Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Mark 1

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

1 . ἀρχὴ κ . τ . λ .] This is probably a title to what follows, as Matthew 1:1 , and not connected with Mark 1:4 , as Fritzsche and Lachm., nor with Mark 1:2 , as Meyer. It is simpler and gives more majesty to the exordium, to put a period at the end of Mark 1:1 , and make the citation from the Prophet a new and confirmatory title.

Ἰης . χρ . ] of, as its author, or its subject, as the context may determine. “If the genit. after εὐαγγ . is not a person, it is always that of the object , as εὐαγγ . τῆς βασιλείας , τῆς σωτηρίας κ . τ . λ . (Matthew 4:23 ; Ephesians 1:13 ; Eph 6:15 alli [1] .). If θεοῦ follows, the genit. is one of the subject (ch. Mark 1:15 .Romans 1:1; Romans 1:1 ; Romans 1:15-16 , alli [2] .), as also when μου follows (Romans 2:16 ; Rom 16:25 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:5 , alli [3] .). But if χριστοῦ follows (Romans 1:9 ; Romans 15:19 ; 1 Corinthians 9:12 , alli [4] .), it may be either genit. of the subject ( auctoris ) or of the object : and only the context can determine. Here it decides for the latter ( Mar 1:2-8 ). Render therefore, the glad tidings concerning Jesus Christ. ” Meyer.

[1 ] alli= some cursive mss.

[2] alli= some cursive mss.

[3] alli= some cursive mss.

[4] alli= some cursive mss.

Verses 1-8



N.B. Throughout Mark, the parallel places in Matthew are to be consulted. Where the agreement is verbal, or nearly so, no notes are here appended, except grammatical and philological ones.

1 8. ] THE PREACHING AND BAPTISM OF JOHN. Matthew 3:1-12 .Luke 3:1-17; Luke 3:1-17 . The object of Mark being to relate the official life and ministry of our Lord, he begins with His baptism ; and as a necessary introduction to it, with the preaching of John the Baptist . His account of John’s baptism has many phrases in common with both Matt. and Luke; but from the additional prophecy quoted in Mark 1:2 , is certainly independent and distinct (see Prolegomena to the Gospp. ch. i. § ii.).

Verses 2-3

2, 3. ] This again stands independently, not ἐγέν . Ἰωάν . ( ὁ ) βαπτ … ὡς γέγρ .

The citation here is from two Prophets , Isa. and Mal.: see reff. The fact will not fail to be observed by the careful and honest student of the Gospels. Had the citation from Isaiah stood first, it would have been of no note, as Meyer observes. Consult notes on Matthew 11:10 ; Matthew 3:3 .

Verse 4

4. ] See on Matthew 3:1 .

βάπτ . μετ ., the baptism symbolic of (“gen. of the characteristic quality,” Meyer) repentance and forgiveness of the death unto sin, and new birth unto righteousness. The former of these only comes properly into the notion of John’s baptism, which did not confer the Holy Spirit, Mark 1:8 .

Verse 7

7. κύψας λῦσαι .… ] The expression is common to Mark, Luke, and John ( Mar 1:27 ). It amounts to the same as bearing the shoes for he who did the last would necessarily be also employed in loosing and taking off the sandal. But the variety is itself indicative of the independence of Matt. and Mark of one another. John used the two expressions at different times, and our witnesses have reported both. κύψας is added by Mark, who, as we shall find, is more minute in circumstantial detail than the other Evangelists.

Verse 8

8. ] Matt. and Luke add καὶ πυρί .

Verses 9-11

9 11. ] JESUS IS BAPTIZED BY HIM. Matthew 3:13-17 . Luke 3:21-22 .

ἀπὸ Ναζ . is contained here only. The words with which this account is introduced, express indefiniteness as to time. It was ( Luk 3:21 ) after all the people were baptized : see note there.

The commencement of this Gospel has no marks of an eye-witness: it is the compendium of generally current accounts .

Verse 10

10. ] εὐθύς , or - θέως , is a favourite connecting word with Mark. St. Mark has here taken the oral account verbatim, and applied it to Jesus, ‘ He saw ,’ &c. and αὐτόν must mean Himself : otherwise we must understand ὁ Ἰωάν . before εἶδεν , and take ἀναβ . as pendent , which is very improbable.

