Friday, December 24, 2010

Luke 2:8-14, The Christmas Story Part 2

     8 And there were shepherds in the same area1 living outside and keeping watch over their flock at night. 9 And an angel2 of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shined around them, and they were terrified3. 10 And the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. For behold, I bring good news of great joy to you, which is for all people4, 11 because today a savior has been born to you in the city of David, who is Christ5 the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and laying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly a multitude of heavenly host6 appeared7 with the angel praising God and saying,
     14 “Glory to God in the highest 
     and on earth, peace among mankind8 of whom are pleasing to God!”  Luke 2:8-14

1 ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ (in the same area) 

or “in the same country” or “in the same region”.

2 ἄγγελος (angel)

or “messenger”. We do get angel from ἄγγελος, but it is really a “messenger”.

3 ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν (they were terrified) 

Greek: “They feared a great fear”.

4 ἥτις ἔσται παντὶ τῷ λαῷ (which is for all people) 

or “which is to all people”.

5 χριστὸς (Christ) 

or “the anointed one” or “the messiah”.

6 πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου (a multitude of heavenly host) 

Greek: “a multitude of a heavenly army” or “a multitude of an army from heaven”.

7 ἐγένετο (appeared) 

Greek: “became” or “came”.

8 ἐν ἀνθρώποις (among mankind) 

Greek: “among men”.

The Greek

Λουκᾶν 2·8 Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἀγραυλοῦντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμνην αὐτῶν. 9 καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν. 10 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ἄγγελος· μὴ φοβεῖσθε, ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαρὰν μεγάλην ἥτις ἔσται παντὶ τῷ λαῷ,
11 ὅτι ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σήμερον σωτὴρ ὅς ἐστιν χριστὸς κύριος ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ. 12 καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν τὸ σημεῖον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ. 13 καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐγένετο σὺν τῷ ἀγγέλῳ πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου αἰνούντων τὸν θεὸν καὶ λεγόντων·
14 δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη
ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Luke 2:1-7, The Christmas Story Part 1

     1 And it came to pass1 in those days, an official order2 went out from Caesar Augustus that all the Roman Empire3 should be registered4 for a census. 2 This was the first census that happened while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was traveling5 to be registered for the census; each to his own city. 4 Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, into the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and lineage6 of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, while she was pregnant7 . 6 And it came to pass8 while they were there, the time came for her to give birth9. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son, and she wrapped him in strips of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was not a place for them in the inn.  Luke 2:1-7


It's that time of the year!  I thought it would be great to translate the Christmas story.  We will be taking Luke's account of it.  There will be two parts.  Enjoy!

1 Ἐγένετο δὲ (And it came to pass) 

Greek: “And it became”.

2 δόγμα (an official order) 

or “a decree”.

3 τὴν οἰκουμένην (Roman Empire) 

Greek: “the inhabited world”.

4 ἀπογράφεσθαι (should be registered) 

or “should be put on a list”.

5 ἐπορεύοντο πάντες (everyone was traveling) 

Greek: “everyone was going”.

6 πατριᾶς (lineage) 

or “family”.

7 οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ (while she was pregnant)

or, “while being pregnant”. Since the whole clause is in the dative (τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ), this could mean that she was promised to Joseph while she was pregnant. So, the passage could be translated, “who was promised in marriage to him while being pregnant”. The comma would have to be removed in order to translate the passage like this, but bear in mind, there was no punctuation in the original writings.

8 See note 1

9 ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν (the time came for her to give birth)

Greek: “the days of her giving birth completed”.

The Greek

Λουκᾶν 2·1 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην. 2 αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου. 3 καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν. 4 Ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυὶδ ἥτις καλεῖται Βηθλέεμ, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυίδ, 5 ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ. 6 Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν, 7 καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mark 5:21-24a, Jairus’ Daughter and the Woman Who Touched Jesus’ Garment Part 1 (The Study of Mark)

     21 And after Jesus crossed over again in the boat to the other side of the sea, a large crowd gathered together to him, and he was alongside the sea. 22 And one of the synagogue leaders1, named Jairus, came. And seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and he pleaded with him much saying, “My little daughter2 is at the end3. Please come and lay your hands on her so that she may be healed4 and live.” 24 And he departed with him. Mark 5:21-24a

1 εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων (one of the synagogue leaders)

Jairus was not the chief leader, but was probably one of the elders of the local synagogue. Never the less, it was a big deal for Jairus to come to Jesus because he was one of the leaders of the synagogue.

