the New Testament. But yet there was so much new in the Baptist’s practice, (for he did not baptize proselytes only, but Jews, nor did he use it as an appendix to circumcision preceding, but baptized adult Jews), that if the state of the Jewish church had not been declining, and their power of discipline very little, (if any), they would more than have sent to John to know by whose authority he baptized: but they were under the Roman power, and their ecclesiastical officers were more pragmatical than mischievous, God in the wisdom of his providence having so ordered it, that the change of worship should be at such a time brought in when it should be least potently opposed.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

крестились Символизм Иоаннова крещения скорее всего уходит своими корнями в ветхозаветные обряды очищения (ср. Лев.15:13). Крещение также долгое время практиковалось при обращении язычников в иудаизм. Так Иоанново крещение очень ярко и наглядно символизировало покаяние. Иудеи принимали крещение Иоанна и тем самым признавали, что и они такие же, как язычники (удивительное признание, учитывая их ненависть к ним). Люди каялись в преддверии прихода Мессии. Значение крещения, преподаваемого Иоанном, несколько другое, нежели значение христианского крещения (ср. Деян.18:25). Фактически христианское крещение изменило значение самого действия, символизируя этим отождествление верующего со Христом в Его смерти, погребении и Воскресении (Рим.6:3-5; Кол.2:12).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/matthew-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Confessing their sins; the baptism of John was adapted to impress the minds of the people with a conviction of their pollution by sin, and of the necessity, through repentance, of spiritual cleansing by the Holy Ghost, in order to a right reception of the coming Saviour.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.In Jordan — The Jordan had several banks within banks, so that a person could be in the Jordan on dry ground. “In approaching the river,” says Dr. Thomson, “you descend several benches or terraces.” This expression, “in the Jordan,” only indicates, therefore, where the rite was performed; it in no way indicates the mode.

The JORDAN is, historically, the most interesting river in the world. It derives its sources from the snows of the Lebanon, whence it flows down to the Lake Gennesaret, through which it passes. Its current through the middle of that lake is distinctly visible. Thence it descends, through a distance of about sixty miles, to the Dead Sea. Its channel is very serpentine, but it trends, very directly, toward the south. The narrow plain upon its banks is usually very fertile, it is calculated to be, on the average, about thirty yards wide and nine feet deep, and its current is very rapid.

Confessing their sins — Thus acknowledging that repentance was the object of their baptism. This act of repentance and baptism, under the administration of John, truly performed, had two effects: 1. It placed the subjects of the baptism in a present state of grace and favour with God. 2. It placed the heart in a right state to receive the coming king — Messiah — even in his mild and spiritual form, and to enter into his coming kingdom. Perseverance in the same temper, and progress in the same direction, would have brought them to the purposed result. It was by apostacy that Israel lost the Saviour.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-3.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:6. And they were baptized by him. ‘They’ is to be supplied, since Matthew 3:5 speaks of the regions. Baptism was essentially a symbolical or ceremonial washing, prescribed at first by the Mosaic law, as a sign of moral renovation, joined with sacrifice. John may have derived his rite from Christian baptism. Those who had received John’s baptism were rebaptized (Acts 19:4); Christ himself was the subject of the rite, as a Jew (see next section), while it had a more profound significance than the ceremonial lustration, yet it was not a baptism ‘unto his death’ (Romans 6:3), but ‘unto repentance’ (comp. Matthew 3:11).—Details of external form are not made prominent in the religion of Christ. If the rite is not identical with Christian baptism, the mode practised by John cannot conclusively determine the proper mode of Christian baptism. The subjects went into the river and were either immersed by John, or water was poured on them. The Greek verb baptize (from the root bapto, to dip) is a technical term for a symbolical washing, with a view to spiritual purification. It is better in any case to retain the word ‘baptize,’ as marking more distinctly this technical sense.

In the liver Jordan. This follows the better sustained reading.