The construction of the sentence is a remarkable testimony of the independence of Mark and Matt. even when parts of the narrative agree verbatim. See note on Matthew 3:16 .

σχιζ ., peculiar to Mark; and more descriptive than ἀνεῴχθησαν , Matt. Luke.

Verse 11

11. ] σὺ εἶ , Mark, Luke; οὗτός ἐς ., Matt. ἐν ᾧ εὐδ ., Matt.; ἐν σοὶ εὐδ ., Mark and Luke. I mention these things to shew how extremely improbable it is that Mark had either Matt. or Luke before him. Such arbitrary alteration of documents could never have been the practice of any one seriously intent on an important work.

Verses 12-13

12 , 13. ] ἐκβάλλω = ἀνάγω Matt., = ἄγω Luke. It is a more forcible word than either of these to express the mighty and cogent impulse of the Spirit.

σατανᾶ = διαβ . Matt., Luke: see note, Matthew 4:1 .

It seems to have been permitted to the evil one to tempt our Lord during the whole of the 40 days , and of this we have here, as in Luke, an implied assertion. The additional intensity of temptation at the end of that period, is expressed in Matt. by the tempter coming to Him becoming visible and audible. Perhaps the being with the beasts may point to one form of temptation, viz. that of terror , which was practised on Him: but of the inward trials who may speak?

οἱ ἄγγ ., as τῶν θηρ . generic.

There is nothing here to contradict the fast spoken of in Matt. and Luke, as De W. maintains. Our Evangelist perhaps implies it in the last words of Mark 1:13 . It is remarkable that those Commentators who are fondest of maintaining that Mark constructed his narrative out of those of Matt. and Luke (De W., Meyer) are also most keen in pointing out what they call irreconcileable differences between him and them. No apportionment of these details to the various successive parts of the temptation is given by our Evangelist. They are simply stated to have happened, compendiously.

Verse 14

14. ] See note on Matthew 4:12 .

παραδ . seems to have been the usual and well-known term for the imprisonment of John.

τὸ εὐαγ . τ . θ . ] See reff., and note on Mark 1:1 .

Verses 14-15

14, 15. ] JESUS BEGINS HIS MINISTRY. Matthew 4:12-17 . Luke 4:14-15 .

Verse 15

15. πεπλ . ὁ καιρ . ] See Galatians 4:4 . “The end of the old covenant is at hand; … the Son is born, grown up, anointed (in his baptism), tempted, gone forth, the testimony of his witness is given, and now He witnesses Himself; now begins that last speaking of God, by His Son ( Heb 1:1 ), which henceforth shall be proclaimed in all the world till the end comes.” Stier, R. J. i. 57.

καὶ πιστ . ] These words are in Mark only. They furnish us an interesting characteristic of the difference between the preaching of John , which was that of repentance and of our Lord , which was repentance and faith . It is not in Himself as the Saviour that this faith is yet preached: this He did not proclaim till much later in his ministry: but in the fulfilment of the time and approach of the kingdom of God .

ἐν is not instrumental (as Fritzsche), ‘ by means of the Gospel:’ but in the Gospel, which, in its completion, sets forth Jesus Christ as the object of faith. “The object of the faith is conceived as that on which the faith lays hold.” Meyer.

Verses 16-20

16 20. ] CALLING OF PETER, ANDREW, JAMES, AND JOHN. Matthew 4:18-22 . Almost verbatim as Matt. The variations are curious: after Σίμωνα , Mark omits τὸν λεγ . Πέτρ .: although the name was prophetically given by our Lord before this, in John 1:43 , it perhaps was not actually given, till the twelve became a distinct body, see ch. Mark 3:16 .

Matt. has εἰς τὴν θ ., for our ἐν τ . θ ., an inconceivable variation if one copied the other, as is also ἀμφιβάλλ . for βάλλ . ἀμφίβληστρον .

The παράγων παρά , and the ἀμφιβ . ἐν τ . θαλ . are noticed by Meyer as belonging to the graphic delineation which this Evangelist loves.

Verse 17

17. ] γενέσθαι is here inserted before ἁλεεῖς for minute accuracy.

