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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Mark 1



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Verse 1

Mark 1:1. αρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God) There is a considerable correspondence of Mark, in part with Matthew, in part with Luke. There is described by Mark,


1. John prepares the way, Mark 1:1-8

2. He baptizes Jesus, who is thereat proclaimed the SON OF GOD, Mark 1:9-11

3. Satan tempts Jesus: angels minister to Him, Mark 1:12-13


1. In Galilee. Here three periods are to be noted:

A. John having been committed to prison: Mark 1:14.

a. Summarily and Generally:

α. The place and subject-matter of His preaching, Mark 1:14-15

β. The call of His principal apostles, Mark 1:16-20

b. Specially:

α. His actions, which were not found fault with by adversaries.

1. He teaches with power, Mark 1:21-22

2. He casts out the demon from one possessed, Mark 1:23-28

3. He cures the mother-in-law of Peter, as also many other sick persons, Mark 1:29-34

4. He prays, Mark 1:35

5. He teaches everywhere, Mark 1:36-39

6. He cleanses the leper, Mark 1:40-45

β. Actions of His, found fault with by adversaries, and gradually more severely so. In this class are to be reckoned,

1. The man sick of the palsy, Mark 2:1-12

2. The call of Levi, and His eating with publicans and sinners, Mark 2:13-17

3. The question as to fasting answered, Mark 2:18-22

4. The plucking of the ears of corn, Mark 2:23-28

5. The withered hand restored, and the lying-in-wait for Him of His adversaries, Mark 3:1-6

γ. The Lord withdraws Himself; and His acts,

1. At the sea, Mark 3:7-12

2. On the mountain, where the twelve apostles were called, Mark 3:13-19

3. In the house; where, after having refuted the most atrocious blasphemy of the Scribes, He corrects the question of His own friends, Mark 2:20-23, 31–35

4. From the ship, to the people; and apart to His disciples, Mark 4:1-2; Mark 4:10-11; Mark 4:26-27

5. On the sea, and beyond the sea, Mark 4:35-41; Mark 5:1-20

6. On the hither side of the sea again: where Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood, Mark 5:21-43

7. The Nazarites offended at Him, Mark 6:1-6

8. The sending forth of the apostles, Mark 6:7-13

B. John killed: Mark 6:14

1. Herod hearing of Jesus, and his opinion of John, whom he had killed, being revived, Mark 6:14-29

2. The withdrawal of our Lord with His apostles on their return, Mark 6:30-31

3. The eagerness of the people: the compassion of the Lord: five thousand fed abundantly, Mark 6:31-44

4. The journey by sea, Mark 6:45-52

5. In the land of Gennesareth He heals many, Mark 6:53-56

and shows what it is that defiles or does not defile a man, Mark 7:1-2; Mark 7:14-15; Mark 7:17-18

6. On the borders of Tyre and Sidon a demon is cast out, Mark 7:24-30

7. At the sea of Galilee He cures one deaf and dumb: He feeds four thousand, Mark 7:31-37; Mark 8:1-9

8. He comes to Dalmanutha, and answers as to the sign from heaven, Mark 8:10-13

9. In the ship, He warns them as to the leaven of doctrine, Mark 8:14-21

10. At Bethsaida He gives sight to the blind man, Mark 8:22-26

C. Jesus acknowledged as the Son of God.

1. On Peter confessing Him as the CHIRST, He enjoins silence on the disciples, and foretells His passion: reproves Peter: requires of His disciples that they must follow Him, Mark 8:27; Mark 9:1

2. On six days after, He is glorified at the transfiguration; explains the reasons for silence; cures a lunatic; again foretells His Passion, Mark 9:2-32

3. Teaches the disciples moderation, leniency [æquitatem], and concord, Mark 9:33-34; Mark 9:38-50

2. In Judea:

α. In the borders, Mark 10:1

1. He treats of divorce, Mark 10:2-3; Mark 10:10-11

2. Of little children, Mark 10:13-16

3. Of obtaining eternal life, and of the hinderance caused by riches, Mark 10:17-18; Mark 10:23-24; Mark 10:28-29

β. On the way to the city:

