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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Mark 3



Other Authors
Verse 1

A withered hand ( ἐξηραμμένην τὴν χεῖρα )

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 ( παρετήρουν )

Imperfect tense. They kept watching. The compound verb, with παρά , 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 τηρέω , to watch, see on John 17:12.

He would heal ( θεραπεύσει )

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 ( ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον )

Lit., rise into the midst. So Wyc., Rise into the middle. Tynd., Arise into stand in the midst.

Verse 5

Being grieved ( συλλυπούμενος )

Why the compound verb, with the preposition σύν , together with? Herodotus (vi., 39) uses the word of condoling with another's misfortune. Plato (“Republic,” 4:62) says, “When any one of the citizens experiences good or evil, the whole state will either rejoice or sorrow with him ( ξυλλυπήσεται )The σύν , therefore implies Christ's condolence with the moral misfortune of these hardhearted ones. Compare the force of conin condolence. Latin, con, with, dolere, to grieve.

Hardness ( πωρώσει )

From πῶρος , a kind of marble, and thence used of a callus on fractured bones. Πώρωσις 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


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 ( πολὺ πλῆθος )

Compare Mark 3:8, 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 ( ἐποίει )

Imperfect tense. Others read ποιεῖ , he is doing. In either case the tense has a continuous force' what things he was doing or is doing. Note in Mark 3:7, Mark 3:8, 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 Mark 3:9, are also peculiar to Mark.

Verse 10

Pressed upon ( ἐπιπίπτειν )

Lit.,fell upon.

Plagues ( μάστιγας )

Lit., scourges. Compare Acts 22:24; Hebrews 11:36. Our word plague is from πληγή , Latin plaga, meaning a blow. Pestilence or disease is thus regarded as a stroke from a divine hand. Πληγή is used in classical Greek in this metaphorical sense. Thus Sophocles, “Ajax,” 270: “I fear that a calamity ( πληγή ) is really come from heaven ( θεοῦ , god )So of war. Aeschylus, “Persae,” 251: “O Persian land, how hath the abundant prosperity been destroyed by a single blow ( ἐν μιᾷ πληγῇ ). The word here, scourges, carries the same idea.

Verse 11

The unclean spirits ( τὰ )

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 ( ὅταν ἐθεώρουν )

More accurately as Rev., whenever they beheld. The imperfect tense denotes a repeated act. The ἄν in ὅταν gives an indefinite force: as often as they might see him.

Verse 12

He charged ( ἐπετίμα )

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 ( τιμὴ )That ( ἵνα )

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 ( οὓς ἤθελεν αὐτός )

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 Mark 3:14.

Verse 14

Ordained ( ἐποίησεν )

Lit., made. Rev., appointed.

Might send them forth ( ἀποστέλλῃ )

As apostles. Compare the kindred noun ἀπόστολοι , apostles.

Verse 15

To have power ( ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν )

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 Mark 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 (Mark 6:7), 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 ( ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές )

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 ὀνόματα , 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 Apocalypse. The Greek Church calls John Βροντόφωνος , the thunder-voiced. The phrase, sons of, is a familiar Hebrew idiom, in 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 ( Ὰνδρέαν )

A name of Greek origin though in use among the Jews, from ἀνήρ , 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 πρωτόκλητος , first called.

Philip ( Φίλιππον )

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


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 (John 21:2), but Nathanael is; while the synoptists do not mention Nathanael in their lists, but do mention Bartholomew. Probably he had two names.


See on the superscription of Matthew's Gospel.


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 fromme 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 10:5.

Verse 20


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 ( οἱ παῤ αὐτοῦ )

Lit., they who were from beside him: i.e., by origin or birth. His mother and brethren. Compare Mark 3:31, Mark 3:32. Wyc., kinsmen. Tynd., they that belonged unto him. Not his disciples, since they were in the house with him.

They said ( ἔλεγον )

Imperfect tense. Very graphic, they kept saying.

Verse 22


See on Matthew 10:25.


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

Verse 24


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 ( διαρπάσαι )

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

His goods ( τὰ σκεύη )

Lit., his vessels. So Wyc. Compare Mark 11:16; 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 fulness of detail.

Verse 29

Guilty ( ἔνοχος )

From ἐν , in, ἔχω , to hold or have. Lit., is in the grasp of, or holden of. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 2:10.

Eternal damnation ( αἰωνίου ἁμαρτήματος )

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, κρίσεως , judgment, wrongly rendered damnation. See Matthew 23:33, and compare Rev. there.

Verse 30

They said ( ἔλεγον )

Imperfect tense. They kept saying, or persisted in saying. An addition peculiar to Mark.

Verse 31
, Mark 3:32

They sent unto him calling him, and a multitude was sitting about himDetail by Mark only; as also the words in Mark 3:34, Looking round on them which sat round about him.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 3:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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