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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Mark 3

Verse 1

A withered hand [εξηραμμενην την χειρα] . More correctly Rev., his hand withered. The participle indicates that the withering was not congenital, but the result of accident or disease. Luke says his right hand.

Verse 2

They watched [παρετηρουν] . Imperfect tense. They kept watching. The compound verb, with para, by the side of, means to watch carefully or closely, as one who dogs another's steps, keeping beside or near him. Wyc., They aspieden him : i e., played the spy. On threw, to watch, see on John 17:12.

He would heal [θεραπευσει] . Future tense : whether he will heal, the reader being placed at the time of the watching, and looking forward to the future.

Verse 3

Stand forth [εγειρε εις το μεσον] . Lit., rise into the midst. So Wyc., Rise into the middle. Tynd., Arise and stand in the midst.

Verse 5

Being grieved [συλλυπουμενος] . Why the compound verb, with the preposition sun, together with? Herodotus (vi., 39) uses the word of condoling with another's misfortune. Plato (" Republic, "462) says," When any one of the citizens experiences good or evil, the whole state will either rejoice or sorrow with him [ξυλλυπησεται] . The sun therefore implies Christ 's condolence with the moral misfortune of these hardhearted ones. Compare the force of con, in condolence. Latin, con, with, dolere, to grieve.

Hardness [πωρωσει] . From pwrov, a kind of marble, and thence used of a callus on fractured bones. Pwrwsiv is originally the process by which the extremities of fractured bones are united by a callus. Hence of callousness, or hardness in general. The word occurs in two other passages in the New Testament, Romans 11:25; Ephesians 4:18, where the A. V. wrongly renders blindness, following the Vulgate caecitas. It is somewhat strange that it does not adopt that rendering here (Vulgate, caecitate) which is given by both Wyc. and Tynd. The Rev. in all the passages rightly gives hardening, which is better than hardness, because it hints at the process going on. Mark only records Christ 's feeling on this occasion.

Verse 7

Withdrew. Mark alone notes no less than eleven occasions on which Jesus retired from his work, in order to escape his enemies or to pray in solitude, for rest, or for private conference with his disciples. See Mark 1:12; Mark 3:7; Mark 6:31, Mark 6:46; Mark 7:24, Mark 7:31; Mark 9:2; Mark 10:1; Mark 14:34.

A great multitude [πολυ πληθος] . Compare verse 8, where the order of the Greek words is reversed. In the former case the greatness of the mass of people is emphasized; in the latter, the mass of people itself.

Verse 8

He did [εποιει] . Imperfect tense. Others read poiei, he is doing. In either case the tense has a continuous force : what things he was doing or is doing. Note in verses 7, 8, Mark's accurate detail of places. See Introduction. The reasons for our Lord 's withdrawing into a boat, given with such minuteness of detail in verses 9 - 11, are also peculiar to Mark.

Verse 10

Pressed upon [επιπιπτειν] . Lit., fell upon.

Plagues [μαστιγας] . Lit., scourges. Compare Acts 22:24; Hebrews 11:36. Our word plague is from plhgh, Latin plaga, meaning a blow. Pestilence or disease is thus regarded as a stroke from a divine hand. Plhgh is used in classical Greek in this metaphorical sense. Thus Sophocles, "Ajax," 279 : "I fear that a calamity [πληγη] is really come from heaven (qeou, God)." So of war. Aeschylus, "Persae," 251 : " O Persian land, how hath the abundant prosperity been destroyed by a single blow [εν μια πληγη] . The word here, scourges, carries the same idea.

Verse 11

The unclean spirits [τα] . The article indicating those particular spirits which took part in that scene. Mark's precision is shown in the use of the two articles and in the arrangement of the noun and adjective : The spirits, the unclean ones.

When they saw [οταν εθεωρουν] . More accurately as Rev., whenever they beheld. The imperfect tense denotes a repeated act. The an in otan gives an indefinite force : as often as they might see him.

Verse 12

He charged [επετιμα] . The word is commonly rendered rebuke in the New Testament. In classical Greek its predominant sense is that of severe, strenuous reproach for unworthy deeds or acts. It is several times used in the New Testament, as here, in the sense of charge. In this sense the word carries, at bottom, a suggestion of a charge under penalty [τιμη] .

That [ινα] . According to the A. V. and Rev. the that indicates the substance of Christ 's charge. Properly, however, it indicates the intent of his charge. He charged them in order that they should not make him known.

Verse 13

Whom he would [ους ηθελεν αυτος] . Rev., more strictly, "whom he himself would;" not allowing any to offer themselves for special work. Out of the larger number thus called he selected twelve. See verse 14.

Verse 14

Ordained [εποιησεν] . Lit., made. Rev., appointed.

Might send them forth [αποστελλη] . As apostles. Compare the kindred noun ajpostoloi, apostles.

Verse 15

To have power [εχειν εξουσιαν] . Note that he does not say to preach and to cast out, but to preach and to have authority to cast out. The power of preaching and the power of exorcising were so different that special mention is made of the divine authority with which they would need to be clothed. The power of driving out demons was given that they might apply it in confirmation of their teaching. Compare 16 20.

Verse 16

And Simon he surnamed Peter. Mark relates only his naming and not his appointment, leaving his appointment to be understood.

Verse 17

Although Mark mentions that the apostles were sent out in pairs (vi. 7), he does not classify them here in pairs. But he alone throws Peter and James and John, the three who shared the Lord 's particular intimacy, into one group. Matthew and Luke both introduce Andrew between Peter and James.