1. He predicts His passion a third time, Mark 10:32-34

2. He answers James and John, and corrects the remaining ten, Mark 10:35-36; Mark 10:41-45

γ. To Jericho; on the way He gives Bartimeus his sight, Mark 10:46-52

δ. At Jerusalem: Mark 11:1

a. His royal entry, Mark 11:2-11

b. On the following day, curses to barrenness the fig-tree, Mark 11:12-14

The temple cleansed, Mark 11:15-19

c. On the following day,

1. Near the withered fig-tree, He commends the power of faith, Mark 11:20-26

2. In the temple,

1. The authority of Jesus is vindicated, Mark 11:27-33

2. The parable of the vineyard is set forth, Mark 12:1-12

3. The question as to the lawfulness of the tribute, Mark 12:13-17

4. As to the resurrection, Mark 12:18-27

5. As to the greatest commandment, Mark 12:28-34

6. As to the Lord of David, Mark 12:35-37

7. The people are warned to beware of the Scribes, Mark 12:38-40

8. The widow’s mites are praised, Mark 12:41-44

3. At the temple, on the Mount of Olives, He predicts the end of the temple, and of the city, and of the world, Mark 13:1-4; Mark 13:14-15; Mark 13:24-25; Mark 13:28-29; Mark 13:33-37

d. TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER: the compact between His adversaries and the traitor, Mark 14:1-11


1. The two disciples get ready the passover, Mark 14:12-16

2. At evening time, the supper, Mark 14:17-18; Mark 14:22-23

3. After the hymn, He foretells that the disciples would be offended at Him, and Peter deny Him, Mark 14:26-31

4. In Gethsemane,

α. Jesus prays; rouses the sleeping disciples, Mark 14:32-42

β. Is betrayed; taken; deserted by His disciples, Mark 14:43-52

5. In the hall of the high-priest,

α. Is condemned to death, Mark 14:53-65

β. Is denied by Peter, Mark 14:66-72

f. The sixth day of the week. His acts,

α. In the Pretorium of the Governor, Mark 15:1-2; Mark 15:6-7; Mark 15:16-20

β. On the way to crucifixion, Mark 15:21

γ. In Golgotha, Mark 15:22

1. His drink, Mark 15:23

2. The cross itself, and parting of His garments, Mark 15:24-25

3. The inscription, Mark 15:26

4. The two malefactors, Mark 15:27-28

5. The railings, Mark 15:29-32

6. The darkness for three hours; the loud cry of Jesus; the scoff of the bystanders; the drink; the death; the rending of the veil, Mark 15:33-38

7. The centurion’s remark; the women looking on, Mark 15:39-41

δ. The evening time, the burial, Mark 15:42-47

g. After the Sabbath, the resurrection of our Lord, announced,

α. By the angel, Mark 16:1-8

β. By Himself,

1. To Mary Magdalene, Mark 16:9-11

2. To two men going into the country, Mark 16:12-13

3. To the eleven as they sat at meat, Mark 16:14


1. Committed by our Lord, after His resurrection, to the apostles, Mark 16:15-18

2. And confirmed after His ascension, Mark 16:19-20

First, in the very term the beginning, the new economy is opened out, Mark 1:15. on this account the time specified in Luke 3:1, is marked as an epoch of by far the greatest importance. The title, as we may see in the opening of Malachi, is משא, “The burden;” but now in the present case it is, The beginning of the Gospel. Moreover, this title has in it somewhat of an abbreviated mode of expression: for the beginning of the Gospel applies to [is in] John the Baptist; the Gospel, to the whole book. However, Mark terms it the beginning, not of his own book, but of the Gospel facts themselves, as appears by comparing Mark 1:2, as Hosea ch. Mark 1:2 [The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea]. The commencement of this book of Mark is in elegant accordance with that commencement; and at the same time answers to the prophetical clause, quoted from the close of the Old Testament, written by Malachi [Mark 1:2]: just as the close of the second book of Chronicles answers to the beginning of Ezra. The proper scope of this Evangelist, as he himself professes in such a title as he employs, is to describe the originating sources [commencements], history, principles of action, course, and consummation of the Gospel, concerning Jesus Christ the Son of God (Mark 1:11, God’s declaration at His baptism, “Thou art my beloved Son,” etc.):(1) ch. Mark 1:1; Mark 1:14, etc., Mark 8:35, Mark 10:29, Mark 13:10, Mark 14:9, Mark 16:15. Hence it is that he so often employs the term, the Gospel: hence too it is evident that the last portion of Mark(2) is genuine: ch. Mark 16:15; Mark 16:20.(3) Hence he is wont to make such particular mention of Peter, a pre-eminent preacher of the Gospel.