Confessing their sins. This they did in every case, usually in a particular and public manner; yet the form probably varied. Some explain, ‘on condition of confessing their sins;’ but this is too strong.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 3:6. : the imperfect again. They were baptised as they came.— . . The word , omitted in T. R., by all means to be retained. Dull prosaic scribes might deem it superfluous, as all men knew the Jordan was a river, but there is a touch of nature in it which helps us to call up the scene.— , by him, the one man. John would not want occupation, baptising such a crowd, one by one.— : confession was involved in the act of submitting to baptism at the hands of one whose preaching had for its burden, Repent. But there was explicit confession, frank, full ( intensifies), on the part of guilt-burdened men and women glad to get relief so. General or special confession? Probably both: now one, now the other, according to idiosyncrasy and mood. Confession was not exacted as a conditio sine qua non of baptism, but voluntary. The participle means, while confessing; not, provided they confessed. This confession of sins by individuals was a new thing in Israel. There was a collective confession on the great day of atonement, and individual confession in certain specified cases (Numbers 5:7), but no great spontaneous self-unburdenment of penitent souls—every man apart. It must have been a stirring sight.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-3.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Matthew 3:6. And were baptized of him in Jordan — Namely, those that were awakened to repentance. It has been questioned by many, whether John baptized these immense multitudes by dipping them in Jordan? In answer to which it has been observed, “that such prodigious numbers could hardly be baptized by immerging their whole bodies under water: nor can we think they were provided with change of raiment for it, which was scarce practicable for such vast multitudes. And yet they could not be immerged naked with modesty, nor in their wearing apparel with safety.” It has been thought, therefore, “that they stood in ranks on the edge of the river, and that John, passing along before them, cast water on their heads, or faces, by which means, he might baptize many thousands in a day.” This, it must be confessed, most naturally signified Christ’s baptizing them with the Holy Ghost and with fire, which John spoke of as prefigured by his baptizing with water: and which was eminently fulfilled when the Holy Ghost sat upon the disciples, in the appearance of tongues, or flames of fire. But be this as it may: supposing that John baptized by immersion, it will not follow from hence, that immersion is essential to baptism; the washing of the soul from the guilt of sin, by the blood of Christ, or from the power and pollution of sin, by the Spirit of God, (the things signified by baptism,) being expressed by sprinkling or pouring water on a person, as well as by plunging him in it. See Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:25; Colossians 2:12. And as Cyprian observes, in his 76th Epistle to Magnus: “Baptism is rather of the mind by faith, than of the body by immersion in water: this being only a visible sign of an invisible baptism.” It is admired by some, that this practice of John did not excite more stir, and meet with more opposition among the Jews. But it must be observed, that baptizing was not a ceremony entirely new. For, “there were two kinds of baptism in use among the Jews; one was that of the priests at their consecration, Leviticus 8:6; the other was that of the heathens proselyted to the Jewish religion. It was, therefore, no unheard-of rite which the Messiah’s harbinger made use of. His countrymen were well acquainted both with the thing itself and its signification. They knew that it denoted some great change, either in the opinions or practices of those who submitted to it, and implied a promise of acceptance with God. Moreover, they had been led by a passage in their sacred books, Zechariah 13:1, to expect, that either the Messiah himself, or some of his attendants, would baptize; as is evident from the question which the messengers of the Sanhedrim put to the Baptist, John 1:25 : Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias? They must have known, therefore, that John’s baptism represented purification both of heart and life, as necessary even to Jews themselves, before they could become the subjects of so holy a prince as the Messiah; and that it was a solemn obligation, binding those who received it to lead such lives. Hence, as Dr. Whitby observes, they are mistaken who think John’s baptism the same in kind with that which Christ afterward instituted, for admission of disciples into his Church. The difference between the two was considerable: 1st, John did not baptize either in the name of Christ, or of the Holy Ghost; much less did he baptize them with the Holy Ghost, a circumstance mentioned by himself, as what remarkably distinguished Christ’s baptism from his. 2, They who were baptized with John’s baptism did not profess their faith in the Messiah as actually come, neither did they receive his baptism, in testimony of their entertaining that belief; for after having administered it he exhorted his disciples to believe on Him who was to come. Therefore his baptism could not initiate men into the Christian Church, as appears likewise by the apostles’ rebaptizing some who had been baptized by John. Acts 19:4; Acts 5:3 d, John’s was the baptism of repentance, whereby all that had a sense of their sins, and professed repentance, were promised pardon, and exhorted to believe in the Messiah, who was soon to appear. Or, it was a washing with water, to show the Jews that they must be cleansed, not only from their prejudices and vices, but that they must relinquish Judaism in order to their becoming fit members of the Messiah’s kingdom.” — Macknight. Indeed, John, properly speaking, was not a gospel minister, nor his ministry a gospel ministry; for that state of the Church was not then begun; but, as he was a middle person between both testaments, greater than the prophets, less than a gospel minister, Matthew 11:11; Matthew 11:13, so his ministry was a sort of middle ministry, the chief drift whereof was to prepare people to receive Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah: in order whereunto he laboured to convince them of their sins, and their need of a Saviour, by preaching repentance, Matthew 3:2; and pointed out the Messiah to them, John 1:29; and baptized them as a sign of repentance, on their part, and an assurance of pardon on God’s part. John’s baptism, therefore, was only a temporary sacrament or institution, set up upon a particular occasion; which, as it agreed with Christ’s in the external sign, so was perfected by his. See Grotius. Confessing their sins — Acknowledging their offences, and condemning their former lives, and that freely and of their own accord: for it does not appear that the Baptist required them to do it. It is not said whether this confession was made to God or man: but it is probable it was to both: only, so far as it was made to John, it must have been merely general. For how could one man have sufficed to hearken to a particular confession of all the offences of this immense multitude made secretly in his ears. It seems to have been like the confessions recorded in the Old Testament; (see Ezra 9.; Nehemiah 9.; Daniel 9.;) and that made by the high priest on the day of atonement, Leviticus 16:21. They acknowledged in words their sinfulness and guilt, professed repentance for, and a detestation of all their sins, and submitted to be baptized in token of their being convinced of their need of pardon and purification. And it must be observed, that this was the confession, not of persons who had been baptized, concerning sins committed after baptism, but of those who were to be baptized. It therefore differs widely from, and gives no countenance to, the auricular confession of the Church of Rome.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/matthew-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

