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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Mark 9



Verse 2


See on Matthew 17:2.

Verse 3

Shining ( οτίλβοντα )

Rev., glistering. The word is used of a gleam from polished surfaces - arms, sleek horses, water in motion, the twinkling of the stars, lightning.

As no fuller, etc

Peculiar to Mark.

Verse 5


Though no question had been asked him: but the Lord's transfiguration was an appeal to him and he desired to respond.

Verse 7

Sore afraid

Wyc., aghast by dread.

Beloved son

Wyc., most dearworthy.

Verse 8

Suddenly ( ἐξάπινα )

The Greek word only here in the New Testament.

Verse 9

Tell ( διηγήσωνται )

Mark's word is more graphic than Matthew's εἴπητε . The word is from διά , through, and ἡγέομαι , to lead the way. Hence to lead one through a series of events: to narrate.


Wyc., asking. Tynd., disputing.

Verse 14

The scribes

The particularizing of the scribes as the questioners, and Mark 9:15, Mark 9:16, are peculiar to Mark.

Verse 15

Were greatly amazed ( ἐξεθαμβήθησαν )

A word peculiar to Mark. See Introduction.

Verse 18

It taketh him ( καταλάβῃ )

Lit., seizeth hold of him. Our word catalepsy is derived from this.

Teareth ( ῥήσσει )

Rev., dasheth down, with rendeth in margin. The verb is a form of ῥήγνυμι , to break. The form ῥήσσω is used in classical Greek of dancers beating the ground, and of beating drums. Later, in the form ῥάσσειν , a term of fighters: to fell, or knock down, which is the sense adopted by Rev.

Gnasheth with his teeth

Rev., grindeth. This and the pining away are peculiar to Mark.

Verse 19

Faithless ( ἄπιστος )

Faithless has acquired the sense of treacherous, not keeping faith. But Christ means without faith, and such is Tyndale's translation. Wyc., out of belief. Unbelieving would be better here. The Rev. retains this rendering of the A. V. at 1 Corinthians 7:14, 1 Corinthians 7:15; Titus 1:15; Revelation 21:8, and elsewhere.

Verse 20

Mark is more specific in his detail of the convulsion which seized the lad as he was coming to Jesus. He notes the convulsion as coming on at the demoniac's sight of our Lord. “When he saw him, straightway the spirit,” etc. Also his falling on the ground, wallowing and foaming. We might expect the detail of these symptoms in Luke, the physician.


Verse 22


Very touching. The father identifies himself with the son's misery. Compare the Syro-Phoenician, who makes her daughter's case entirely her own: “Have mercy on me” (Matthew 15:22).

Verse 23

If thou canst believe ( τὸ εἰ δύνῃ )

Lit., the if thou canst. The word believe is wanting in the best texts. It is difficult to explain to an English reader the force of the definite article here. “It takes up substantially the word spoken by the father, and puts it with lively emphasis, without connecting it with the further construction, in order to link its fulfilment to the petitioner's own faith” (Meyer). We might paraphrase thus. Jesus said: “that if thou canst of thine - as regards that, all things are possible,” etc. There is a play upon the words δύνῃ , canst, and δυνατὰ , possible, which cannot be neatly rendered. “If thou canst - all things can be.

Verse 24

Cried out and said ( κράξας - ἔλεγεν )

The former denoting the inarticulate cry, the ejaculation, followed by the words, “Lord, I believe,” etc.

Verse 30

Passed through ( παρεπορεύοντο )

Lit., passed along ( παρά )Not tarrying. Bengel says, “not through the cities, but past them.”

Verse 31

He taught ( ἐδίδασκεν )

The Rev. would have done better to give the force of the imperfect here: He was teaching. He sought seclusion because he was engaged for the time in instructing. The teaching was the continuation of the “began to teach” (Mark 8:31).

Is delivered

The present tense is graphic. The future is realized by the Lord as already present. See on Matthew 26:2.


Verse 35

Servant ( διάκονος )

Rev., minister. Probably from διώκω to pursue; to be thefollower of a person; to attach one's self to him. As distinguished from other words in the New Testament meaning servant, this represents the servant in his activity; while δοῦλος , slave, represents him in his condition or relation as a bondman. A διάκονος , may be either a slave or a freeman. The word deacon is an almost literal transcription of the original. See Philemon 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:12. The word is often used in the New Testament to denote ministers of the gospel. See 1 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 3:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2, and elsewhere. Mark uses δοῦλος , in Mark 10:44.

Verse 36

Let ( ἔστησεν )

Wyc. renders ordained.

When he had taken him in his arms ( ἐναγκαλισάμενος )

The verb is found only in Mark, and only he records this detail.

Verse 37

In my name

Lit., “upon ( ἐπὶ ) my name.” See on Matthew 18:5.

Verse 38

In thy name

John's conscience is awakened by the Lord's words. They had not received the man who east out devils in Christ's name.

Verse 42


Rev., great millstone. See on Matthew 18:6. Wyc., millstone of asses. Note the graphic present and perfect tenses; the millstone is hanged, and he hath been cast.

Verse 43


See on Matthew 5:22.

Verse 47

With one eye ( μονόφθαλμον )

Lit., one-eyed. One of Mark's words which is branded as slang. Wyc. oddly renders goggle-eyed.

Verse 50

Have lost its saltness ( ἄναλον γένηται )

Lit., may have become saltless. Compare on Matthew 5:13.

Will ye season ( ἀρτύσετε )

Lit., will ye restore. Compare Colossians 4:5.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 9:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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