2 τὸ θυγάτριόν (little daughter) 

According to BDAG, this could mean that she was at the age of being married.

3 ἐσχάτως ἔχει (is at the end) 

Greek: “is having ending”.

4 σωθῇ (she may be healed) 

or “she may be saved”. As in “saved” from the sickness.

The Greek

Μάρκον 5·21 Καὶ διαπεράσαντος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ [ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ] πάλιν εἰς τὸ πέραν συνήχθη ὄχλος πολὺς ἐπ ̓ αὐτόν, καὶ ἦν παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. 22 Καὶ ἔρχεται εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων, ὀνόματι Ἰάϊρος, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν πίπτει πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ 23 καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ λέγων ὅτι τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει, ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ ἵνα σωθῇ καὶ ζήσῃ. 24 καὶ ἀπῆλθεν μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mark 5:11-20, The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac Part 2 (The Study of Mark)

     11 And there was a great herd of pigs feeding near the mountain1. 12 And they urged him saying, “Send us into the pigs2, so that we may go into them.” 13 And he allowed them. And after going out from the man, the unclean spirits went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the cliff into the sea, about two thousand of them, and they were drowned3 in the sea. 14 And the ones who were feeding them fled and told4 it in the city and in the fields; and they came to see what had happened. 15 And they come to Jesus and see the demon-possessed man5 sitting clothed and sane6, who had had the legion of demons, and they were frightened. 16 And the onlookers7 described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man and about the pigs. 17 And they began to urge him to leave from their territory. 18 And while he was getting into the boat, the demon-possessed man was pleading that he may be with him8 . 19 And he did not permit him, but says to him, “Go into your house to your family and tell9 them all the great things the Lord has done for you and how he had mercy on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in the Decapolis10 all the great things Jesus did for him, and everyone was amazed. Mark 5:11-20

1 πρὸς τῷ ὄρει (near the mountain) 

Greek: “toward the mountain”.

2 From a Jewish point of view, this would have been “unclean to unclean”. Pigs would have been a fitting place for demons to go.

3 ἐπνίγοντο (were drowned) 

Greek: “were choked”.

4 ἀπήγγειλαν (told) 

or “announced”.

5 τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον (the demon-possessed man) 

Greek: “the one who is demon possessed”. Obviously, the man is no longer demon-possessed.

6 σωφρονοῦντα (sane) 

Greek: “in his right mind”.

7 οἱ ἰδόντες (onlookers) 

Greek: “the ones who saw”.

8 ἵνα μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ ᾖ (that he may be with him)

This suggests that the man wanted to be a disciple of Jesus and be in the “inner circle”, but that was not his mission. His mission was to tell his story to everyone on his side of the sea of Galilee. There is also a chance here that the demon-possessed man was a gentile. That would have made it virtually impossible for him to be on of the “inner circle” as the Jews would have not looked very highly on that.

9 ἀπάγγειλον (tell)

Greek: “report”.

10 Decapolis (ten cities)

The Greek

Μάρκον 5·11 ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη· 12 καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες· πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν. 13 καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.
Μάρκον 5·14 Καὶ οἱ βόσκοντες αὐτοὺς ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς· καὶ ἦλθον ἰδεῖν τί ἐστιν τὸ γεγονὸς 15 καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα, τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν. 16 καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων. 17 καὶ ἤρξαντο παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν.
Μάρκον 5·18 Καὶ ἐμβαίνοντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον παρεκάλει αὐτὸν ὁ δαιμονισθεὶς ἵνα μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ ᾖ. 19 καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκεν αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ λέγει αὐτῷ· ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου πρὸς τοὺς σοὺς καὶ ἀπάγγειλον αὐτοῖς ὅσα ὁ κύριός σοι πεποίηκεν καὶ ἠλέησέν σε. 20 καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καὶ ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mark 5:1-10, The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac Part 1 (The Study of Mark)

