Luke 3:1-6

Luke 3:1-6
Advent C2


In the fifteenth year of the reignI of EmperorII Tiberius,III

Notes on verse 1a

I “reign” = hegemonia. 1x in NT. From hegemon (a leader in general, but also specifically a governor or commander); from hegeaomai (to think, suppose, have an opinion; to lead the way, what comes in front or first, initial thought, high esteem or authority; one who commands in an official capacity); from ago (lead, bring, carry, drive, go). This is rule, sovereignty, authority, or government. It is where the word “hegemony” comes from.
II “Emperor” = Kaisar. From Latin (Caesar); perhaps from Punic caesai (elephant) OR from Latin a cesiis oculis (because of the blue eyes) OR from Latin a caesarie (because of the hair) OR from Latin a caeso matris utero (born by Caesarean section) OR from Latin caedo (to cut). This is Caesar, at first a last name, then taken as a title by Roman emperors. See
III “Tiberius” = Tiberios. 1x in NT. From Latin Tiberius (related to the Tiber); from Tiberis (the Tiber River); perhaps from Celtic dubros (water) OR from Proto-Indo-European the- (to flow or melt). This is Tiberius. See

when PontiusIV PilateV was governorVI of Judea,VII

Notes on verse 1b

IV “Pontius” = Pontios. 3x in NT. From Latin Pontius (Pontius, a name); from Oscan pontus or pmptus (given names Pontus or Pomptus); {from Proto-Italic kenke (give)} OR from Latin pons (bridge); {from Proto-Indo-European pontehs (path, road); from pent (path)}. This is Pontius, perhaps meaning “bridged.” See
V “Pilate” = Pilatos. From Latin Pilatus (may mean one who has skill with a javelin); perhaps from pilum (javelin) OR perhaps from pileus (a soft cap made of felt that was brimless and was associated with people who were freedmen). This is Pilate. See
VI “was governor” = hegemoneuo. Related to “reign” in v1. 2x in NT. From hegemon (see note I above). This is to govern or be ruler.
VII “Judea” = Ioudaia. From Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judea, which was a Roman province.

and HerodVIII was rulerIX of Galilee,X and his brotherXI PhilipXII

Notes on verse 1c

VIII “Herod” = Herodes. Perhaps from heros (hero, warrior) + oide (song, ode, legend, tale); {from aoide (song, ode, legend, tale); {from aeido (to sing) + e (this is added to verbs to make them nouns)}} OR from hera (Hera) + oide (same as above). This is Herod, perhaps “hero’s song,” “Hera’s song,” or “heroic.” See
IX “was ruler” = tetrarcheo. 3x in NT – all in this verse. From tetraarcheo (to be tetrarch); from tetraarches (tetrarch; governor with power over a fourth of an area); {from tessares (four; figuratively, total coverage) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power)}. This is to rule a territory as its tetrarch.
X “Galilee” = Galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, circuit, district); from galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is Galilee, meaning perhaps region or cylinder.
XI “brother” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
XII “Philip” = Philippos. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person) + hippos (horse). This is Philip, meaning one who loves horses or is fond of horses.

ruler of the regionXIII of IturaeaXIV and Trachonitis,XV and LysaniasXVI ruler of Abilene,XVII 

Notes on verse 1d

XIII “region” = chora. From chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is space, land, region, fields, open area – the countryside in contrast to the town.
XIV “Iturea” = Itouraios. 1x in NT. From Hebrew Yetur (Jetur, Yetur; one of Ishmael’s sons, his lineage, or their lands; “encircled” or “enclosed”); from the same as tur (something arranged in a row, i.e. a wall). This is Iturea, east of the Sea of Galilee. It may mean border, or “land of the encampments.” See
XV “Trachonitis” = Trachonitis. 1x in NT. From trachus (rough, uneven, rocky); perhaps from rhegnumi (to break, burst, wreak, crack, break apart). This is Trachonitis, south of Damascus. It means “rough district.”
XVI “Lysanias” = Lusanias. 1x in NT. From luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld) + ania (trouble). This is Lysanias, a tetrarch of Abilene. His name means “ending sorrow” or “grief-dispelling.”
XVII “Abilene” = Abilene. 1x in NT. Perhaps from abel (stream); from abel (to flow like a river) OR from balal (to mix as flour with oil) OR from yabal (to flow on a course like a conduit or in a river). This is Abilene, northwest of Damascus in the mountains in Syria. It may mean “land of streams,” “any wind can blow them,” or “grassy place.” See

during the high priesthoodXVIII of AnnasXIX and Caiaphas,XX

Notes on verse 2a

XVIII “high priesthood” = archiereus. Related to “was ruler” in v1. From archo (see note IX above) + hiereus (a priest literal or figurative – of any faith); {from hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to God or a god)} This is a high or chief priest.
XIX “Annas” = Hannas. 4x in NT. From Hebrew chananyah (Hannaniah; “the Lord has been gracious” or “the Lord has favored); {from chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status) Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}}. This is Annas, meaning “the Lord has been gracious.”
XX “Caiaphas” = Kaiaphas. 9x in NT. From Aramaic (as beautiful) OR from kefa (rock, stone) OR from Akkadian kaypha (dell, depression). This is Caiaphas. See

the wordXXI of GodXXII cameXXIII to JohnXXIV son of ZechariahXXV in the wilderness.XXVI 

Notes on verse 2b

XXI “word” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.
XXII “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
XXIII “came” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XXIV “John” = Ioannes. Related to “Annas” in v2. From Hebrew yochanan (Johanan); from Yehochanan (“the Lord has been gracious”); {from YHVH (see note XIX above) + chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is John, meaning “the Lord has been gracious.”
XXV “Zechariah” = Zacharias. Related to “Annas” and “John” in v2. 11x in NT. From Hebrew Zekaryah (Zechariah, “the Lord has remembered”); {from zakar (to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention) + Yah (see note XIX above)}. This is Zacharias or Zechariah, meaning “the Lord has remembered.”
XXVI “wilderness” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.