Verse 2

Mark 1:2. ὡς, as) Mark shows, from the prophets, that the beginning of the Gospel ought to have been such as it actually was; and having proved that point, all the rest is proved. The Apodosis is at verse 4.(4)ἐν ἡσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ, in Isaiah the Prophet) Mark brings forward a testimony first [Mark 1:2] from Malachi, next [Mark 1:3] from Isaiah. Therefore some have written thus, ἐν τοῖς προφἡταις, in the prophets. But yet, in the same way as Matthew 21:4-5, quotes Zechariah under the title of one prophet [That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee, meek, etc.], and at the same time blends with Zechariah’s words something out of Isaiah 62:11 [Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy salvation cometh, etc.]; and as Paul also, in Romans 9:27, quotes Isaiah by name, and yet has interwoven with Isaiah’s words something out of Hosea 2:1 : so Mark quotes two prophets, and yet mentions by name only the one, the prophet Isaiah (as I have long since been of opinion):(5) however it is not without show of probability, that Beza conjectures that the passage of Malachi crept from the blank space in the margin [ex albo] into the context of Mark. Isaiah is more copious and better known, and his testimony, which has been quoted by Mark, used to be read in public on the Sabbath; and Mark here produces the testimony of Malachi in a kind of parenthetic way, equivalent to a supplement, intending, as he did below, to omit that section of the Gospel history in which Malachi is properly [in the peculiarly appropriate place] quoted in Matthew 11:10, and Luke 7:27 : whereas the quotation of Isaiah, as in Matthew, Luke, and John, so also here in Mark, is peculiarly appropriate to this place. John the Baptist himself quoted Isaiah, not Malachi, concerning himself.

ἐν τῷ ἡσαΐᾳ τῳ προφήτῃ is the reading of BD (omitting the second τῷ)L δ Vulg. be, Syr. Memph. Origen, Iren. 191: “in Eseiam (Esaiam) prophetam” in ad. But Rec. Text ἐν τοῖς προφήταις, with A P, and Iren. 187, 205, expressly. Lachm. from Orig. 4,15e, which represents Mark, in accordance with his wonted style, abruptly to pass from “the beginning of the Gospel,” etc., Mark 1:1, to ‘John,’ Mark 1:4, is of opinion Mark 1:2-3 were inserted by pious readers. See Lachm. Gr. Test., vol. ii. p. 6.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 3

Mark 1:3. φωνὴ, the voice) see Luke 3:4, notes.— ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, in the wilderness) This is repeated in the following verse, where presently after also that expression, preaching ( κηρύσσων), answers to, the voice of one crying, in this ver.

Verse 4

Mark 1:4. ἐγένετο, came forth [not the same as ἦν]) The event is pointed out as answering to the prophecy.— κηρύσσων βαπτισμα, preaching the baptism) An abbreviated expression for, preaching the preaching of repentance, and baptizing the baptism of repentance; Luke 3:3.— εἰς, unto [for]) Construe with the baptism of repentance; Acts 2:38.— ἄφεσιν, remission) without [the need of] Levitical sacrifices.

Verse 5

Mark 1:5. ἰουδαία χώρα, the land of Judea) So, τὴν ἰουδαίαν γῆν, John 3:22.(6)οἱ ἱεροσολυμῖται, they of Jerusalem) At other times, capital cities are not readily wont to follow a new institution [a new mode of life preached for the first time].

Verse 7

Mark 1:7. ἔρχεται, there cometh) immediately, and even now present.— ἰσχυρότερος) that One, who is mightier. The One Christ is greater than John, yea, infinitely greater.— λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα, to unloose the latchet) We usually make fast our shoes with buckles, the ancients with thongs or strings. John seems by this proverbial saying, perhaps unconsciously, to make allusion to the baptism of Jesus, so as to express this meaning: I am not worthy to unloose His shoe-strings, much less to impart baptism to Him. For the shoes also, as well as the garments, used to be taken off, when a person was to be baptized.

Verse 9

Mark 1:9. εἰς τὸν) in the river.

Verse 10

Mark 1:10. εἶδε, He saw) i.e. Jesus saw: although John also saw it, John 1:32.— σχιζομένους, rent open) σχίζεται, is rent open, is said of that, which had not previously been open. Christ was the first who opened heaven.— ἀνοίγειν, to open, Matthew 3:16, is used in the general sense; whereas in the special sense it is used in antithesis to [as distinguished from] to rend, Acts 7:56. See on the difference of these words, Matthew 27:51-52.(7)τὸ πνεῦμα, the Spirit) with which Jesus was about to baptize.

Verse 12

Mark 1:12. εὐθέως, immediately) So, in the case of the sons of God, temptation is wont speedily to follow after great and striking testimonies as to their state [their standing as accepted of God].— ἐκβάλλει, driveth out) The present.

