Luke 3:21-22 Young's Literal Translation says, 21 And it came to pass, in all the people being baptised, Jesus also being baptised, and praying, the heaven was opened,

22 and the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily appearance, as if a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, saying, `Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in thee I did delight.'

What was Jesus doing in this verse? After Jesus came up out of the water, someone spoke from heaven. What did that One said?

4 Answers 4


Luke 3.21-22 21 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ βαπτισθῆναι ἅπαντα τὸν λαὸν καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος καὶ προσευχομένου ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν 22 καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπʼ αὐτόν, καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι· σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

Here is a very literal translation.

21 Now, it happened that, during the baptizing of all the crowd, Jesus also was baptized. As he was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. "You are my beloved son, I delight in you."

Clearly, this was God's voice, speaking to Jesus.

Young's translation has two problems. First, the article-noun-article-adjective construction should be translated into English as adjective-noun. Just translating the words while ignoring the grammar would yield, you are the son of me the beloved, but the grammar requires, my beloved son.

Second, certain words in the aorist should be translated as present tense in English. Thus I delight in you, not I delighted in you.

Please be careful when using interlinear Bibles and literal translations. Greek grammar contains a vast amount of implicit meaning compared to English, which is more explicit. I suggest using Bible Hub, where you can specify a verse and see many versions listed together.


I recently read a commentary (New International Greek Testament, by I. Howard Marshall) that puts such emphasis on Jesus' prayer ("Luke's interest is in what happened after Jesus himself had been baptised and while he was at prayer." - emphasis his) it could actually lend itself to the idea that they were 2 distinct events/factors (even if they took place in relatively the same spot at relatively the same time). This is different from the picture in Matthew and Mark where heaven's response is clearly to the act of his baptism, not his prayer.

I am not Trinitarian, so my perception of this is quite simple - God spoke to God and Jesus is publicly stamped with "This one isn't a liar!" by a thundering voice and a visible representation of God before a multitude of freshly baptized people (which must have been pretty startling, especially if prophecy had "ceased" for a few hundred years prior). Symbolically, you also have the same Spirit that hovered on the waters at creation now present in the "re-creation" of man. Everyone present walks away with the knowledge that Jesus is important and he's not going to lead them away from God (even if his message is really confusing - which it is, at times). From this point on, Jesus doesn't have to scrounge for followers, they're seeking him out in droves. But I don't think this exchange had anything to do with Jesus' self-awareness (as the "Son of God"), much less his "adoption".

  • What's the significance here of the word "Son"?
    – Walter S
    May 7, 2020 at 22:46
  • For me, "Son" is either relational (there is a long history of Israel as God's "son", and Jesus was the ultimate example of how Israel should interact with their God in the intimate relationship and respectful obedience) or it is a title ("Son of God", "Son of Man", and "Son of David" all held specific meanings to the 1st century audience - and different meanings depending on which audience). In this scripture, I think the significance could be either of those or even BOTH.
    – sss979
    May 7, 2020 at 23:05

It seems strange to even ask the Q - Who spoke?

We are told who spoke - the Father/God who refers to HIS son - YOU are MY … son - therefore the son's Father is speaking.

We have many clear verses showing that Jesus is, 'a man who has told you the truth' John 8:40 Jesus on being baptised is receiving the Holy Spirit in preparation for his impending temptation.

Jesus, forever subordinate to the Father and his God, is the second Adam(human) who ushers in the dawn of a 'new creation' age of spirit and life with his death and resurrection.

Where the first Adam failed to live up to expectations or requirements for obedience in a fairly simple task of not eating the fruit of one tree. Jesus, the second and last Adam (1 Cor 15:45) is getting ready to close off the age of many sacrifices with his one sacrifice for all men to redeem what had been lost through Adam.


So the understanding is that God The Father was speaking. Now interestingly when I went and translated this verse from Hebrew it said "This is my friend in whom I longed for" which would make us say that God The Father was seeking fellowship, but was unable to have fellowship with those below Him. So Jesus Christ The manifestation of The Lord God Almighty would be That Friend God The Father could have, being that they are on the same level. And through Christ we are able to have Fellowship with God The Father.

  • 1
    -1 I assume that you mean you translated a Hebrew translation of Luke back to English. On what language was the Hebrew translation based? Luke was written in Greek. This whole process of translating translations is error prone and unable to provide the objective insights desired here.
    – Steve11235
    Apr 21, 2020 at 1:46
  • 1
    With Jesus being the second being of The Trinity He would be praying to God The Father. The one He calls ABBA. Apr 21, 2020 at 2:29
  • 1
    Good point! we learn from Scripture that The Mind of The Lord God was manifested into The Body of Christ. The Lord God creator of The Heavens and The Earth according to Philippians 2:7-8 "made himself nothing by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." So by The Lord making himself a servant He was in complete submission to The Law and God The Father for our sake. And he did what we never could which is why he could be the perfect sacrifice. So yes God was praying to God Apr 21, 2020 at 2:47
  • 1
    I don't see why he would translate it? If he's reading from The Old Testament you would imagine he would read it in Hebrew. Apr 21, 2020 at 2:50
  • 1
    Equal in essence but not in Rank. The Father according to Christ is Greater than All. Some people give the example of a Body, with Christ being The Right hand of God and The Father being The Head of God, they would be equal in essence (being that they are One) but not in Rank (being that The Father is The Head) In order for The Hand to move it must make a request from The Head. And Christ of course tells us “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." John 5:19 Apr 21, 2020 at 15:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.