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Ferrar Fenton Bible: Matthew 3

The Mission of John

Some time after this period, John the Baptizer began to proclaim in the desert of Judea: "Reform! for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

This man was the one foretold by the prophet Isaiah, where he says:

Prepare the road for the Lord,
Make straight the pathway for His feet.1

Now John himself had his clothing of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Then Jerusalem, and the people about Judea, as well as the whole neighbourhood of Jordan, went to him; and were baptized by him in the Jordan, when they had confessed their sins. But observing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he addressed them, saying:

"Spawn of vipers! who has directed you to fly from the future fury? Produce then fruit displaying your conversion; and do not in your pride say to yourselves, 'We have our ancestor Abraham'; for I tell you that God is able, even from these stones, to raise up children to Abraham. But the axe now lies at the root of the trees; every tree therefore which does not produce good fruit, will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

"I indeed baptize you in water, preparatory to conversion2; but the One Who follows me is far stronger than I. I am not even worthy to carry His shoes. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnower is in His hand, and He will perfectly cleanse His threshing-floor, and collect His wheat into the granary; while He will consume the chaff with inextinguishable fire."

Jesus also came from Galilee to the Jordan, applying to John to be baptized by him. John, however, wished to dissuade Him, saying: "It is more necessary for me to be baptized by You; and yet You would come to me!"

But Jesus replied, "Allow it for the present; for it is appointed thus to us to do all that is right." He then permitted Him.

And when Jesus had been baptized, He immediately came out from the water. And the heavens were opened to Him: and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and coming and resting upon Him; and then a voice from the heavens said:

"This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I have delight."


  1. Isa. 40:3.
  2. TruthUnity note: The ASV reads: "3:11I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance". The NRSV reads: "I baptize you with water for repentance". The term "repentance" is a mistaken translation of the original Greek term metanoia. This illustrates why the Ferrar Fenton Bible remains an important translation, even 100 years after it's initial publication.

Transcribed by Mark Hicks on 12-29-2014