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John the Baptist in the Bible, Biography

John the Baptist was the last prophet in the Bible who spoke about the coming Messiah. He was also a preacher who baptized people and denounced their sins. Jesus Christ was John’s cousin, with John being about 6 months older than Jesus.

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Elizabeth and Zechariah, Parents of John the Baptist

According to the Bible, the birth of John the Baptist happened about six months before Jesus was born which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline online. He was born to a temple priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. Both of them were descendants from the priestly line of Aaron. Elizabeth had been barren for many years and one day while Zechariah was performing his temple duties the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that he was going to have a son named John. Gabriel also told Zechariah that John was going to be filled with the Holy Spirit and that he was going to turn many people from sin by pronouncing the coming Messiah.

Zechariah then questioned Gabriel about what he said because Elizabeth and he were old. Gabriel then took away his ability to speak and told him that he would be able to talk again after John was born. During Elizabeth’s pregnancy Mary (Elizabeth’s cousin) the mother of Jesus had visited her after Gabriel told her that she was going to give a supernatural birth to Jesus. She realized that she was going to birth Jesus sometime after John was born.

‘John the Baptist, by Andrea del Sarto, 1528.’

Background of John the Baptist 

Once John was born, he was raised under the teachings of his father Zechariah. He learned about the Torah, Talmud and other important Jewish Holy Books and scripture. John was probably being groomed for the priesthood like his father, but the Spirit of God had led John out into the wilderness to live as a wild man who learned how to eat off of the land. The Bible claims that he had eaten locust and wild honey as a part of his daily diet and that his clothing was manufactured from camel hair. John’s life is characterized as a life of a rugged individual who lived in the wilderness preaching the word of God.

Preaching in the Wilderness

John the Baptist earned his name by baptizing many people from their sins. He also preached the concept of repentance or turning away from their evil deeds. John’s fame went out far and wide, and many people came to hear his message and to be baptized. When a person is baptized, they are submerged underneath a body of water and then taken back out as part of a symbolic process that shows a person has received new life in Jesus Christ. John’s fame also caused some of the local people within Judea to follow him as disciples. Jesus made an appearance before John and was baptized by him though John had initially refused. John was telling the people about Jesus because he knew that he was the Son of God. John had also confronted many of the Jewish religious leaders who were Pharisees and Sadducees. King Herod (the ruling Judean monarch of the time) visited John one day and was denounced by him for marrying his brother’s wife. King Herod ultimately had John imprisoned for speaking out against him in public.

‘Puvis de Chavannes, The Beheading of St John the Baptist, c. 1869’

Speaking out Against Herod John the Baptist eventually met his death while in prison. King Herod was having a birthday party and during this event his daughter had danced for the guests and it pleased everyone in attendance. King Herod told her that she could have anything that she desired because she danced so well. The young lady told the king that she wanted the head of John the Baptist on a platter after she listened to the advice of her mother. King Herod was upset because he liked to listen to John preach, and he knew that John’s death could cause serious problems with the people of Judea. However, he didn’t want to go back on his word in front of his guests and ended up killing John.

His Death

John’s disciples had taken away his body after he had died and Jesus was informed. During John’s incarceration he had his disciples go to Jesus to make sure that he was the chosen Messiah. John was only human and at times doubted, especially when he was imprisoned for his beliefs. Even though this was the case John ultimately knew that Jesus was the son of God and the chosen Messiah.

Biblical References:

Luke 1: 1 – 79 The story about how Zechariah and Elizabeth give birth to John the Baptist.

Matthew 4: 13 – 17 Jesus is baptized by John.

Mark 6: 14 – 29 John the Baptist confronts King Herod about his unlawful marriage and ends up dying in prison.

Matthew 14: 1 – 12 John the Baptist is killed in prison by King Herod.

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26 thoughts on “John the Baptist in the Bible, Biography

  1. It was not an easy moment 4 john to encounter,however it is afaith building time about,honesty,endurance while in pursuit of salvation.

  2. Thank you for sharing insights on John’s life, I hope you are blessed with more wisdom to continue sharing. John’s life was inspriational, an example for sure.

  3. It is interesting that you quoted John the baptist died four years before Jesus,
    Jesus began teaching at age 30 and John baptized him during that time, and
    was not in prison then. Jesus died on the cross at the age of 33. Actually John
    was in prison and sent two of his followers to ask Jesus a question if another
    one was coming after him. So I do not know how the statement of John dying
    four years before Jesus, using the time line of the scriptures, that is questionable.