Verse 13

Mark 1:13. ΄ετὰ τῶν θηρίων, with the wild beasts) An important fact; comp. Genesis 1:26. This was a state more trying than the mere solitude of the desert. [Here the Saviour was removed apart from angels and men; and yet, however, not liable to the attacks of wild beasts. He even now, in the very height of His humiliation (self-emptying), exercised over the beasts the dominion which Adam had so soon suffered himself to lose; how much more so, when exalted! Psalms 8:8.—V. g.] Mark not only exhibits in a more compendious compass the history described by Matthew, but also, as it were in the manner of a supplement, some particulars of considerable value, which had not been previously recorded by Matthew, but which were calculated to afford profitable instruction to believers, who by this time had become proficients in the truth.(8)

Verse 14

Mark 1:14. παραδοθῆναι, was imprisoned) Mark writes as of a fact known to the reader, either from Matthew or from some other source of information. [Previously, more than once Jesus had visited the city of Jerusalem, as John relates. But His public walk in Galilee, and that a continued one (uninterrupted in its continuity) did not commence until after John was imprisoned.—V. g.]

Verse 15

Mark 1:15. πεπλήρωται καιρὸς, the proper time is fulfilled) the time, of which Daniel wrote, viz., that of His kingdom coming: the time which ye have been expecting. Those who acknowledged that the time was fulfilled, had, as the next step to take, either to embrace the true Messiah as set forth here, or else false Messiahs: comp. Luke 21:8. It was not John, but our Lord Himself, who openly declared the fulfilment of the time.— μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε, repent and believe) then you will be partakers in the Gospel.

Verse 16

Mark 1:16. σίμωνα, Simon) Mark writes of Peter in such a style, and with such fulness, that he might easily seem as if he wrote by dictation from the mouth of that apostle [comp. Mark 1:1, last note].— αὐτοῦ τοῦ σίμωνος) Either we should read thus,(9) or only τοῦ σίμωνος; others, only αὐτοῦ, in agreement with the parallel passages in the other Evangelists.(10) Mark sometimes repeats names, ch. Mark 3:17, Mark 5:37; sometimes he adds a relative pronoun to them, ch. Mark 2:20, Mark 3:24, etc., Mark 16:14; and decidedly, ch. Mark 6:22, αὐτῆς τῆς ἡρωδιάδος.— ἀ΄φιβάλλοντας ἀ΄φίβληστρον) So LXX., Habakkuk 1:17 : ἀ΄φιβαλεῖ ἀ΄φίβληστρον in the best MSS. Whence Isaiah 19:8, οἱ ἀ΄φιβολεῖς, the fishermen.

Verse 18

Mark 1:18. εὐθέως, immediately) Happy they, who quickly follow.

Verse 20

Mark 1:20. ΄ισθωτῶν, the hired servants) It is probable from this that Zebedee was not a poor man.

Verse 21

Mark 1:21.(11) εὐθέως, immediately [straightway]) Mark delights in this adverb. It has the effect of beautifully characterizing, especially in the first and second chapters, the rapid career of Christ, who was ever tending towards the goal, and the opportunities rapidly presented to Him, and His rapid successes. The Saviour did not in His acts proceed tardily. The particle πάλιν, again, which is frequently found in Mark, has a similar force.

Verse 22

Mark 1:22. ἐξουσίαν, authority) comp. Mark 1:27. [Matthew observes the same fact in his ch. Mark 7:28. General truths of this kind are related by one Evangelist in one place and connection, and by another in another and different connection. So the people are compared to “sheep left without a shepherd,” in Matthew 9:36, but at a subsequent time in Mark 6:34. Mark, however, in this passage, refers to the sermon on the mount; whence it is evident that the healing of the mother-in-law of Peter, which Mark transposes, followed the sermon on the mount, as we find the order of events in Matthew.—Harm., p. 235.]

Verse 23

Mark 1:23. καὶ, and) Mark, in the beginning of his history, records in what point of view both men and demons regarded Jesus. [It may be taken for granted that neither Mark nor Luke (ch. Mark 4:33) in this narrative insist on the historic order of events.—Harm., p. 256].— ἀνεκράξε, cried out) Most persons seem not to have previously known that the man was possessed. The power of possession must have been great, inasmuch as the same predicate is often assigned both to the man possessed and to the demon possessing him: ch. Mark 3:11, Mark 9:20; Acts 8:7.