     1 And they went across the sea into the region of the Gerasenes. 2 And after he got out of the boat, immediately, from the tombs, a man with an unclean spirit1 met him, 3 who was living among the tombs2. And no one was able to bind him any longer3, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but he tore the chains apart4 and the fetters were broken into pieces. And no one was strong enough to control him; 5 for he was continually5 crying out night and day among the tombs and in the mountains and cutting himself with stones. 6 And seeing Jesus at a distance6, he ran and bowed down to him7 7 and crying out in a great voice says, “What to me and to you8, Jesus son of the most high God9? I demand that you take an oath by God, not to torture me.” 8 For he had been saying to him, “Come out of the man unclean spirit!” 9 And he was asking him, “What is your name? 10” And he says to him, “My name is Legion11 , for we are many.” 10 And he appealed to him over and over again12 so that he would not send them13 outside of the region14.  Mark 5:1-10

1 ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ (with an unclean spirit) 

Greek: “in an unclean spirit”. It means that the man was under the influence of the unclean spirit. This also occurs in 1:23-24.

2 ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν (who was living among the tombs)

Greek: “who was having his home among the tombs”.

3 οὐκέτι (any longer)

Greek: “no longer”. The text suggest that the man possibly was bound as an earlier time, but had grown more powerful and couldn’t be controlled now.

4 καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ ̓ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις (but he tore the chains apart)

Greek: “and to tear apart the chains by him”. This just indicates that Mark wasn’t using very good Greek in this passage (my opinion), but was using day-to-day common Greek. Although the Greek is not so good, we can still see what was going on in the narrative.

5 διὰ παντὸς (continually) 

Greek: “always”.

6 ἀπὸ μακρόθεν (from a distance) 

Greek: “from a far off".

7 προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ (bowed down to him)

This could also mean “worshipped him”, but that is not very likely the meaning here. This does show that the demons were bowing down to a superior person, but it doesn’t mean that they were worshipping Jesus in doing so. They were probably trying to gain some favor from Jesus.

8 τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί (What to me and to you)

An idiom. In ancient times, this was a Jewish idiom that people used when someone was doing something to them that they believe wasn’t deserved. You would certainly here it in the courts. It really means “what have I done to you that you would do this to me?” You will see it translated “What do you have to do with me?”, “Leave me alone.”, and in other ways. This occurs is 1:24 as well.

9 τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου (of the most high God) 

Greek: “of the highest God”.

10τί ὄνομά σοι; (What is your name?) 

Greek: “What name is to you?"

11λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι (My name is Legion) 

Greek: “Legion is the name to me”. A legion was a group of Roman Soldiers that had 5000 to 6000 troops.

12πολλὰ (over and over again) 

Greek: “much”.

13αὐτὰ (them)

Notice how the passage moves from the singular (he appealed) to the plural (them). Mark is trying to bring out that the demons (plural) were speaking with one voice through the one man. This gives us a good look at how demon possession was viewed in the 1st century.

14 ἔξω τῆς χώρας (outside the region)

We don’t know exactly why the demons didn’t want to be sent away from the area. Some scholars think that demons were assigned to geographical regions and that they would lose their power if they were relocated to another area. Other scholars think that Jesus could have sent them to a remote place where they could no longer do any harm to people and that’s why the demons didn’t what to leave the area. In either case, the demons did not want to leave the area.

The Greek

Μάρκον 5·1 Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν. 2 καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, 3 ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν, καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι 4 διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσιν δεδέσθαι καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ ̓ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι· 5 καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις. 6 καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ 7 καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγει· τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου; ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς. 8 ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ· ἔξελθε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. 9 καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν. 10 καὶ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν πολλὰ ἵνα μὴ αὐτὰ ἀποστείλῃ ἔξω τῆς χώρας.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mark 4:35-41, The Calming of a Storm (The Study of Mark)

     35 And in that day when the evening came he says to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the sea.” 36 And after leaving the crowd, they take him along as he was1, in the boat, and other boats were with him. 37 And a great storm of wind came and the waves were breaking over2 the boat, so that the boat was already filling up with water. 38 And he was in the back of the boat3 sleeping on a cushion4. And they woke5 him up and says to him, “Teacher, does it not concern you that we are perishing?” 39 And after getting up, he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Calm down, Be silent!” And the wind stopped and there became a great calm. 40 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid6? Don’t you have faith yet7?” 41 And they were terrified8 and were saying9 to one another, “Who can this be10 that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41

1 ὡς ἦν ἐν (as he was)

Jesus was already in the boat teaching. Mark is trying to indicate that Jesus didn’t have to get into a boat to go across as he was already in a boat.