    1. Yes, I agree. You are correct. The numbers don’t add up.

    2. I agree with u Mary. I just now read it and thought the same thing.

    3. I also agree. This statement of John dieing 4 years is incorrect. Do you know if they ever changed this on their timeline and comments or not?

      1. Sorry for misspelled words.

      2. Diana – This was removed at least for now and is under review. It seems a range is probably more appropriate. Thank you.

  4. Elizabeth was pregnant with John for six months when Jesus was conceived. Luke 1:26. That means there was 6 months between them, not 4 years, as you wrote in the second paragraph. The timeline of their births and deaths are all scrambled, but that much is clearly stated in the bible. They both began their ministry at the age of 30. Given that most scholars think Jesus was born in 6-4 BCE, and we don’t know which month, it can be surmised that John might have been born the year before 7-5 BCE (in the days of Kind Herod of Judea Luke 1:1-24). John’s ministry began in 29-30 CE accord to Luke 3:2-3, ‘ when he was 30′ but given the corrected dates, that’s incorrect. Jesus began then as well. What we have to take into consideration, is that no one really cared about recording dates accurately in that time period. John died before Jesus, but we don’t know exactly how long before. If Jesus’ ministry lasted one year, John would have been 31 but if John’s gospel is correct (the apostle, not the baptist), Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 years and he died in 27-29 CE. The closest estimate of John’s death is 24-29 CE. You contradicted yourself in your first 2 paragraphs.

    1. Also born of Zacarías + Elizabeth both de e debts of Arron so make him double registered ( special) Moses, Abraham, Elijah , John the Baptist and Almighty Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted and fasting. The most I eye caring fact is the number 40 has been used in the Bible 156 x’s I find these things amazing as the Jesus we serve

  5. thank for the info 🙂

  6. I agree with you Ama. The scripture states that the angel visited Mary before she went to see her cousin Elizabeth. Luke 1:41-42 tells that Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth said blessed is the fruit of your womb! It makes sense that only if Mary had already conceived would Elizabeth say that.

  7. Thank You Ama, GOD IS GOOD & speaks to us thru His Word, which is ALIVE & GIVING LIFE!!!

  8. Jesus getting Baptized is Matthew 3:13 not 4:13, but there are many other errors. I’m sure this one will go unnoticed too.

    1. hi Nicole, i agree with that, i picked it up,cos i am doing a study on John’s Ministry.. Its Matt 3 :13-17, not Matt 4.

  9. Yes agree with u brother, that btween john the baptist and jesus birth is six month,(ie)the gap between jesus and john is six month. Thanks.

  10. Why can’t we let the bible be correct. Why are trying to tear it apart. What are you doing? Wasn’t his crucifixion enough? All about ignorance.

  11. knowing exact dates did not seem to be important to God, after all the back and forth what really matters is the story of Salvation and how to obtain that goal to be with Jesus in Heaven in the final days..All the stories are meant to convince others that Jesus is the Messiah and that we must follow him and his path to get to Heaven.. and preach to others so they may also believe..

    1. Thank you my brother. If you argue and win all the argument, will it take you to heaven? Since you were born and you started reading books. How many of them have you been able to put together correctly? Can you remember accurately the year, date and month you read them. My take is if you open your heart to see Jesus, you will seek His personality and how to have a relationship with him. Thanks

  12. What really warranted Kind’s daughter asking for John the baptist’s head. I mean what did he do? What was his offence I am just wondering

  13. I thought this message was very informatal.

  14. She says “The Bible CLAIMS” HUH? HUH? HUH? Hell no the Bible Loudly, with All Authority, All Godliness, All of God’s Will, Declares!!!!!!! (The Bible is God’s infallible, inerrant Word) WT#3!! is She Saying the Bible Claims????? WT#3LL !!!!! She’s Full of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Bible Never No Ever CLAIMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God’s Word stands alone among all the World’s literature!!!!!!!!! The Word of God Never Claims!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Why are you using such foul language. It’s not necessary.

  15. Forget all your dead knowledge jump in and enjoy the LIVING Christ

  16. Thanks for this good message of God to informe us .But I have a question normally confronts me!
    If possible may I be helped.
    Question: How Jesus met with John ,while the coming of Jesus from Misri to Israel already Herod and John were dead ( as according to Mathew 2:13 ). Help me for this ambiguous question to .me

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