He surnamed them Boanerges [επεθηκεν αυτοις ονομα βοανηργες] . Lit., he put upon them the name. Some uncertainty attaches to both the origin and the application of the name. Most of the best texts read ojnomata, names, instead of name. This would indicate that each of the two was surnamed a "son of thunder." Some, however, have claimed that it was a dual name given to them as a pair, as the name Dioscuri was given to Castor and Pollux. The reason of its bestowal we do not know. It seems to have been intended as a title of honor, though not perpetuated like the surname Peter, this being the only instance of its occurrence; possibly because the inconvenience of a common surname, which would not have sufficiently designated which of them was intended, may have hindered it from ever growing into an appellation. It is justified by the impetuosity and zeal which characterized both the brothers, which prompted them to suggest the calling of fire from heaven to consume the inhospitable Samaritan village (Luke 9:54); which marked James as the victim of an early martyrdom (Acts 12:2); and which sounds in the thunders of John's Revelation. The Greek Church calls John Brontofwnov, the thunder - voiced. The phrase, sons of, is a familiar Hebrew idiom, ill which the distinguishing characteristic of the individual or thing named is regarded as his parent. Thus sparks are sons of fire (Job 5:7); threshed corn is son of the floor (Isaiah 21:10). Compare son of perdition (John 17:12); sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:6).

Verse 18

Andrew [ανδρεαν] . A name of Greek origin though ill use among the Jews, from ajnhr, man, and signifying manly. He was one of the two who came earliest to Christ (Matthew 4:18, Matthew 4:20; compare John 1:40, John 1:41); and hence is always styled by the Greek fathers prwtoklhtov, first called.

Philip [φιλιππον] . Another Greek name, meaning fond of horses. In ecclesiastical legend he is said to have been a chariot - driver.

Bartholomew. A Hebrew name - Bar Tolmai, son of Tolmai. Almost certainly identical with Nathanael. Philip and Nathanael are associated by John, as are Philip and Bartholomew in the parallel passages of the synoptics. Bartholomew is not mentioned in John's list of the twelve (xi. 2), but Nathanael is; while the synoptists do not mention Nathanael in their lists, but do mention Bartholomew. Probably he had two names.

Matthew. See on the superscription of Matthew's Gospel. Thomas. A Hebrew name, meaning twin, and translated by the Greek Didymus (John 11:16).

Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus, as in Matthew 10:3. He is the Judas of John 14:22. Luther calls him der formme Judas (the good Judas). The two surnames, Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus, mean the same thing - beloved child.

Simon the Canaanite. Properly, Cananaean. See on Matthew 10:4 : "No name is more striking in the list than that of Simon the Zealot, for to none of the twelve could the contrast be so vivid between their former and their new position. What revolution of thought and heart could be greater than that which had thus changed into a follower of Jesus one of the fierce war - party of the day, which looked on the presence of Rome in the Holy Land as treason against the majesty of Jehovah, a party who were fanatical in their Jewish strictures and exclusiveness?" (Geikie, " Life and Words of Christ ").

Verse 19

Judas Iscariot. See on Matthew 10:4.

Verse 20

Again. Glancing back to the many notices of crowds in the preceding narrative. This reassembling of the multitudes, and its interference with the repast of Christ and the disciples, is peculiar to Mark.

Verse 21

His friends [οι παρ αυτου] . Lit., they who were from beside him : i e., by origin or birth. His mother and brethren. Compare verses 31, 32. Wyc., kinsmen. Tynd., they that belonged unto him. Not his disciples, since they were in the house with him.

They said [ελεγον] . Imperfect tense. Very graphic, they kept saying.

Verse 22

Beelzebub. See on Matthew 10:25.

And. Not connecting two parts of one accusation, but two accusations, as is evident from the two otiv, which are equivalent to quotation marks.

Verse 24

And. Note the way in which the sayings are linked by this conjunction; an impressive rhetorical progression.

Verse 26

But hath an end. Peculiar to Mark.

Verse 27

Spoil [διαρπασαι] . Mark uses the stronger and more vivid compound verb, where Matthew employs the simple aJrpasai. The verb means, primarily, to tear in pieces; to carry away, as the wind; to efface, as footsteps. So, generally, to seize as plunder, snatching right and left.

His goods [τα σκευη] . Lit., his vessels. So Wyc. Compare Mark 10:16; Acts 9:15; Acts 10:11; 2 Timothy 2:20. The special object of the robber may be precious vessels of gold or silver; but the word is probably used in its general sense of household gear.

Verse 28

Compare Matthew 12:31; and note Mark's superior precision and fullness of detail.

Verse 29

Guilty [ενοχος] . From ejn, in, ecw, to hold or have. Lit., is in the grasp of, or holden of. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 2:10.

Eternal damnation [αιωνιου αμαρτηματος] . An utterly false rendering. Rightly as Rev., of an eternal sin. So Wyc., everlasting trespass. The A. V. has gone wrong in following Tyndale, who, in turn, followed the erroneous text of Erasmus, krisewv, judgment, wrongly rendered damnation. See Matthew 23:33, and compare Rev. there.

Verse 30

They said [ελεγον] . Imperfect tense. They kept saying, or persisted in saying. An addition peculiar to Mark.

31, 32. They sent unto him calling him. and a multitude was sitting about him. Detail by Mark only; as also the words in verse 34, Looking round on them which sat round about him.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/mark-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.