Verse 19

19. ] μετὰ Ζ . τ . πατρ . αὐτ . (Matt.) is omitted here, and [5] . inserted below, where Matt. has simply τ . πατ .

[5] The CODEX RESCRIPTUS DUBLINENSIS, in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Contains, of the N.T., the Gospel of Matthew. It was discovered (under the cursive writing of a copy of Chrysostom de Sacerdotio, extracts from Epiphanius, &c.) by Dr. Barrett, who published all that he could read in not very exact copper-plate facsimile at the expense of the college in 1801. Tregelles, in 1853, by the aid of a chemical mixture was able to decipher the portions which had baffled Barrett, and carefully recollated the whole. It has many lacunæ, which will be seen by the letters in our inner margin. The date assigned to it is the sixth century .

καὶ αὐτούς , these also, as well as the former pair of brothers. It belongs only to ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ , not to the following clause.

Verse 20

20. ] μετὰ τῶν μισθ . is inserted for particularity, and perhaps to soften the leaving their father alone. It gives us a view of the station of life of Zebedee and his sons; they were not poor fishermen, but had hired servants .

Matt. has ἠκολούθης . αὐτ .

Now may we not venture to say that both these accounts came from Peter originally? Matthew’s an earlier one, taught (or given in writing perhaps) without any definite idea of making it part of a larger work; but this carefully corrected and rendered accurate, even to the omitting the name Peter , which though generally known, and therefore mentioned in the oral account, was perhaps not yet formally given, and was therefore omitted in the historical .

Verse 21

21. ] Not immediately after the preceding. The calling of the Apostles , the Sermon on the Mount , the healing of the leper , and of the centurion’s servant , precede the following miracle.

Verses 21-28


Verse 22

22. ] A formula occurring entire at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:28 , and the first clause of it, and, in substance, the second also, in the corresponding place to this in Luke 4:32 .

Verse 23

23. ἄνθ . ἐν πν . ] The use of the prep. in this connexion is unusual: see reff. I think the best account of it is, that it falls under a large class of usages of ἐν , expressing the element in which the man lived and moved, as possessed and interpenetrated by the evil spirit, as in the common expressions ἐν κυρίῳ , ἐν χριστῷ , cf. 2 Corinthians 12:2 , and Acts 17:28 .

Verses 23-28

23 28. ] This account occurs in Luke 4:33-37 , nearly verbatim: for the variations, see there. It is very important for our Lord’s official life, as shewing that He rejected and forbade all testimony to his Person, except that which He came on earth to give . The dæmons knew Him , but were silenced . (See Matthew 8:29 ; ch. Mark 5:7 .) It is of course utterly impossible to understand such a testimony as that of the sick person , still less of the fever or disease .

Verse 24

24. Ναζ . ] We may observe that this epithet often occurs under strong contrast to His Majesty and glory; as here, and ch. Mark 16:6 , and Acts 2:22-24 ; Acts 22:8 ; and, we may add, John 19:19 .

ἡμᾶς , generic: “communem inter se causam habent dæmonia,” Bengel.

Verse 26

26. σπαράξ . ] having convulsed him, see reff. Luke adds, that he did not injure him at all.

Verse 27

27. ] πρὸς ἑαυτούς is not, each man within himself, but amounts to πρὸς ἀλλήλους , see reff. Meyer well remarks, that the reason of the reflexive pronoun being used, is probably to be found in the narrative representing what was said among themselves , not to Jesus and his disciples.

We may either take καινή with κατ ʼ ἐξουσίαν , ‘ new in respect of power ,’ as Meyer: or regard καινή and κατ ʼ ἐξουσίαν as two separate predicates of διδαχή . The latter view is preferable as more borne out by the adverbial use of κατά with nouns signifying power in the reff. Render then a teaching new and powerful.

Verse 28

28. ] This miracle, which St. Mark and St. Luke relate first of all, is not stated by them to have been the first . Cf. John 2:11 .

Verses 29-34

29 34. ] HEALING OF SIMON’S MOTHER-IN-LAW. Matthew 8:14-17 . Luke 4:38-41 . The three accounts, perhaps from a common source (but see notes on Luke), are all identical in substance, but very diverse in detail and words.

