Mark 9:29
And he said to them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) But by prayer and fasting.—The better MSS. omit the last two words. It is possible that they may have been added, like the “tears” of Mark 9:24, to strengthen the words actually spoken, by bringing in what had been found to bring with it a new intensity of spiritual volition, and therefore of power to rescue human souls from the frenzy and despair into which they had been plunged by the unclean spirits that possessed them. A like addition of “fasting” to prayer, apparently from a like ascetic tendency, is found in 1Corinthians 7:5, where see Note. In St. Matthew both words are found, but some of the most ancient MSS. omit the whole verse. On the whole, however, there is a balance of evidence in their favour; and, as shown in the Note on Matthew 17:21, what they teach is in harmony with other portions of the teaching both of our Lord and His Apostles.

9:14-29 The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the disappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised to our believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thy hard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured; and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to the end. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them. Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. But Satan is unwilling to be driven from those that have been long his slaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, he will cause him all the terror that he can. The disciples must not think to do their work always with the same ease; some services call for more than ordinary pains.Said with tears - The man felt the implied rebuke in the Saviour's language; and feeling grieved that he should be thought to be destitute of faith, and feeling deeply for the welfare of his afflicted son, he wept. Nothing can be more touching or natural than this. An anxious father, distressed at the condition of his son, having applied to the disciples in vain, now coming to the Saviour; and not having full confidence that he had the proper qualification to be aided, he wept. Any man would have wept in his condition, nor would the Saviour turn the weeping suppliant away.

I believe - I have faith. I do put confidence in thee, though I know that my faith is not as strong as it should be.

Lord - This word here signifies merely "master," or "sir," as it does often in the New Testament. We have no evidence that he had any knowledge of the divine nature of the Saviour, and he applied the word, probably, as he would have done to any other teacher or worker of miracles.

Help thou mine unbelief - Supply thou the defects of my faith. Give me strength and grace to put "entire" confidence in thee. Everyone who comes to the Saviour for help has need of offering this prayer. In our unbelief and our doubts we need his aid, nor shall we ever put sufficient reliance on him without his gracious help.

29. And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting—that is, as nearly all good interpreters are agreed, "this kind of evil spirits cannot be expelled," or "so desperate a case of demoniacal possession cannot be cured, but by prayer and fasting." But since the Lord Himself says that His disciples could not fast while He was with them, perhaps this was designed, as Alford hints, for their after-guidance—unless we take it as but a definite way of expressing the general truth, that great and difficult duties require special preparation and self-denial. But the answer to their question, as given in Mt 17:20, 21 is fuller: "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief. For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Mt 17:20). See on [1463]Mr 11:23. "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Mt 17:21), that is, though nothing is impossible to faith, yet such a height of faith as is requisite for such triumphs is not to be reached either in a moment or without effort—either with God in prayer or with ourselves in self-denying exercises. Luke (Lu 9:43) adds, "And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God"—"at the majesty" or "mightiness of God," in this last miracle, in the Transfiguration, &c.; or, at the divine grandeur of Christ rising upon them daily.

Second Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Death and Resurrection (Mr 9:30-32).

See Poole on "Mark 9:17" And he said unto them,.... Matthew, besides the following reason, assigns another, as given by our Lord, why they could not cast out the foul spirit, which was their unbelief; of which they were guilty in some sort, as well as the Jews, and the father of the child; but Mark omits it, and only relates this as the reason;

this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting; which they had not observed; See Gill on Matthew 17:21.

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 9:29. τοῦτο τὸ γένος, etc.: This is one of the texts which very soon became misunderstood, the ascetic addition, καὶ νηστείᾳ, being at once a proof and a cause of misunderstanding. The traditional idea has been that Jesus here prescribes a certain discipline by which the exorcist could gain power to cope successfully with the most obstinate cases of possession, a course of prayer and fasting. This idea continues to dominate the mind even when the ascetic addition to the text has come to be regarded as doubtful; witness this remark: “The authorisation, however (for omitting καὶ νησ.), is not sufficient. But even if it were overwhelming, fasting would, in its essence, be implied” (Morison on Mark). What Jesus said doubtless was: “This kind can go out in (on the ground of) nothing except prayer,” and His meaning that there was no hope of success except through a believing (of course faith is implied) appeal to the almighty power of God. It was a thought of the same kind as that in Matthew 19:26 (Mark 10:27): the impossible for man is possible for God. Of course in the view of Christ, prayer, faith (vide Matthew 17:20), both in healer and in healed, was needful in all cases, but He recognised that there were certain aggravated types of disease (the present, one of them) in which the sense of dependence and trust was very specially required. In the case of the epileptic boy this had been lacking both in the father and in the disciples. Neither he nor they were hopeful of cure.29. This kind] In His reply to their question our Lord impresses upon them a twofold lesson: (i) The omnipotence of a perfect faith (see Matthew 17:20-21); (ii) that, as there is order and gradation in the hierarchy of blessed spirits, so is it with the spirits of evil (see Ephesians 6:12). There are degrees of spiritual and moral wickedness so intense and malignant that they can be exorcised by nothing save by prayer and fasting, and the austerest rules of rigour and self-denial. These last words and fasting are wanting in the Sinaitic MS. and some Versions.Mark 9:29. Δύναται, can) That is, by no means can you cast out this class of enemies, save with the accompaniment of prayer and fasting.
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