Matthew 3:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 3:6, NIV: Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Matthew 3:6, ESV: and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:6, KJV: And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:6, NASB: and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

Matthew 3:6, NLT: And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Matthew 3:6, CSB: and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

What does Matthew 3:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

People travelled some distance to come and hear the preaching of John the Baptist in the wilderness (Matthew 3:1–2). The odd-looking preacher spoke and acted like the prophets of Israel's history, especially Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who some suspected had returned to Israel in the form of John the Baptist (Malachi 4:5; John 1:21).

John's message was simple and clear: The kingdom of heaven was near. Messiah was coming. Confess and repent of your sins. Demonstrate your commitment to leading a holy life by being baptized. Many people were doing exactly that, confessing their sins and being immersed by John in the Jordan River during an ongoing series of public baptisms.

John's baptism wasn't exactly the same as the Christian baptism practiced later in the church (Acts 18:25; 19:3–6). It was—like Christian baptism—a symbolic religious rite meant to declare a person's agreement with God about his or her sin. The main purpose of John's baptism was to publicly declare a renewed commitment to live as God had commanded in the law. Being immersed in the water and raised up out of it seems to have symbolized the cleansing of sin and escaping God's judgment.