When Did the Angels Come? (Mark 1:13) — Mondays with Mounce 339
Language is imprecise. It would be great if all of us said exactly what we meant, and meant exactly what we said, but that is neither human nature or the nature of language.
That’s why context is king. That’s why a “verse of the day” is the worst exegetical tool there is (sorry). In every class on Bible study methods (“hermeneutics”) that is taught, the central emphasis is context, reading verses in context. I heard a sermon the other day that illustrates the need for this emphasis, using the imperfect tense.
After Jesus’ baptism, in Mark, we read, “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted (πειραζόμενος) by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended (διηκόνουν) him” (1:12–13, NIV).
The only normal way to read…
When Does “No” Become “Never”? (Mark 10:15) — Mondays with Mounce 335
It is often said that translators are traitors. They are traitors because they either over- or under-translate the meaning of the original text. Either they say too much in an attempt to convey the full meaning of the Greek, or they say too little and leave some of the meaning untranslated.
A typical example is the Greek construction of οὐ μή and the aorist subjunctive. It conveys an emphatic negation, not just “no” but “no no no” (as one of my children used to say when he was little). Of course, you can’t say “no no no” in translation, and we do not have a grammatical construction in English similar to οὐ μή plus aorist subjunctive. So are we to try and bring the emphatic nature of the negation into English, or do we leave it out?
A good example…
How Much Should We Ask of Our Students? (Mark 12:28) — Mondays with Mounce 332
I am thinking quite a bit these days about sequencing, and how different biblical Greek is from English, which then raises interesting problems for the translator. I am also wondering more about how students should be translating in their first year of Greek.
Look at the series of participles in the Greatest Command (Mark 12:28).
προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συζητούντων, ἰδὼν ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν· ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;
The basic sentence structure is εἷς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν. “One (of the scribes) asked him.” As a side note, my friend Dan Wallace told me that he prefers his students to find the verb–subject–direct object, especially in a complicated sentence, and then see where the rest of the words fit in relation to that structure. This is instead of just going word for word. A good idea.
Did the Disciples Have Any Faith in Jesus? (Mark 4:38) – Mondays with Mounce 326
I have had a great summer off from my daily routines and have been busy on some major writing projects. They will be announced at this year’s ETS annual meeting (2018). You’ll like them.
But during the summer, Robin (my wife) and I were listening to some sermons from an excellent preacher. I want to emphasize that he is really good. But even really good exegetical preachers can make mistakes, and his mistake, as subtle as it was, should serve as a reminder that we should always check the Greek before we preach.
I have no doubt that this preacher knows the Greek rule I am going to share with you, but I don’t think he checked the Greek this time.
Jesus is out on the sea with his disciples, the storm comes up, and the disciples wake up Jesus…
eBook SALE! Gospel Commentaries, Plus a New Collection on Matthew
For a short time, save up to 80% when you buy eBook editions of gospel commentaries.
This new commentary sale features 17 eBooks on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These titles will help you improve your research, enhance your teaching and preaching, and strengthen your personal devotions.
There’s a new title in this sale: The Matthew Commentary Collection. Gathering 3 commentaries on Matthew in 1 volume, this collection is an experiment in crafting new tools for commentary readers. If it’s popular with students of Matthew, we may create Commentary Collections for other books of the Bible.
This is the biggest gospel eBooks sale we’ve ever hosted, so you’ll find volumes from several series. Here’s a quick summary of the…
Is Mark’s Gospel ‘Theological’? These 7 Themes Affirm It Is!
Some have dismissed Mark’s gospel as nothing more than the work of an unsophisticated storyteller, lacking in theological profundity. In fact, Augustine discounted the gospel as nothing more than “an abridgment of Matthew.”
But are they right?
In his new book A Theology of Mark’s Gospel, David Garland argues Mark is a theological work, yet it unfolds in a distinctive way.
“The gospel was not intended by its author to be a vessel of theological truths waiting to be quarried but a story in which Jesus is the central figure. Mark’s theology is unfurled through narrative development.” (42)
Garland’s work is the fourth volume in the celebrated BTNT series. This landmark resource covers major Markan…
Calling a Tax Collector and Eating with Sinners – An Excerpt from A Theology of Mark’s Gospel
A Theology of Mark’s Gospel is the fourth volume in the BTNT series. This landmark textbook, written by leading New Testament scholar David E. Garland, both covers major Markan themes and also provides readers with an in-depth and holistic grasp of Markan theology in the larger context of the Bible.
James reminds us to “keep oneself unstained from the world”; yet God placed us in the world on mission to the people around us. In an age where the Church is trying to walk the line between condoning sin around us and appearing judgmental of others, we must be reminded of Christ’s example from this text, and who he spent time with.
18.104.22.168.2 Calling a Tax Collector and Eating with Sinners (Read more
Mark, the Neglected Gospel (From Mark Strauss’ Commentary on ZECNT: Mark)
The following is adapted from Mark Strauss’ Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Mark.
Though the most dramatic and fast-paced of the four Gospels, Mark’s was also the most neglected in the early church. This was due primarily to the fact that it was the shortest, with approximately 90 percent of its stories appearing in either Matthew or Luke. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354 – 430), the first of the church fathers to comment on the relationship of the three Synoptic Gospels, viewed Mark as little more than an abbreviation of Matthew. He wrote, “Mark follows him [Matthew] closely, and looks like his attendant and epitomizer.”  No commentary was written on Mark until the sixth century. At that time, Victor of Antioch, who…
Extracurricular Activities 3.7.15 — Wright on Cranfield, Inerrancy Summit, & Racial Diversity
The Reverend Professor Charles E. B. Cranfield, who has died six months short of what would have been his hundredth birthday, was one of the leading British New Testament scholars of the second half of the twentieth century. He taught in Durham for thirty years, as Lecturer (1950-62), Senior Lecturer (1962-66), Reader (1966-78) and finally in what used to be called a ‘personal chair’ (1978-80). (Throughout much of that time Professor C. K. Barrett, younger by two years, was the ‘Professor of New Testament’; Durham, like most universities then, only had one ‘professor’ in each subject.) Barrett and Cranfield lived close to one another on the western slopes of the city of Durham. They observed an old-fashioned courtesy, but students would sometimes detect a slightly frosty atmosphere between two men who were in…
Mark’s Gospel is Jesus’s Story on Steroids! — An Excerpt from Mark Strauss’s “Mark (ZECNT)” Commentary
In recent decades there has been a number of new approaches to the gospel, one of which is so-called narrative criticism. Considering how story-driven we are as a culture—and as people—this seems to be a good development within gospel studies and exegesis.
On Tuesday we explored how Mark Strauss engages the Gospel of Mark using this approach in his new Mark (ZECNT) commentary. Today we extend that exploration with an excerpt giving more insight into Mark’s story of Jesus.
Like any narrative, Mark’s also balances a number of literary devices, complete with point of view, narrators, plot points, characters, climax, setting, denouement, and everything else that makes a story sparkle.
Read Strauss’s thoughts on Mark’s story of Jesus, and why he calls it “a gospel narrative on steroids!”…
New Releases Today — Ordinary, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Mark, and Scripture & Counseling
This fall sees the release of several informative, engaging, challenging titles that will enhance and equip your teaching and ministry.
Four of those titles release today. Here’s a quick overview:
In recent years several books have urged Christians to live a radical, crazy, transformative faith. But what if the Christian life was more mundane and…ordinary? That’s the premise of Michael Horton’s new book. He believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. This book is your people’s guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul—not a quick fix that leaves them empty with unfulfilled promises. Using this book in…