Translation commentary on Luke 4:1 – 4:2


Iēsous de ‘and Jesus’ refers back to 3.21f after the genealogy of 3.23-38, as is shown by what follows, see below.

plērēs pneumatos hagiou ‘full of the Holy Spirit,’ qualifies Iēsous. The omission of the article tou before pneumatos does not change the meaning of the phrase, cf. on 1.15. Here the Holy Spirit referred to is the Spirit who had descended upon Jesus after his baptism, cf. 3.22.

plērēs (also 5.12) ‘full’ (cf. also Acts 6.3; 7.55; 11.24). As contrasted with ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ in 1.41, 67 the phrase ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ refers to a permanent condition, not a momentary experience.

hupestrepsen apo tou Iordanou ‘returned from the Jordan,’ i.e. from the place where the events of 3.21f had taken place. It is not indicated whither he returned but the best assumption is to connect this clause with v. 14: Jesus left the place of his baptism in order to return to Galilee where he had come from (cf. Mk. 1.9), but on his way home he remained for 40 days in the wilderness.

kai ēgeto en tō pneumati en tē erēmō ‘and he was led about in the Spirit in the wilderness.’ The imperfect tense of ēgeto is durative. For en tō pneumati cf. on 2.27. The phrase does not mean that the Spirit is the agent (as it is viewed in Mk. 1.12) but rather the guiding principle or instrument.

agō ‘to lead,’ here in the passive, meaning ‘to be led about’: Jesus went, guided by the Holy Spirit, from place to place in the wilderness.

(V. 2a) hēmeras tessarakonta ‘for forty days,’ goes either with ēgeto or with the subsequent peirazomenos ‘being tempted,’ preferably with the former.

peirazomenos hupo tou diabolou ‘being tempted by the devil.’ peirazomenos is coextensive with ēgeto and the phrase refers to temptations preceding those described in vv. 4-13.

peirazō (also 11.16) ‘to put to the test,’ ‘to tempt,’ passive ‘to be tested,’ here with hostile intent.

diabolos lit. ‘the slanderer.’


Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, or, better to bring out the connexion with 3.22, ‘full of the H. Sp. as he was now, Jesus,’ similarly but in co-ordinated sentences in Sranan Tongo; or, ‘after Jesus had (thus) become full of the H. Sp. he.’ For full of the Holy Spirit cf. on “filled with the H. Sp.” in 1.15, where tense and aspect, however, are different.

Returned from the Jordan may require two verbs, ‘left the J. and went back’ (cf. Kituba, Sranan Tongo). Jordan, or, ‘the bank/region of the (river) J..’

And was led … If it is preferable to start a new sentence here, the existing relationship with what precedes (as indicated in Exegesis) may require the use of a transitional phrase such as e.g., ‘As he went home he was led….’

(He) was led by the Spirit for … in …, or, more explicitly, ‘he was led about by the Spirit for … in…’ (cf. Zürcher Bibel, Bible de Jérusalem), ‘he went about (or, he stayed) for … in … with the Spirit as his guide, or, and the Spirit guided him.’

(V. 2a) For forty days, or, ‘during (a period of) forty days.’ The phrase qualifies the verb ‘was led,’ but indirectly also ‘tempted,’ cf. “for forty days was led … and tempted…” (New English Bible). Even a rather small number like 40 may have to be expressed analytically, resulting in such a cumbersome phrase as, ‘the number of a complete hand, the number of a complete foot, and the number of a complete hand, the number of a complete foot, such a number of days’ (Auca, which, using hand and feet morphemes for ‘five’ and above, can count to 20 and in multiples of 10 or 20).

Tempted by the devil, or expressing the connexion more explicitly, ‘during which days (or, where) he was tempted by the devil’ (or, an active construction); the clause is sometimes better rendered as a co-ordinated one. For to tempt, i.e. ‘to try to make a person sin.’ Some versions use indigenous specific names, ‘the avaricious one’ (Tetelcingo Nahuatl), ‘the malicious deity’ (Toraja-Sa’dan); others have borrowed the name Satan, for which see on 10.18.

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