2 ἐπέβαλλεν (were breaking over)

Greek: “were throwing over” or “were throwing on”. Since the waves were causing the boat to fill up with water, the translation “were breaking over” best suits this passage.

3 ἐν τῇ πρύμνῃ (in the back of the boat) 

Greek: “in the stern”.

4 ἐπὶ τὸ προσκεφάλαιον (on a cushion) 

Greek: “on a pillow”.

5 ἐγείρουσιν αὐτὸν (they woke him up) 

Greek: “they got him up”.

6 τί δειλοί ἐστε; (Why are you afraid?) 

Greek: “Why are you cowardly?” In a battle in war time, this would mean “to run away from battle”.

7 οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; (Don’t you have faith yet?)

This implies that Jesus was getting a little frustrated with his disciples. They had seen many miracles up to this point, but still didn’t understand who he was.

8 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν (And they were terrified)

Greek: “And they feared a great fear”. They were not terrified of the storm and the sea, but of what Jesus had done to the storm and the sea and what he had just spoken to them. Mark gives us a very vivid picture of the lack of understanding on the disciples part.

9 λεγον πρὸς ἀλλήλους (were saying to one another) 

This indicates that they were saying this over and over or in a continual fashion.

10τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν (Who can this be)

Greek: “Who then is this”. This has been rendered in more common english than “Who then is this”.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·35 Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὀψίας γενομένης· διέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πέραν. 36 καὶ ἀφέντες τὸν ὄχλον παραλαμβάνουσιν αὐτὸν ὡς ἦν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ, καὶ ἄλλα πλοῖα ἦν μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ. 37 καὶ γίνεται λαῖλαψ μεγάλη ἀνέμου καὶ τὰ κύματα ἐπέβαλλεν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον, ὥστε ἤδη γεμίζεσθαι τὸ πλοῖον. 38 καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἐν τῇ πρύμνῃ ἐπὶ τὸ προσκεφάλαιον καθεύδων. καὶ ἐγείρουσιν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· διδάσκαλε, οὐ μέλει σοι ὅτι ἀπολλύμεθα; 39 καὶ διεγερθεὶς ἐπετίμησεν τῷ ἀνέμῳ καὶ εἶπεν τῇ θαλάσσῃ· σιώπα, πεφίμωσο. καὶ ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἐγένετο γαλήνη μεγάλη. 40 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· τί δειλοί ἐστε; οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; 41 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἀλλήλους· τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῷ;

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mark 4:33-34, The Use of Parables (The Study of Mark)

     33 And he was speaking1 the word to them with many parables such2 as these, in as much as they were able to understand3. 34 And he was not speaking to them without4 a parable. But privately, he was explaining5 all things to his own disciples. Mark 4:33-34


This passage concludes the series of parables found in 4:1-32.  Basically, it is a general "wrap up" for verses 4:1-32.

1 ἐλάλει (he was speaking)

The imperfect tense suggest a “continual” or an “over and over” again aspect here. This aspect is used throughout the passage; “he was speaking”, “he was not speaking”, and “he was explaining”.

2 τοιαύταις παραβολαῖς πολλαῖς (with many parables such as these

Greek: “with many such parables”.

3 ἀκούειν (to understand) 

Greek: “to hear”.

4 χωρὶς (without) 

Or “apart from”.

5 ἐπέλυεν (he was explaining)

Greek: “he was releasing” or “he was untying”.  A very interesting way to put “explaining”.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mark 4:30-32, The Parable of the Mustard Seed (The Study of Mark)

     30 And he was saying, “How may we compare the Kingdom of God or in what parable may we describe1 it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which when sown on the ground, though it is the smallest of all seeds of which are sown2 on the ground, 32 yet3 when sown, it grows up4 and becomes the greatest of all garden plants5, and it makes large branches so that the birds of heaven are able to nest under its shade.”Mark 4:30-32

1 θῶμεν (may we describe) 

Greek: “may we place”. The passage could be rendered “or in what parable may we place it”.

2 are sown has been added to make sure that the reader maintains the correct context of a seed that is sown for garden use and not just any seed.

3 καὶ (yet) 

Greek: “and”. Since there is a comparison here, καὶ has been translated “yet” here to bring that comparison out in the text.