confitentes peccata sua. Greek: exomologoumenoi tas amartias auton.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/matthew-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

were baptized = were being baptized.

baptized of. See App-115.

of = by. Greek. hupo. App-104.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing [probably confessing aloud exomologoumenoi (G1843)] their sins. This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt need of deliverance from sin, of their expectation of the coming Deliverer, and of their readiness to welcome Him when He appeared. The baptism itself startled, and was intended to startle them. They were familiar enough with the baptism of proselytes from paganism; but this baptism of Jews themselves was quite new and strange to them.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

6. He baptized them. In the Jordan river (Mark 1:5). The Jordan is the important river of Palestine. It begins in the mountains of Lebanon, runs south into the Lake of Galilee, leaving it descends southward along Galilee, Samaria and Judea, to end in the Dead Sea. (Ferry-boats were used on this river—2 Samuel 19:18 Septuagint.) Confessed their sins. Baptism itself is a burial in water, a “baptism into death,” a symbol of burying the old life and of death to sin. They “verbalized” their confession, and also “acted it out” in baptism. Confession of sin, turning from sin to God, and baptism are prescribed as conditions of forgiveness.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Were baptized.—The Greek tense implies continual succession. Crowd after crowd passed on, and still they came confessing their sins—i.e., as the position of the word implies, in the closest possible connection with the act of immersion. The Greek word (sometimes used for “confessing” in the sense of “praising,” as in Luke 12:8), always implies public utterance, and included, as the plural of the noun seems to show, a specific mention of, at least, the more grievous individual sins.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
were
11,13-16; Ezekiel 36:25; Mark 1:8,9; Luke 3:16; John 1:25-28,31-33; 3:23-25; Acts 1:5; 2:38-41; 10:36-38; 11:16; 19:4,5,18; 1 Corinthians 10:2; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5,6; Hebrews 6:2; 9:10; *Gr:; 1 Peter 3:21
confessing
Leviticus 16:21; 26:40; Numbers 5:7; Joshua 7:19; Job 33:27,28; Psalms 32:5; Proverbs 28:13; Daniel 9:4; Mark 1:5; Luke 15:18-21; Acts 2:38; 19:18; 22:16; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9
Reciprocal: Mark 1:4 - did;  Mark 11:32 - for;  Luke 3:3 - preaching;  Luke 7:29 - being

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-3.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Baptized. is from BAPTIZO which Thayer deflnes first, "Properly to dip repeatedly, to Immerge, submerge2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water." Strong defines It. "To make whelmed (i.e. fully wet)." From this meaning of the word we can understand why John was baptizing In Jordan., not at or nearby. Confessingtheir sin is the simple phrase used here, but In Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3 it is worded "baptism of repentance." The meaning of the passage is that the people professed to have repented of their sins and were baptized on that declaration.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-3.html. 1952.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5.And were baptized, confessing their sins This confession was a testimony of repentance: for, as the Lord, in the sacraments, brings himself under obligation to us, as if he had given his own hand-writing, so it is our duty, on the other hand, to reply to him. In Baptism, he declares that our sins are forgiven, and calls us to repentance. That men may come forward, in a right manner, to be baptized, confession of sins is demanded from them: otherwise the whole performance would be nothing but an idle mockery (254) Let it be observed, that we are here speaking of adults, who ought not, we. are aware, to be admitted indiscriminately into the Church, or introduced by Baptism into the body of Christ, (255) till an examination has been previously made. (256)

Hence it is obvious, how absurdly this passage has been tortured by the Papists, to support auricular confession. There were no priests at hand, in whose ears each individual might privately mutter (257) his sins; nor is it said that they enumerated all their sins; nor are we told that John left in charge to his disciples an ordinary rule for confession. Even granting to Papists all that they ask, confession will belong to Catechumens alone, (258) and will have no place after Baptism. At all events, the law which they lay down for confession after Baptism, derives no countenance from John’s example. (259)

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/matthew-3.html. 1840-57.