Mark 3:7-6:6

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Home > The New Testament > Mark > Chapters 1-8a > Chapters 3b-6a / Verses 3:7-6:6
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This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →

  • Mark 3:10: Plagues. The Greek word translated in verse 10 as "plagues" is mastix, which (in different contexts) can refer to a whip or scourge. In this context it is probably best translated as "serious diseases." The word can be used to refer to a calamity or illness that is sent by God as a punishment, although there is nothing in the context to indicate that is what is meant here.
  • Mark 3:12. Jesus in verse 12 again orders the unclean spirits not to let people know who is is. This may be because the sheer numbers of people thronging after Jesus have become something of a problem.
  • Mark 3:14: Ordained. The Greek verb translated as "ordained" in verse 14 (poieo) doesn't suggest a formal ordination as we would normally use that word today. The root verb is a very common verb that basically means "to make" or "to do," so how the word is translated into English depends a lot on the context. A very literal translation of this verse, then, would have Jesus "making" the twelve. Modern translations generally say that Jesus "appointed" or "selected" twelve.
It is interesting to note, though, that some Greek manuscripts include a phrase to indicate that Jesus named the twelve as apostles. So the idea that the twelve were selected to some sort of a formal position isn't foreign to this section of the Greek manuscripts.
Some manuscripts mention the selection of the twelve in verse 16 instead of here in verse 14, or in addition to verse 14.
  • Mark 3:14: Apostles. See Luke 6:13 for some discussion of the differences between the several accounts of the apostolate.
  • Mark 3:21: Friends. The word translated as "friends" in verse 21 comes from a Greek word (para) meaning "by" or "close to." Some modern translations use "family" or "kinsmen" here. The difference is probably unimportant; the point is that the people close to Jesus thought he was crazy.
  • Mark 3:21. The theme of verse 21 is repeated in Mark 6:4, when Jesus says that a prophet is without honor among his own kin and in his own country.
  • Mark 3:31-35. Jesus very dramatically makes his point here, even at the risk of seeming rude to his biological family. This section is reminiscent of Luke 2:49, where Jesus seems to be unconcerned that his family was worried about him while he went about his Father's business.
  • Mark 4: Three parables. This chapter has three parables dealing with the planting of seeds (beginning in verse 3, verse 25 and verse 30), which appear to represent the Gospel. It is interesting to note that in all of these parables, the seeds grow (or not) independently of the person who originally planted the seed. This is made explicit here in verse 27: "he knoweth not how." In the first parable, the emphasis is on where the seed is planted; in the second two, it is on the power of the seed.
  • Mark 4:9: Let him hear. The verb translated "let him hear" is in the third-person imperative in Greek, a verb form that has no direct equivalent in English. The translation should probably a bit stronger: "he who has ears to hear, may he hear" or (less literally) "he who has ears to hear should do so."
  • Mark 4:11: Mystery. The English word "mystery" in verse 11 comes from the Green word musterion used here. The meaning of the Greek word has to do more with something being secret rather than something being baffling, so the verse suggests that the kingdom of God can be known through revelation rather than that it is difficult to understand.
  • Mark 4:19: Lusts. The Greek word translated as "lusts" in verse 19 (epithumia) doesn't necessarily refer to sexual desires.
  • Mark 4:21: Bushel. The Greek word translated "bushel" (modios) is a dry measurement of about 8 or 9 liters. In this context, the word could also be translated as "basket" or "bowl."
  • Mark 4:21: Candle. The Greek word translated "candle" (luchnos) can also be translated as "lamp," and in some verses (such as Matthew 6:22) it is translated somewhat figuratively as "light." The Greek word is a distant cousin of English words such as "light," "elucidate" and "luminous."
  • Mark 4:22: Come abroad. The phrase translated as "come abroad" uses the Greek word phaneros, which refers to the act of making something known.
  • Mark 4:34. Verse 34 is reminiscent of verse 11: To those on the outside, the parables don't make much sense. But the truth was revealed to Jesus' disciples.
  • Mark 4:39: Be still. The Greek word translated as "be still" (phimoo) carries with it the idea of muzzling or holding something in check. The emphasis here is on the power that Jesus had over nature.
  • Mark 5:1. By crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus entered Gentile territory. Mark's inclusion of this story is an indication that the Gospel isn't intended for Jews only.