Verse 31

31. ] ἀφῆκεν αὐτήν , of the fever , is common to all, and διηκόνει αὐτοῖς , but no more . The same may be said of Mark 1:32-34 : the words καὶ ἦν ὅλ . ἡ πόλ . ἐπ θύραν are added in our text, shewing the accurate detail of an eye-witness, as also does the minute specification of the house, and of the two accompanying, in Mark 1:29 . Observe the distinction between the sick and the dæmoniacs : cf. ch. Mark 3:15 . Observe also πολλούς , πολλά , in connexion with the statement that the sun had set. There was not time for all . Meyer, who notices this, says also that in some the conditions of healing may have been wanting. But we do not find this obstacle existing on other occasions: cf. Matthew 4:24 ; Matthew 12:15 ; Matthew 14:14 ; Acts 5:16 . On the not permitting the dæmons to speak, see note above, Mark 1:23-28 . I should be disposed to ascribe the account to Peter. Simon, Andrew, James, and John occur together again, ch. Mark 13:3 .

Verse 35

35. ] ἔννυχα , acc. plur. neut. of ἔννυχος , as in the sing. σήμερον , αὔριον , νέον , &c., a form not so used in the classics. We have however πάννυχα , Soph. Ajax, 911.

ἐξῆλθ . from the house of Peter and Andrew, Mark 1:29 .

Verses 35-38

35 38. ] JESUS, BEING SOUGHT OUT IN HIS RETIREMENT, PREACHES AND HEALS THROUGHOUT GALILEE. Luke 4:42-43 , where see note. Our Lord’s present purpose was, not to remain in any one place, but to make the circuit of Galilee; not to work miracles, but to preach.

Verse 36

36. οἱ μετ ʼ αὐτ . ] Andrew, John, and James, ibid.

Verse 38

38. ] ἐξῆλθ . = ἀπεστάλην , Luke: not ‘ undertook this journey :’ He had not yet begun any journey , and it cannot apply to ἐξῆλθεν above, for that was not to any city, nor to preach. The word has its more solemn sense, as in reff. John, though of course not understood then by the hearers. To deny this, as Meyer, is certainly not safe.

Verse 39

39. ] See on Matthew 4:23 ; also on Luke 4:44 .

κηρ . εἰς ] not for ἐν , but as ἐς τὸν δῆμον λέγειν , Thuc. Mark 1:45 , and similar expressions: see reff.

Verses 40-45

40 45. ] CLEANSING OF A LEPER. Matthew 8:2-4 .Luke 5:12-14; Luke 5:12-14 . The account here is the fullest, and evidently an original one, from an eye-witness. St. Luke mentions ( Mar 1:15 ) the spreading of the fame of Jesus, without assigning the cause as in our Mark 1:45 . See note on Matt.

Verse 41

41. ] σπλαγχνισθείς gives the reason of ἐκτείνας : Jesus being moved with compassion stretched out his hand and touched him. This is characteristic of St. Mark.

Verse 43

43. ] ἐξέβαλεν need not necessarily imply that the healing was in a house (Meyer); it might have been in a city , as in Luke.

Verse 44

44. ] σεαυτόν , being prefixed to the verb, has an emphasis: trouble not thyself with talking to others, but go complete thine own case by getting thyself formally declared pure.

Verse 45

45. ] ἤρξατο , he lost no time in doing it.

τὸν λόγον ] not, ‘ what Jesus had said to him ,’ but the account , of his healing.

ἤρχοντο tells us more than ἦλθον would have done. Our Lord did not wish to put a stop to the multitudes seeking Him, but only to avoid that kind of concourse which would have beset Him in the towns : the seeking to Him for teaching and healing still went or and that from all parts.

CHAP. Mark 2:1-12 . ] HEALING OF A PARALYTIC AT CAPERNAUM. Matthew 9:2-8 , where see notes. Luke 5:17-26 . The three are evidently independent accounts; Mark’s, as usual, the most precise in details; e.g. “ borne of four ;” Luke’s also bearing marks of an eye-witness (see Mark 1:19 , end); Matthew’s apparently at second hand.

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Mark 1". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/mark-1.html. 1863-1878.
Ads FreeProfile