4 ἀναβαίνει (grows up) 

Greek: “comes up”.

5 τῶν λαχάνων (garden plants)

Plants that are planted in a garden. In this way, Jesus differentiates a garden plant seed with any other seed that is not a garden plant

6 and it makes large branches so that the birds of heaven are able to nest under its shade”

The phrase can be traced to Ezekiel 17:23/31:6 and Daniel 4:12, 21.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·30 Καὶ ἔλεγεν· πῶς ὁμοιώσωμεν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἢ ἐν τίνι αὐτὴν παραβολῇ θῶμεν; 31 ὡς κόκκῳ σινάπεως, ὃς ὅταν σπαρῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, μικρότερον ὂν πάντων τῶν σπερμάτων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, 32 καὶ ὅταν σπαρῇ, ἀναβαίνει καὶ γίνεται μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων καὶ ποιεῖ κλάδους μεγάλους, ὥστε δύνασθαι ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνοῦν.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mark 4:26-29, The Parable of the Growing Seed (The Study of Mark)

     26 And he was saying, “So, the Kingdom of God is like a man who throws the seed1 on the ground. 27 And he sleeps and gets up night and day2, and the seed sprouts and grows3, but he doesn’t know how this happens4. 28 The ground produces a crop5 on its own6; first a blade, then a head of grain, then a full-grown7 grain in the head of grain. 29 And when the crop is ripe8, immediately, he begins to harvest the crop9, because the harvest has come10.” Mark 4:26-29

This parable gives us a look at the true nature of the Kingdom of God and how it is planted, grows, becomes ripe, and harvested. Interesting enough, according to this parable, God only needs people to “plant” the “seed”.

1 τὸν σπόρον (the seed)

Mark uses the singular here. Interestingly enough, the article τὸν is used in this instance. Since this is a parable, Mark is drawing attention to this seed as the article may indicate that this is a “special, one of a kind” seed. This idea fits within this context perfectly. This parable is about “the seed” and not about the “planter (man)”.

2 καὶ καθεύδῃ καὶ ἐγείρηται νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν (And he sleeps and gets up night and day)

This is not typically what a farmer does after planting a crop. A farmer would hoe, plow, water, and nurture his crop. Since that is not happening here in this parable, this may indicate that the farmer can’t really have an impact on what the seed does once it is sow. As indicated, this is not an ordinary seed and the imagery here is about the Kingdom of God!

3 μηκύνηται (grows) 

Greek: “lengthens”.

4 ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός (but he doesn’t know how this happens

This phrase adds to the idea that this farmer is not doing anything to 
promote the growth of the seed and plant.

5 καρποφορεῖ (produces a crop) 

Greek: “bears fruit”.

6 αὐτομάτη (on its own)

The BDAG Lexicon states this as: of something “that happens without visible cause”. This adds to the imagery that human intervention has no effect on the Kingdom of God and its growth. All the farmer did in this case was “plant the seed”.

7 πλήρη[ς] (full-grown)

Greek: “full”. The [ς] is placed in brackets as this is a variant reading. The word normally is πλήρη. The adding of the [ς] has not affect on the meaning.

8 παραδοῖ (is ripe) 

Greek: “to allow” or “to permit”. It could be rendered when the crop 

9 ἀποστέλλει τὸ δρέπανον (begins to harvest the crop)

Greek: “sends the sickle”. The imagery here presents the idea of the “reaping” of the harvest. In modern times, we would know this as “harvesting the crop”. It could also be rendered “prepares to harvest the crop” as the farmer has actually not started harvesting yet, but only has “sent the sickle”.

10 παρέστηκεν (has come)

This verb can also mean “has been presented”. This is very appropriate if one considers the eschatological meaning of this parable. The kingdom of God is about people and those people are “harvested” to be with God once they are ripe (ready).  All in God’s time.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·26 Καὶ ἔλεγεν· οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς ἄνθρωπος βάλῃ τὸν σπόρον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς 27 καὶ καθεύδῃ καὶ ἐγείρηται νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, καὶ ὁ σπόρος βλαστᾷ καὶ μηκύνηται ὡς οὐκ οἶδεν αὐτός. 28 αὐτομάτη ἡ γῆ καρποφορεῖ, πρῶτον χόρτον εἶτα στάχυν εἶτα πλήρη[ς] σῖτον ἐν τῷ στάχυϊ. 29 ὅταν δὲ παραδοῖ ὁ καρπός, εὐθὺς ἀποστέλλει τὸ δρέπανον, ὅτι παρέστηκεν ὁ θερισμός.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mark 4:21-25, A Light under a Bushel (The Study of Mark)