He went into all the region aroundXXVII the Jordan,XXVIII proclaimingXXIX a baptismXXX

Notes on verse 3a

XXVII “region around” = perichora. Related to “region” in v1. 9x in NT. From peri (all-around, encompassing, excess) + chora (see note XIII above). This is neighboring, surrounding region, circum-adjacent.
XXVIII “Jordan” = Iordanes. 15x in NT. From Hebrew yarden (Jordan river, meaning “descending”); from yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”
XXIX “proclaiming” = kerusso. This is to proclaim, preach, publish. Properly, it is to act as a herald – announcing something publicly with confidence and/or to persuade.
XXX “baptism” = baptisma. From baptizo (to submerge, wash, or immerse; used specially for baptism); from bapto (to dip or dye; to entirely cover with liquid, to stain). This is dipping or sinking. Also, the rite of baptism.

of repentanceXXXI for the forgivenessXXXII of sins,XXXIII 

Notes on verse 3b

XXXI “repentance” = metanoia. From meta (with, among, after, beyond) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect)}. This is literally to change one’s mind – to choose to think differently and so to act differently because of a moral compunction. It is an intentional change to the inner self. This word shares a root with the English “paranoia.”
XXXII “forgiveness” = aphesis. 17x in NT. From aphiemi (to sent away, release, abandon, lay aside, forgive); {from apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send, to go)}. This is sending away – a release or letting go. So, it can be releasing someone from debt, slavery, or some other obligation – thus, freedom or liberty. Figuratively it can mean to pardon as releasing from the debt of sin.
XXXIII “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.

as it is written in the bookXXXIV of the wordsXXXV of the prophetXXXVI Isaiah,XXXVII

Notes on verse 4a

XXXIV “book” = biblos. 10x in NT– 5x in reference to books of the Bible, 3x of the book of life, 1x of genealogical account of Jesus, 1x of books of magic. Perhaps from bublos (papyrus); from Phoenician Byblos (a Phoenician city that exported papyrus for writing); {from gb (well, origin) + I (God)}; from Proto-Canaanite g-b-l (Gubla – maybe meaning to border). This is the inside bark of papyrus so it could refer to anything that was written on – a scroll, book, record, roll. It could also have an association with the sacred. See
XXXV “words” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
XXXVI “prophet” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.
XXXVII “Isaiah” = Esaias. Related to “Annas” and “John” and “Zechariah” in v2. From Hebrew Yeshayahu (Isaiah, meaning “salvation of the Lord”); {from yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe; to free someone) + Yah (see note XIX above)}. This is Isaiah, meaning “salvation of the Lord.”

“The voiceXXXVIII of one crying outXXXIX in the wilderness:
‘PrepareXL the wayXLI of the Lord,XLII

Notes on verse 4b

XXXVIII “voice” = phone. Related to “prophet” in v4. Probably from phemi (see note XXXVI above); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (see note XXXVI above). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.
XXXIX “crying out” = boao. 12x in NT. From boe (a cry or shout). This is cry out, make a distress call, ask for desperately need assistance.
XL “prepare” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
XLI “way” = hodos. This is way, road, path, or journey. It can imply progress along a route.
XLII “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

    makeXLIII his pathsXLIV straight.XLV

Notes on verse 4c

XLIII “make” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XLIV “paths” = tribos. 3x in NT – all in the proclamation of John the Baptist in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. From tribo (to rub or thresh). This is a rut or path that is made from regular use – a road or highway.
XLV “straight” = euthus. 8x in NT. Perhaps from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish). This is immediately, upright, straight and not crooked.

Every valleyXLVI shall be filled,XLVII
    and every mountain and hill shall be made low,XLVIII
and the crookedXLIX shall be made straight,
    and the roughL ways made smooth;LI

Notes on verse 5

XLVI “valley” = pharagx. Perhaps related to “Trachonitis” in v1. 1x in NT. Perhaps from peran (over, beyond, across); {akin to pera (on the far side); perhaps from periro (to pierce)} OR rhegnumi (see note XV above). This is valley, ravine, gap, or winter-torrent.
XLVII “be filled” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
XLVIII “made low” = tapeinoo. 14x in NT. From tapeinos (low in position, depressed, low in circumstance; fig humiliated, low in spirit). This is bringing someone or something low. Figuratively to humble or humiliate – to depress or abase.
XLIX “crooked” = skolios. 4x in NT. Perhaps from skelos (the leg); perhaps from skello (to parch). This is crooked, curved, bent, or winding It is bent because it is parched like wood. Used figuratively for morally twisted or perverse. It is something that does not meet God’s standards. Related to the root for “skeleton” and “scoliosis.”
L “rough” = trachus. Related to “Trachonitis” in v1 & “valley” in v5. 2x in NT. See note XV above.
LI “smooth” = leios. 1x in NT. This is smooth or level.

and all fleshLII shall seeLIII the salvationLIV of God.’”

Notes on verse 6

LII “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
LIII “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
LIV “salvation” = soterios. 5x in NT. From soter (a savior, deliverer); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is salvation, defender, something or someone saving.

Image credit: “John the Baptist” by LUMO Project.

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