Mark 3
Vincent's Word Studies
And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
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.

And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
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.

And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
Stand forth (ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον)

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

And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
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 con, in 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.

And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,

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

And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
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.

And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
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.

And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
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.

And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
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.

And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
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.

And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
Ordained (ἐποίησεν)

Lit., made. Rev., appointed.

Might send them forth (ἀποστέλλῃ)

As apostles. Compare the kindred noun ἀπόστολοι, apostles.

And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
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.

And Simon he surnamed Peter;
And Simon he surnamed Peter

Mark relates only his naming and not his appointment, leaving his appointment to be understood.

And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
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).

And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
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").

And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.
Judas Iscariot

See on Matthew 10:5.

And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

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.

And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
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.

And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

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.

And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

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

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
But hath an end

Peculiar to Mark.

No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
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.

Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Compare Matthew 12:31; and note Mark's superior precision and fulness of detail.
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
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.

Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
They said (ἔλεγον)

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

There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
They sent unto him calling him, and a multitude was sitting about him. Detail by Mark only; as also the words in Mark 3:34, Looking round on them which sat round about him.
And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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