     21 And he was saying to them, “A lamp1 is not2 brought in so that it may be put under a basket3 or under a bed4, is it? Is it not5 brought in so that it may be put on a lamp-stand? 22 For there is nothing hidden except that it may be revealed; Nothing has become secret except that it may come into view6.7 23 If anyone has ears to hear, listen!”
     24 And he was saying to them, “Look at how you listen!In the measure in which you use to measure9, more will be measured out to you and more10 will be given to you. 25 For the one who has, more will be given to him, and the one who doesn’t have, even what he has will be taken away from him.11
Mark 4:21-25


There is much theology in this passage.  I will attempt to lay the meaning out as best I can.

1 ὁ λύχνος (lamp) 

A clay lamp filled with oil.

2 μήτι (not)

In Greek, different words for “not” were used in other to indicated a “yes” or “no” answer by the person whom the question was asked. In this case, the person asking the question expects a “no” answer.

3 τὸν μόδιον (a basket) 

A measuring basket that held almost two gallons.

4 τὴν κλίνην (a bed) 

Or a “couch”.

5 οὐχ (not) 

See note 2, In this case, the person asking the question expects a “yes”answer.

6 εἰς φανερόν (into view) 

Or “into known”. Mark is saying that whatever is hidden will eventually be made known or revealed.

7 Mark is applying this to the parables in which Jesus has been speaking. This indicates that eventually, those parables will be made known to all, but as we will see in verse 25, there are some who will not be able to grasp the word.

8 βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε (Look at how you listen!)

Greek: “Look at what you hear!” In other words, pay attention to what you listen to and how you hear it. Make sure you understand it the way in which it is intended for you to understand it. Jesus reinforces this in the very next line.

9 ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε (in the measure in which you use to measure)

Greek: “in that measure you measure out” or “in the measure in which you measure out”. In other words, the same “standard of measure” in which you use will be used in what you receive. This line goes hand in hand with “Look at how you listen!” and with verse 25. Within that context, one must make sure that he understands what he hears and that he understands it in the way in which it is suppose to be understood. How a person believes will either work for the person or against the person.

10 More of the measure in which you use.

11 The more you understand the Kingdom of God, the more of it God will trust you with. The more you don’t understand the Kingdom of God, or the more you pollute it in your thinking, what little bit of the Kingdom you have will be taken away from you.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·21 Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· μήτι ἔρχεται ὁ λύχνος ἵνα ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον τεθῇ ἢ ὑπὸ τὴν κλίνην; οὐχ ἵνα ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν τεθῇ; 22 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν κρυπτὸν ἐὰν μὴ ἵνα φανερωθῇ, οὐδὲ ἐγένετο ἀπόκρυφον ἀλλ ̓ ἵνα ἔλθῃ εἰς φανερόν. 23 εἴ τις ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω. 24 Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε. ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν καὶ προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. 25 ὃς γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ· καὶ ὃς οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ ̓ αὐτοῦ.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mark 4:13-20, The Parable of the Sower Explained (The Study of Mark)

     13 And he says to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand1 any of the parables2? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 Now some are like seed along side the road: where the word is sown, and when it is heard, immediately, Satan comes and takes the word away that has been sown in them. 16 And some are like seed sown on rocky ground, when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy, 17 but3 they don’t have a root in themselves, but are temporary. Then after affliction or persecution comes because of the word, immediately, they fall away4. 18 And others are like seed sown in the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of the time5, the deception of wealth, and the longing for everything else6 come in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those others are like the seed sown on good ground, who hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop7, one producing thirty times, one sixty times, and one hundred times. Mark 4:13-20

1 γνώσεσθε (understand) 

Greek: “know”.

2 πάσας τὰς παραβολὰς (any of the parables) 

Greek: “all parables”.

3 καὶ (but) 

Greek: “and”.

4 σκανδαλίζονται (fall away) 

Or “were offended” or “stumbled”. The main idea is that those people 
stopped believing.

