Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Adult Bible Study on Luke 3:1-20 - The Preaching of John the Baptist

Luke 3:1-20

(New International Version)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”[a]

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[b] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.



1. What does it mean for the word of God to come to someone (verse 2)?


If we’re open to God, He will put a message on our hearts or a passion for a mission we need to pursue. As we’ll see, John’s word from God was a message of repentance in preparation for the Messiah.



2. How does Isaiah’s prophecy in verses 4-6 relate personally to us and our salvation?


We may feel jumbled up and crooked inside, but when Jesus comes into our lives, He puts everything right, smoothens our inward turmoil, and brings peace.



3. Why did John call the crowd coming out to be baptized by him a brood of vipers (verse 7)?


He may have known that some people were coming to him not out of true repentance but out of impure motives (to be part of the crowd, to join something new, to take pride in their spirituality, etc.). We need to make sure that anything we do in relation to God is sincere.



4. After reading verses 10-14, how would you summarize John’s advice to the people?


Be satisfied with meeting your needs. Don’t try to get more. When you can, share with others any extra you have.


It’s interesting that this is how John says we show our repentance.



5. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire (verse 16)?


2 Corinthians 1:20-22 - For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.


To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means to be saved from your sins. The Spirit coming to live in you is the guarantee of your salvation.


To be baptized with fire means to face God’s wrath. If you reject the salvation Jesus offers you, you will not receive the Holy Spirit but will suffer the punishment for your sins.




What to do after reading this passage

John called some of the people coming to him a brood of vipers because they were insincere in their religious actions. Pray and ask the Lord to search for you for an insincerity. Is there anything you do for Him that's just for show? Ask Him to change your heart to serve Him in that action out of love. 




Do you have another insight into this passage? Please share below!