  • Mark 5:9: Legion. The Greek name given in verse 9 as Legion (legeon) is the word for a military unit. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a legion of the Roman army consisted of 3,000 to 6,000 infantry troops and 100 to 200 cavalry troops. The use of this word suggests that there is a spiritual battle going on.
  • Mark 5:13: Gave them leave. The phrase translated as "gave them leave" means that Jesus allowed the demons to leave, or that he gave them permission.
  • Mark 5:19: Publicity. Jesus's instructions that the man should tell people what had happened is in contrast to earlier miracles in the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus tells people to be silent.
  • Mark 5:23, 28: Heal and make whole. The verb (sozo) that is used for "heal" in verse 23 is the same verb as is used for "to make whole" in verse 28. The same verb also can mean "to save." The verb (sozo) that is used for "heal" in verse 23 is the same verb as is used for "to make whole" in verse 28. The same verb also can mean "to save."
  • Mark 5:34. This verse suggests that faith isn't a one-time event. Jesus tells the woman that her faith has healed her, and then he tells her to go in peace and continue to be healed. The suggestion is that she has the option to lose her faith and thus her healing, or that she could decide not to accept the gift of health she has been given.
  • Mark 5:36. Verse 5:36 seems to suggest that fear and belief are incompatible, at least in this context. See Morm 9:27 for incompatibility of doubt and belief; see 1 Jn 4:18 for incompatibility of fear and love.
  • Mark 6:1, 4: Own country. The Greek word translated as "own country" in verses 1 and 4 is patris, which could be translated more literally as "fatherland." (The word is a distant cousin of English words such as "patriotic" and "patriarch.") In verse 1, it presumably refers to Nazareth, where Jesus grew up as a boy.
  • Mark 6:3: Offended. The Greek verb translated as "offended" is skandalizo (the source of the English word "scandalize"). It can mean to offend, as it usually is translated in the New Testament, or it can mean to put a stumbling block or impediment in a person's way, to frustrate someone. In this context, it may be saying that the people felt put off by him because they were unable to reconcile his wisdom with his ordinariness.
  • Mark 6:1-6: No miracle in Nazareth. In the preceding portions of the narrative, Jesus is able to perform miracles as people believed. In Nazareth, where most people didn't believe, he was mostly unable to perform miracles (verse 5). So far in the Gospel of Mark, belief seems to be a precondition for miraculous healing.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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  • Mark 3:29. What does it mean to "blaspheme against the Holy Ghost"?
  • Mark 5:34. Healed by faith. Why does Jesus tell the woman that her faith has healed her (verse 34), rather than that the power of God has healed her?
  • Mark 5:41. Why does Mark report Jesus' actual words in Aramaic in verse 41?
  • Mark 5:43. Give her something to eat. The fact that Jesus told people to make sure that the girl had something to eat indicates that he saw her as a person with multiple needs, not just as someone who needed healing.

Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • Mark 4:1-41. Suppose that each of these parables (the parable of the sower, of the candle under a bushel, of the seed growing secretly, and of the mustard seed) is a parable that teaches us about the church. Do they all teach the same thing? If so, what is it? If not, what does each teach? Why are these four parables followed by the story of Jesus stilling the winds and waves? What does the latter event have to do with those parables?


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  • Mark 4:1-9. N. T. Wright (The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is 40-41), argues that those living at Jesus’ time would have understood the parable of the sower as a description of the judgment of Israel similar to Isaiah 6 (and, therefore, also to Jacob 5)
  • Mark 4:12: Secrecy in the Gospel of Mark. See this post by RobertC at the Feast blog for a discussion of how this verse might be interpreted in light of the secrecy motif in the Gospel of Mark.
  • Mark 5:25-34. Anne C. Pingree, "To Look, Reach, and Come unto Christ," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 113–15. "I have asked myself what might have happened if this woman with the issue of blood had not believed in the Savior enough to make whatever effort was necessary to touch the border of His robe. In that throng I imagine getting even that close to Him took some doing. Yet, nothing wavering, she persisted. In like manner, we must demonstrate that faith in the Lord has penetrated our hearts deeply enough to move us to action."


Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

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