Verse 24

Mark 1:24. ἔα, permit) that is, permit us to speak, [but Engl. Vers., Let us alone]: Luke 4:34; Luke 4:41.— τὶ, what) A most miserable state; that he should desire not to have anything to do with Jesus [comp. Revelation 6:15].— ναζαρηνὲ, of Nazareth) It is probable that the great Enemy had very closely observed what Jesus did at Nazareth during His youth.— ἀπολέσαι, to destroy) well said! comp. 1 John 3:8.— ἡμᾶς, us)(12) The demons have a common cause among them [one common interest].— οἶδα, I know) He does not say, we know. He speaks of himself, not of the rest. The demons who were in those possessed, seem to have perceived sooner than the rest who Jesus was [yea, sooner even than most of the men with whom He walked at that time.—Harm., p. 256].

Verse 25

Mark 1:25. ἐπετίμησεν, He rebuked) So ch. Mark 3:12. Hence it is evident that the hidden excellency of Jesus is far greater than Socinians suppose. It belongs to THE LORD as His prerogative to ‘rebuke,’ Jude 1:9.— φιμώθητι, be silenced) This prohibition did not prevent the cry of the unclean spirit when going out of the man, but merely the utterance of articulate words, such as are mentioned at Mark 1:24.

Verse 26

Mark 1:26. σπαράξαν, having torn) Our enemies, when they have possessed the inmost recesses of the soul, withdraw unwillingly; in fact, they are driven out.

Verse 27

Mark 1:27. διδαχὴ, doctrine) with which these miracles were connected and accompanied.— καὶ, even).

Verse 29

Mark 1:29. εὐθέως, forthwith) Jesus avoided the din of a crowd.— ἦλθον, they came) Jesus, and Simon, and Andrew.— μετὰ, with) Already, after having left one home, James and John had several homes [viz., those of their fellow-disciples].

Verse 32

Mark 1:32. ὀψίας, at even) Implying the assiduity of Jesus. Comp. Mark 1:35, in the morning.— καὶ, and) specially.

Verse 33

Mark 1:33. ὅλη, the whole) the sick, the bearers of them, and the spectators.

Verse 34

Mark 1:34. οὐκ ἤφιε, He suffered not) So ch. Mark 11:16. The second aorist of the verb ἀφιέω, as Sylberg shows in his Not. ad Clenard., p. 468.— ὅτι, because) They were attempting to speak.

Verse 35

Mark 1:35. ἔννυχον, in the depth of night [a great while before day]) Day and night He was on the watch for our salvation. Hence also is evinced the eagerness of the apostles and the people: see the following verses.— προσηύχετο, He was in prayer) specially for the apostles: see following verse.

Verse 36

Mark 1:36. σίμων καὶ οἱ μετʼ αὐτοῦ, Simon and they that were with him) Already Simon is eminent among them. So Luke 8:45; Luke 9:32. It is not said, for instance, “Thomas and they that were with him.” [Comp. note (13) on Mark 1:16].

ABLa have σίμωνος (and A prefixes τοῦ). Dbc Vulg. and Rec. Text read αὐτοῦ. Only later Uncial MSS. and later Syr. Version read αὐτοῦ τοῦ σίμωνος.—ED.

Verse 37

Mark 1:37. εὑρόντες, when they had found Him) He therefore had not told them whither He was going. [When He had passed the greatest part of His years in solitude, He at length presented Himself to be beheld in public; yet still His manifestation was subject to this condition, that even then He most prudently blended secret communion with His heavenly Father along with His public intercourse with men.—Harm., p. 259].— πάντες, all) why should not we also? saith Peter.

Verse 38

Mark 1:38. ἐχόμενας, which come next in our way) According as things external, whether place or time, present themselves, so the kingdom of God introduces [insinuates] itself.— ἐλήλυθα, I have come) The first and earliest words of Jesus contain something of an enigmatical character: but by degrees He speaks more openly of Himself. He was afterwards about to speak in this way, I went out [“came forth”] from the Father.(14)

Verse 39

Mark 1:39. κηρύσσωνἐκβάλλων, preaching—casting out) Two kinds of benefits.

Verse 43

Mark 1:43.(15) εὐθέως, forthwith) lest Jesus should seem to countenance anything derogatory to the law.— ἐξέβαλεν, made him go away) The man, when healed, was ready to remain with Jesus, and to stay away from his relatives. Adversities have the effect of transferring our affections from natural objects of affection to Christ.

Verse 45

Mark 1:45.(16) ΄ηκέτι, no longer) Christ therefore was ready to teach rather in the cities, than in the place to which the men were going out.


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Mark 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

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