5 τοῦ αἰῶνος (of the time) 

Greek: “of the age”. This probably really means “the cares of their 
present life”, or as some translations render it, “the cares of the world”.

6 αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι (the longing for everything else) 

Greek: “the longing around remaining things”.  This could mean different things.  Since the context of the passage is speaking about things that hinder a person's ability to produce in the spiritual sense, I translated this line in the most extreme way.

7 καρποφοροῦσιν (produce a crop) 

Greek: “produce fruit”.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·13 Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην, καὶ πῶς πάσας τὰς παραβολὰς γνώσεσθε; 14 ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον σπείρει. 15 οὗτοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν· ὅπου σπείρεται ὁ λόγος καὶ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν, εὐθὺς ἔρχεται ὁ σατανᾶς καὶ αἴρει τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐσπαρμένον εἰς αὐτούς. 16 καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι, οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν, 17 καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν, εἶτα γενομένης θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζονται. 18 καὶ ἄλλοι εἰσὶν οἱ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπειρόμενοι· οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον ἀκούσαντες, 19 καὶ αἱ μέριμναι τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου καὶ αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσπορευόμεναι συμπνίγουσιν τὸν λόγον καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται. 20 καὶ ἐκεῖνοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν σπαρέντες, οἵτινες ἀκούουσιν τὸν λόγον καὶ παραδέχονται καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἓν τριάκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mark 4:10-12, The Purpose of Parables (The Study of Mark)

     10 And when he was alone1, the ones around him with the twelve were questioning2 him about the parables. 11 And he was saying3 to them, “The secret4 of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those whom are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that

While seeing, they may see and not perceive, 
And while hearing, they may hear and not understand, 
lest they turn back and may be forgiven5.6

1 ὅτε ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας (when he was alone) 

Greek: “when he became throughout only places”. It’s an idiom that means to be alone. (Louw & Nida)

2 ἠρώτων (were questioning)

This verb is in the imperfect and carries a “continual” aspect. I’m breaking with some scholars who say that this verb should be simply translated as “questioned”, which in the aorist, which has an undefined aspect. Looking at the context of the passage and what is going on in this narrative, it would make sense for the people around Jesus to ask about parables more than one time. And as they continually ask about them, Jesus continually answers them. See note 3.

3 ἔλεγεν (he was saying)

This verb is in the imperfect and carries a “continual” aspect. This dove-tails with the “were questioning” phrase asked by the people who were around Jesus. Since those people were continually asking him about the parables, Jesus had to continually answer them.

4 τὸ μυστήριον (the secret)

In Greek, it also means “the mystery”. Secret fits much better in this context. Our english word mystery is “something that is not known, but many have tried to discover it, but it remains hidden”, where as a secret is “something that is known, but hidden from others until it is revealed”.

5 ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς (are forgiven) 

Greek: “it may be forgiven them”

6 This is a paraphrase taken from Isaiah 6:9-10. The interesting part about this is that the paraphrase is taken from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Here is my translation of the Septuagint version of Isaiah 6:8-10:

     8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Who might I send, and who will go to this people?” And I said, “Behold, I am here, send me. 9 And he said, “Go and tell this people, ‘You will hear a hearing (a report), and may never understand, and while seeing, you will see and may never perceive.’ 10 For the heart of this people has grown thick, and they have heard with their ears with difficulty, and they have closed their eyes, lest they may perceive with their eyes and may hear with their ears and may understand in their heart, and may turn back, and I will heal them.”

Contrast that with the NIV version which translates the passage from Hebrew:

     8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go and tell this people: “ ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (NIV)

Why are the two passages so different? My opinion is that God was being ironic when he told Isaiah to speak to the people in this way. Later, when this was being translated into Greek, the Jewish translators also felt that God was being ironic and decided to “soften” the passage to indicate that. Also notice that Mark switches phrases around. He places the “seeing” passage first where Isaiah places the “hearing” passage first. This is probably due to the fact that the people that Jesus is directing this saying to were first and foremost, seeing the miracles that he was doing, but were not really perceiving what all of that meant.

The Greek

Μάρκον 4·10 Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας, ἠρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν σὺν τοῖς δώδεκα τὰς παραβολάς. 11 καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ· ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται,
12 ἵνα

βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν, 
καὶ ἀκούοντες ἀκούωσιν καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν, 
μήποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς.