Bible Query from
Mark


Questions that refer to more than one Gospel are discussed in the first gospel where they appear or else are in the Gospel section.

Q: In Mk, what are some of the distinctive elements of this gospel?
A: Mark is a gospel of action. Mark often uses the word "immediately". It emphasizes Christ the servant. He healed, fed, cast out demons, and gave his life as a ransom for many. Christ is the hope for simple people. A key passage is Mark 10:45.
As far as language goes, some see similarities in the words in Peter and Mark. Mark actually was the interpreter for Peter. Mark has the simplest vocabulary of the gospels.
As far as similarities are concerned, about 90% of the verses in Mark have some parallel in Matthew.
As for false religions, Mark 1:9-11, as well as Matthew 3:16-17 are good passages to show Oneness Pentecostals that the Father, Son, and Spirit are not identical or merely three "modes" of one person.
 

Q: In Mk, why was there no genealogy like there was in Matthew and Luke?
A: Mark's purposes in writing appear to be somewhat different than Matthew and Luke.
Matthew is written more for Jews, who emphasized genealogy, and Matthew emphasizes Christ as a king, and genealogy is important for kings.
Mark emphasizes Christ was a servant, and emphasized His actions and ministry.
Luke emphasized the humanity of Jesus, and was undoubtedly written to more of a Greek audience. Luke records the most parables.
John emphasizes Jesus as God, and focuses on seven signs Jesus gave.
See When Critics Ask p.369 for more info.
 

Q: Mark with his use of "immediately" gives the impression that Jesus' ministry lasted only a few months, from picking grain during the harvest in Mark 2 to the Passover in ch.11. Jesus, Interrupted p.42
A: I have read all of the Christian pre-Nicene literature except for two books, and much of the preserved Gnostic and Ebionite literature, and I found not a single pre-Nicene writer, Christian, Gnostic, who thought Mark indicated that Jesus' ministry lasted only a few months. Scholars should be careful not to read their own innovative theories into ancient writings. I am sure different people can find all kinds of impressions in the Bible if they work hard enough.
 

Q: In Mk 1:2, does Mark add to Mal 3:1 here?
A: Mark paraphrased Malachi, right before he refers to Isaiah.
In the Masoretic text, Malachi 3:1 reads: "Behold I am sending My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me...." (Green's Literal Translation)
In the Septuagint, Malachi 3:1 says: "Behold I send forth my messenger, and he shall survey the way before me..." (Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton)
Mark 1:2 says "Behold I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You." (Green's Literal Translation) Note the addition of "before Your face" and "Your/You" instead of "my/Me".
Two points to consider in the answer.
1. Mark changed the pronouns, which does not alter the meaning here.
2. Since "before me" is the last phrase, adding a "before your face" for repetitive emphasis does not change the meaning either.
See When Critics Ask p.370 for more info.
 

Q: Does Mk 1:2 say "in the prophets" (KJV, NKJV, Green's Literal Translation), or "in Isaiah the prophet" (NASB, uNASB, NIV, NRSV, Williams Translation, Wuest's Expanded Translation)?
A: There is a manuscript variant here.
"In the prophets" is in the following manuscripts: Alexandrinus, Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Armenian Ethiopic, Irenaeus, and other manuscripts. Most importantly, the Byzantine Lectionary says the same.
"In the Isaiah the prophet" or "In Isaiah the prophet" is in most other manuscripts, including Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Gothic, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, etc. mentions Isaiah. In the Greek New Testament (Aland et al. (3rd edition) gives this variation an uncertainty of "A", meaning it is "the text is virtually certain" that Isaiah was mentioned.
This is an interesting place where the Textus Receptus departs from the Byzantine family of texts, yet the KJV and NKJV go with the Textus Receptus.
 

Q: In Mk 1:2, did Isaiah say all of this?
A: No, this is a listing of three prophecies (Exodus 23:20 (LXX), Malachi 3:1 (Masoretic), and Isaiah 40:3 (LXX)). The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.102 says this reflects a common practice of quoting several passages with a unifying theme. Each prophecy combines hopeful expectation of a forerunner with a warning if disobeyed. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.403-404 says the term for this practice is a "testimonia chain". The New Geneva Study Bible p.1560 and The NIV Study Bible p.1493 also mention this.
 

Q: In Mk 1:2, what are the differences between these Old Testament verses in the Masoretic text and the Septuagint (LXX) translation?
A: Mark 1:2 is a testimonia chain, (also called a conflation) of three verses.
Exodus 23:20 in the Masoretic text says, "Behold, I am about to send an angel before you to guard you in the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared." The Septuagint translation (LXX) says, "And, behold, I send my angel before thy face, that he may bring thee into the land which I have prepared for thee.
Malachi 3:1 in the Masoretic text says, "clear the way", while the Septuagint translation (LXX) says, "clear the way"
Isaiah 40:3 in the Masoretic text says, "him who cries ... straight in the desert a highway". The Septuagint translation (LXX) says, "one crying ... straight the paths"
The Hebrew translation is taken from Jay P. Green's Literal Translation. The Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton's translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English.
 

Q: In Mk 1:4 , what exactly is remission of sins?
A: Remission of sins is the same as forgiveness of sins. Prior to Jesus time, Israelites had repeated ritual washings for purification. Jerusalem had many "mikvahs" which were ceremonial basins for washing. The Jews also initiated one-time "baptisms" of Gentile converts to wash away their Gentile impurity. Water baptism is something we do as a sign of our salvation. It is also a pledge of a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21).
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.404-406 for a more extensive answer.
 

Q: In Mk 1:4,9 and Lk 3:3, since baptism was for the forgiveness / remission of sins, why was Jesus baptized, since Jesus was sinless according to Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 2:5:21, John 8:46, and 1 Peter 1:19?
A: John the Baptist apparently had the same question in his mind when he asked Jesus why He was being baptized in Matthew 3:14. Jesus alluded to the answer in Matthew 3:15-16. Jesus did not say He Himself was baptized for forgiveness, but Jesus said it was to "fulfill all righteousness." We are to follow Christ's example, and Christ was baptized.
See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.121 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 1:5, since all the land of Judea went out to see John, does that mean everyone?
A: No. It does not say every single person, but rather means many people from all parts of Judea went out to see John.
 

Q: In Mk 1:5, how could the kingdom of God be at hand?
A: The kingdom of God was near, is here in us, and will come.
Was near: Jesus is the king of kings, and where He is the kingdom of God can be said to be near.
Is here in us: The kingdom of God is within believers today. However, it has not appeared in any visible form on the earth. A person who believes in Christ has become a citizen of the kingdom of God.
Will come: The kingdom of God will not be realized visibly in this world until the Messiah comes again and sets up His kingdom on the earth.
 

Q: In Mk 1:8, how does Jesus baptize with the Holy Spirit?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. When a person repents and believers in Christ, they are regenerated in Christ and baptized with the Holy Spirit.
2. Then the Holy Spirit lives in them.
3. All Christians have the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:10,11,15)
4. Having the Holy Spirit occurs before water baptism, as Acts 10:44-48 shows.
 

Q: In Mk 1:10, since the Holy Spirit came out of Heaven in the form of a dove, does this show the Holy Spirit is not a person, as Jehovah's Witnesses might think?
A: No. Having the ability to appear as a dove does nothing to restrict the intelligence, emotions, or other characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Similarly in the Old Testament, God appearing as a burning bush did not in any way lessen God. See When Cultists Ask p.134 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 1:12, why did the Holy Spirit send Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted?
A: Scripture does not say. Perhaps this had to be taken care of before Jesus could start His ministry. If you are a Christian, are there temptations you need to consistently be victorious over before God can use you in a greater way?
 

Q: In Mk 1:14, is the "gospel of the kingdom of God" the same as the "gospel of Christ"?
A: Yes, except that at this time Jesus did not preach about His death, resurrection, and Second coming yet.
 

Q: In Mk 1:24, why did the demons publicly recognize Jesus?
A: Scripture does not say. Perhaps they wanted to let out too early Jesus' secret of being the Messiah, but that is not a very likely reason. It is more probable that they were hoping that if they recognized Jesus, He might leave the demons alone so that they could remain inside the people. Perhaps that was the demons' rationale, or alternately, demons do not necessarily always act rationally.
 

Q: In Mk 1:24-26, was there one demon or many inside the man?
A: It could be either way. Four points to consider in the answer.
1. When Mark 1:24 uses "we", it could refer to multiple demons, one demon and the man, or multiple personalities in the man or one demon.
2. In Mark 1:25-26, Jesus only addressed the demon as one.
3. The demon could have just been one but misrepresented himself as many.
4. Nothing says a demon has to be an individual like an animal. Nothing in Scripture prohibits some demons from being like plants, or cells that divide, though scripture is silent on this speculation.
 

Q: In Mk 1:34, 3:11-12, Lk 4:34-35, and Lk 4:41, why did Jesus not allow the demons to speak?
A: All of these times were early in Jesus' ministry. Mark 1:34 says it was because the demons knew who Jesus was. A man healed early in Jesus' ministry was commanded not to tell anyone (Mark 1:44-45). When Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus commands the disciples at that time not to tell anyone (Matthew 16:20; Mark 8:30). Thus, the reason likely was that Jesus did not yet want it announced that He was the Messiah. He wanted the people to see His life, teaching, and miracles and have time to decide for themselves.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.406-408 for more on why Jesus wanted this to be a secret at this time.
 

Q: In Mk 1:37, since "all" sought Jesus, was every single person seeking Jesus?
A: Nearly every person within the immediate region was seeking Jesus for some reason. Unfortunately, that does not mean everyone was seeking salvation from Jesus. Many simply might have been seeking Jesus for the thrill of seeing a miracle.
 

Q: In Mk 1:38, why didn't Jesus stay in one place very long?
A: Apparently Jesus was not counting on repetition to draw people to Him. Once people had enough information to make a decision about Him, Jesus moved on to others who had not yet seen Him.
 

Q: In Mk 1:44-45, why did the man disobey Jesus and tell everyone about his healing?
A: Scripture does not say, but today we can see people who want the blessings and good things from Christianity, but who do not have any concept of obedience or responsibility. Outside of Christianity this might be more widespread. Some see the appeal of the New Age and some other spiritual movements as the promise of spirituality without any obligations.
 

Q: In Mk 2:4, how could they uncover the roof and lower the man down?
A: Common houses back then were typically made of thatch with dried mud and some wood. They only had to take out the thatch and dig through the dried mud.
This might have been embarrassing for both the paralytic and his friends, but they probably were not thinking about that, just that they wanted their friend healed. Would you be willing to go through the roof for a friend?
 

Q: In Mk 2:7, why did the scribes conclude Jesus was blaspheming by saying the man's sins were forgiven?
A: The Jews were conscious of the fact that for their to be forgiveness and restoration, the wrongdoer has to ask forgiveness of the one He wronged, and the one wronged has to grant it. When Jesus granted forgiveness, He was standing in the place of God. Just "sinning" would not be a wrong against Jesus Himself, - unless Jesus was God.
 

Q: In Mk 2:10, would it have been blasphemy for Jesus to say his sins were forgiven, if Jesus were not God?
A: -In this context, yes. However, Jesus later proclaimed God's forgiveness for those who repent and turn to Christ, and we can proclaim in God's name what He proclaimed. Thus, it is acceptable for either Protestants or priests to proclaim that a person's sins are forgiven, since they are not saying they have the power themselves but are proclaiming what God has said. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.408-410 mentions that they would certainly be a hard saying in the minds of some of Jesus' listeners. Sometimes God gives us hard sayings though, for us to digest and come to a new and greater realization of who He is. See also the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.119 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 2:14 (KJV), what does "receipt of custom" mean?
A: This mean tax collection.
 

Q: In Mk 2:15, did Jesus have His own home?
A: Three points to consider to in the answer.
1. Jesus' mother lived somewhere, and Jesus' "home base" was in Capernaum, so perhaps Jesus had a home there.
2. The word "his" here more likely refers to Levi, not Jesus, so this is talking about Levi's house, not Jesus'.
3. Of course in a different sense, Jesus, as God, owns all the homes in the world. However, that is not the meaning of "his" home here.
 

Q: In Mk 2:16, Lk 7:29, and Lk 18:10-13 (KJV), what were "publicans"?
A: That is another name for tax-collectors.
 

Q: In Mk 2:17, why did Jesus say He was not calling the righteous?
A: Jesus was not excluding a single person, as Romans 3:3-10,23-24 shows, since none were righteous. What Jesus meant here was that He was not saving those who thought they were so righteous they did not need a savior.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.410-411 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 2:18-20, why were Jesus' disciples not fasting?
A: Many Jews fasted as a matter of custom and tradition, not out of devotion to God, and the disciples had no need to fast for that reason. Christians still fast today, to focus their prayers, and as another way to express their sorrow or earnestness of their request to God.
On a lighter note, you can look at any Christian that needs to lose a few pounds of weight, and see a person that has such wonderful potential to express his prayers by fasting.
Seriously, Christians also fast to help themselves draw closer to God. Jesus was not against fasting, but since the disciples were already with Jesus, they did not need to fast for that purpose at this time.
 

Q: In Mk 2:21-22 and Mt 9:16-17, what is the meaning of the two parables of the cloths and wineskins?
A: The Pharisees said they should follow the tradition of fasting at this time, while Jesus was saying the gospel was a fundamentally new thing.
Externally, sometimes new things cannot be patched on to old things, because the old cannot stand it.
Internally, sometimes new contents cannot be contained by old forms, without breaking the old forms.
Specifically in regard to the Gospel, you cannot just patch it on to what you already know about the Old Testament; it is not just a rephrasing of what is in the Old Testament, but a "mystery" that was only hinted at until Christ came.
By the way, there is some uncertainty whether the "old" in these two parables was the Old Testament, or the Old Testament plus the traditions of the Pharisees tacked on. Regardless of what Jewish or other religious traditions a person might have, the Good News is not something you can just tack on to any pre-existing tradition.
 

Q: In Mk 2:23-24, what would be considered wrong with plucking grain?
A: The Old Testament not say anything was wrong with this. However, the Pharisees considered any gathering of grain, no matter how small, to be reaping. Since reaping grain was work, they forbade that on a Sabbath.
 

Q: In Mk 2:26, was this in the days of Abiathar, or his father Ahimelech?
A: The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.909 claims this is a "factual error", but he is wrong here. Both Abiathar and Ahimelech were alive then, though Abiathar's father Ahimelech was killed shortly thereafter. According to the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.362, the Greek here, epi Abiathar archiereos, simply means "in the time of Abiathar the high priest". Abiathar was not only alive then, he was present when this occurred. This expression is like saying "in the time of David, the ruler of Israel", even though David became ruler of Israel later.
In summary, it was during the time of Abiathar, who later was a high priest. As When Critics Ask p.370 concludes, "it was during the time of Abiathar, but not during his tenure in office."
 

Q: In Mk 2:27, since the Sabbath was made for man (anthropos in the Greek), does that mean all mankind must keep the Sabbath?
A: No for three reasons.
1) Even if all mankind had been commanded to keep it, after Jesus' resurrection the New Testamant says that Sabbaths (as well as new moons and dietary laws) do not need to be observed anymore in Colossians 2:16-17. The Old Covenant is now obsolete according to Hebrews 8:13.
2) Even in Old Testament times, God did not communicate to anyone but Jews that they were to keep the Sabbath. The Sabbaths, feasts, and new moons were a lasting ordinance for Israel, according to 2 Chronicles 2:3.
3) In Mark 2:27 the word anthropos is just a generic word for male (or man). But you cannot make too much of anthropos being all males, because females were supposed to keep the Sabbath too. However, the Sabbath was never commanded to anyone but the Jews, for it was a sign just between God and Israel according to Exodus 31:12-13. In heaven and now, the Sabbath-rest of Hebrews 3-4, (which is every day now and in the future) for all believers mentioned in Hebrews is offered to all. 
In general, we and Seventh days Adventists can agree (or at least ought to agree) that:
a) If we were Jews in Old Testament times, we should have kept the Sabbath. 
b) But even if we were Jewish in New Testament times after Christ rose from the dead, we should obey Paul, (as well as the other New Testament writers and Jesus.)
c) When the New Testament alters, abrogates, or adds to something in the Old Testament, the New Testament has primary priority.
d) We should be more concerned about what God taught and commanded in the Bible, than with things God did not speak about. 
 

Q: In Mk 3:6, who were the Herodians?
A: This was a term for the Sadducees.
 

Q: In Mk 3:6, what is so hypocritical about the Pharisees and Herodians here?
A: One can be "lawful" and still be evil (Some criminal defense lawyers know about that.) The Jews had laws against killing animals on the Sabbath, but they apparently did not have a written law against plotting on the Sabbath to kill their Messiah. This is early in Jesus' ministry, and even if they would not accept Jesus as their Messiah, they were plotting to kill a man, who from their perspective, had broken no law deserving death.
 

Q: In Mk 3:14,19, since Jesus appointed twelve disciples, how come one of them, Judas Iscariot, later betrayed Jesus?
A: Acts 2:23 says that Jesus was handed over to death through the determined purpose of foreknowledge of God. It was Judas' choice to betray Jesus, but Judas was put in a position to exercise his choice.
Many people might have felt betrayed by Jesus in John 13:21. They could interpret his miracles and claims as that he had the power to drive out the Romans, yet he chose not to try to do so. If you think that God is there to serve your purposes, sooner or later you probably will feel betrayed by God too, that is until you realize we are here to serve His purposes, and not the other way around.
 

Q: In Mk 3:17, how does the word "boanerges" mean sons of thunder?
A: They were given this nickname because of their hot temper. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.909 says that boanerges is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic benai regesh, which means sons of anger. However, regesh to nerges is not very close. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.116 says this was a Hebrew idiom.
 

Q: In Mk 3:31-35, why did Jesus mention his mother, brothers, and sisters here?
A: Jesus undoubtedly loved and valued His family, but His family did not take priority over following God and Jesus' ministry. We should have the proper attitude also. We must obey our parents in the lord, but there are times we are to disobey our parents' direct command or go against their implied wishes, if what they want is not God's will.
 

Q: In Mk 3:31-35, was Jesus sinning by not honoring His mother here?
A: No, because they were not asking Jesus to stop in the middle of his preaching to come see them at that moment, and Jesus knew God the Father wanted Him to preach now. Jesus' family thought Jesus was out of His mind in Mark 3:20-21. Hypothetically speaking, if His mother had asked Jesus to stop preaching permanently, Jesus would have to disobey this (hypothetical) command to obey God's command.
 

Q: In Mk 3:31-35, why wasn't Joseph here?
A: Scripture does not say. However, church tradition says that Joseph was much older than Mary and may have died by then.
 

Q: In Mk 4:10-20, why did Jesus only explain the meaning of these parables to the twelve disciples?
A: Scripture does not say why the crowds did not hear every explanation, but Jesus especially wanted his disciples not to misunderstand. Of course, anyone in the crowd who wanted to could become Jesus' disciple and be taught by Jesus and the Twelve too.
This is sort of the way things are today too. Everyone can hear something about the Gospel, but if they really want to understand fully, they need to study God's Word and learn with other Christians.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.417-419 for a different but complementary answer.
 

Q: In Mk 4:11-12, why would Jesus deliberately obscure the gospel by speaking in parables so that people would not understand, turn, and be forgiven? Did he not come that all men might be saved? (Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: Jesus was referring to Isaiah 6:9,10. Jesus spoke in parables to be merciful! Here are four points to the answer.
1) God wants all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 17:23).
2) But some have chosen to reject God's word and there are consequences for that in this life. These kind of people become hardened in their hearing, hardening their hearts (Exodus 8:15,32; 9:17,34;Pr28:14; Romans 1:18-20; Hebrews 3:12-15; Zechariah 7:12).
3) For people who reject God, it is better for them not to know truth than to know the truth and turn their backs on it, according to 2 Peter 2:20-22.
4) A parable is appropriate because those who want to follow God can be guided to know its meaning, and a parable will be not be understood by those who do not want to follow God.
If someone has already rejected the truth they know of God, God is not obligated to give them more truth.
 

Q: In Mk 4:14-20 and Lk 8:5-15, in the parable of the sower, how are people like the four soils?
A: Here are a few examples.
1. Some never care for the Gospel to begin with. Satan was working so that the Gospel cannot sink in the hard soil in the first place. Some people are very opposed to Christianity. Others are not, but as I have heard, "will come to the Bible study if I have nothing better to do."
2. Some want to accept the Gospel at first, but they fall away in trouble or persecution.
3. Some people grow in the Gospel, but they are choked out by the cares of this life, or the temptations of their society. Materialism, watching immorality and violence, and alcoholism are some of the greater "thorns" to watch for in western Society.
4. Some both respond and persevere. Of these, differing ones deliver varying fruits.
 

Q: In Mk 4:14-20, in the parable, wasn't the sower too careless with the seed?
A: Careless no, liberal with the seed yes. There is no "fifth kind" of soil that would have been fruitful except that the sower forgot to sow there. The truth is, that no soil could give the excuse that "I would have been a fruitful soil, but I can blame the sower for not putting seed on me." One could accuse the sower was "too generous with the seed", giving every soil a chance even though it would be a lost cause. However, no one can rightfully accuse the sower of being too stingy with the seed.
 

Q: In Mk 4:22, what kinds of things will later be manifested?
A: Every deed, good and bad, will be manifested on judgment day. For every idle word that we speak, we will have to give account, according to Matthew 12:36-37. God is a judge of character, and someone once said that character is who you are when you think nobody is looking.
 

Q: In Mk 4:24, Lk 6:38, and other verses, what does it mean that the measure you use/give will be the measure you receive?
A: All of these verses say in effect "use it or lose it", but they are three applications.
Mark 4:24 emphasizes that the more of God's wisdom and gifts you use, the more will be given to you. If you do not use what little you have, even that will be taken from you.
Luke 6:38 is similar, but it emphasizes what you give to others, whether it be good things, or forgiveness and mercy, as Luke 6:37 mentions.
Matthew 18:35; 6:12 teach that God will forgive us as we forgive others. The measure of mercy and forgiveness we give others shows what we will get.
In summary: some aspects of God's judgment at the end, and blessing during this life, are absolute and constant for all. Some aspects depend on the knowledge a person has (Romans 4:15; 5:13; 2 Peter 2:21-22, etc.). Some aspects of what a person gets depend on what they give others.
 

Q: In Mk 4:31, why does it say the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, since smaller seeds exist?
A: The mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds, but compared to what? While scripture does not say, all would agree the mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds that they knew. It was also the smallest seed that the sowed in the field.
 

Q: In Mk 4:32, why is the mustard plant the largest of all herbs, since there are larger herbs?
A: Jesus was not trying to give a botany lesson here. Jesus was speaking for the benefit of his audience, and Jesus spoke in terms they would appreciate. The mustard plant was the largest of all plants that they recognized as herbs.
 

Q: In Mk 4:34, why did Jesus teach everything in parables?
A: By using this particular form of teaching, Jesus could teach those who wanted to learn, and keep it hidden from those who did not want to follow Him.
 

Q: In Mk 4:38, how could Jesus be asleep in the ship during a storm?
A: Jesus might be tired after all of His preaching. In addition, perhaps the Father especially wanted Jesus to be in a deep sleep at this time, in order to demonstrate to the disciples their need to ask.
 

Q: In Mk 4:39, how could the wind cease so suddenly?
A: Wind is the result of differences in pressure between two areas. While wind can stop suddenly naturally, this passage indicates the wind ceasing was a miracle.
 

Q: In Mk 5:1, where is the country of the Gadarenes?
A: This is the area by the city of Gerasa, which lay about 35 miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee in the modern-day country of Jordan. The NIV Study Bible p.1501 mentions that one mile south of the modern village of Khersa is a steep hill 40 yards from shore. Two miles away are cavern tombs that apparently were also used as homes.
 

Q: In Mk 5:3-4, how could this demon-possessed man be so strong that he could break chains and fetters?
A: Even people who are not demon-possessed have been know to perform great feats of strength under stressful, life and death situations. I heard of an alarm for an imminent chemical plant explosion (which thankfully did not occur), and one chemical operator jumped over an eight-foot high chain link fence. When he went back to the plant, he looked at that fence in wonder, as he almost did not believe what he had done.
I also have heard of a woman, when a parked car was about to crush her kid, who picked up a corner of the car.
 

Q: In Mk 5:6, why was a demon-possessed man running to Jesus to worship Him?
A: While scripture does not say, here is one speculation. If the demon thought that Jesus was coming for him, and that he could not escape, perhaps he wanted to run to Jesus first to beg Jesus to spare him.
 

Q: In Mk 5:9 and Lk 8:30, why was the demon's name "Legion"?
A: A Roman legion was around 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers. In other words, this man did not have one problem with a demon, he had 5,000 or 6,000 problems with demons. God does not care how many problems we have, the Lord can solve them all.
One can wonder whether each demon that currently exists had an independent existence from the Garden of Eden or not. Perhaps demons could multiply (sort of like germs) either outside of or in the fertile ground of a person. This is just speculation, though.
 

Q: In Mk 5:10-14 and Lk 8:32, why did Jesus appear to "make a deal" with the demons?
A: While Jesus had the latitude to do so, Scripture does not actually say that He did anything more than give them permission. Jesus did not necessarily do the demons any favor; the pigs drowned.
 

Q: In Mk 5:10-14, should Christians ever make deals with demons today?
A: There is no evidence that we should. We do not have the knowledge that Jesus had. Given that demons see in another dimension besides our own, they may be more intelligent, and there are no guarantees of them being honest or trustworthy, there does not seem to be any compelling need to even speak with any demon, except to command them to be bound or to leave.
 

Q: In Mk 5:12 and Lk 8:30-33, why did the demons want to go into the pigs?
A: Scripture only gives us the briefest glimpse of the thinking in a demon's mind. Apparently they reasoned that entering into the pigs was preferable to going in the abyss at this time.
Scripture does not say whether the demons deliberately caused the pigs to drown, accidentally caused the pigs to drown, or whether they even knew the pigs would drown. Finally, scripture does not say whether the demons and Satan are completely sane or sometimes crazy.
 

Q: In Mk 5:13, why did Jesus allegedly destroy 2000 pigs to heal one man? (Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
a) I assume Deedat would agree we are worth more than many pigs. Humans, whether in Saudi Arabia, India, or the west kill many animals all the time for food. These pigs, raised by the non-Jews leaving on the east side of the Sea of Galilee, were raised for food, as unlike sheep or milk cows, there is no other purpose for raising pigs.
b) Jesus did not kill the pigs. When the legion of demons left the man, they went into the pigs, and that resulted in the pigs' drowning.
c) It is surprising to me that Deedat would feign sympathy for these pigs, when the Qur'an tells of a prophet of God, wiser than Moses, who just walked up to a little boy and broke his neck, killing him. (No, the boy was not raised or anything after that; the boy just stayed dead.) This is in Sura 18:63-82. In the hadiths Bukhari vol.1 book 3 no.124 p.92 expands on the story of al-Khidr. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.4688-4690 p.1319
rationalizes this by saying the boy whom al-Khidr killed was born an infidel. So is being a little boy who did not believe in God enough to get your neck broken in a Muslim's eyes?
 

Q: In Mk 5:17 and Lk 8:37, why did the multitude ask Jesus to leave?
A: These people clearly saw the goodness and power of Jesus, and yet they still asked Him to leave them. They were raising pigs, for which there would be no market among God's people who followed God's law. Today, a common response to seeing the goodness and pure love of God is to try to make it go away. This is especially true for those who spiritually "sell pigs" today.
 

Q: In Mk 5:18-20, why didn't Jesus allow the man to accompany Him?
A: Jesus undoubtedly could see that the unpossessed man staying among those who knew him would be a greater ministry than a now-normal Gentile going to Jews who did know him and had already seen Jesus' miracles.
Today we naturally may have a tendency to want to do the more "showy" ministries, but God may have a greater purpose for us in sending us somewhere else or keeping us where we are. Rather than ask why God will not put you in a ministry somewhere else, you should ask instead how you can be more effective where you are.
 

Q: In Mk 5:27-34, when the woman with the flow of blood touched Jesus, why did Jesus publicly ask who touched Him?
A: There are two possible answers.
1. Since Jesus took upon himself some limiting human qualities, such as not being all-knowing, when He came to earth, Jesus genuinely did not know who had been miraculously healed by touching Him.
2. Regardless of whether Jesus knew who it was, Jesus wanted her to come forward. There was some unfinished business here, namely that Jesus wanted to talk with her and pronounce that her faith had healed her, and to go in peace and be freed from her suffering.
 

Q: In Mk 5:30-33, since Jesus could know what was in a person, why did Jesus ask her?
A: Jesus asked for her sake, not for his. He wanted to give her help, but He wanted her to request it first.
 

Q: In Mk 5:35 and Lk 8:49, why did they say not to trouble Jesus once the daughter of Jairus died?
A: While Jesus could heal the sick, they probably thought that not even Jesus could raise the dead.
 

Q: In Mk 5:39 and Lk 8:52-53, why did Jesus say that Jairus' daughter was not dead, but sleeping?
A: There are two possible answers.
Coma: Perhaps the daughter really was not dead, just in a coma near death. Scripture does not actually say that she was dead. Rather Luke 8:49 says the others said she was dead, Luke 8:53 says they "knew" she was dead, and Luke 8:55 says that her spirit "came again". However, the next answer is more likely.
Death: She actually was dead. However, death is considered a final physical state, and Jesus' used the metaphor that she was just sleeping, because He knew that He was going to raise her.
 

Q: In Mk 5:41 and Lk 8:54, why did Jesus say, "Maid arise"?
A: If Jesus had simply said "arise", perhaps all the dead would have risen. It would not do for Jesus to say "arise", and have all the dead rise, and then Jesus to follow that by saying, "on second thought..."
 

Q: In Mk 5:42 and Lk 8:56, why did Jesus tell the girl's parents not to tell anyone about this miracle?
A: The issue here might be timing; perhaps Jesus did not want that miracle told while He was in town. People certainly would find out eventually, but Jesus did not want any more people trying to follow him "just for the show".
 

Q: In Mk 5:41; 7:34, why is Mark explaining Aramaic expressions to his readers?
A: The Gospel of Mark was written in Greek, and while many people in Palestine could speak both, Mark anticipated that many of his Greek readers could not understand Aramaic terms. In contrast to this, Papias says that the Gospel of Matthew was first written down in Hebrew. However see The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.11-12 for ambiguity on this statement.
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.911 has a helpful comment here. Asimov says the style of Mark seems closer to Aramaic than even Matthew. "In fact, part of the imperfection of the Greek of this gospel seems to be that it contains numerous Aramaic forms of expression, literally translated, as though Mark were writing in Greek, but thinking in Aramaic."
 

Q: In Mk 5:41, did Jesus speak Aramaic or Greek?
A: Jesus certainly spoke Aramaic, as evidenced by His Aramaic expressions. However, many in Galilee and Decapolis spoke both but were more comfortable with Greek. Since Jesus was from there, it was likely that Jesus addressed people in both languages.
Here are specific Aramaic expressions recorded
A1. "Sons of thunder" Mark 3:17
A2. "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" Mark 5:41
A3. "be opened" Mark 7:34
A4. "empty-head" Matthew 5:22
A5. "Abba, Father" Mark 14:36
A6. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me" Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34
A7. "whether he would heal on the Sabbath so that they might find an accusation against him" (Luke 6:7) is Greek with peculiar grammar (a dependent complementary infinitive) that might suggest an Aramaic nuance, according to A Wandering Aramean p.12-13.
Jesus spoke Hebrew in Paul's vision in Acts 26:13-15.
Here are expressions indicating that Jesus used Greek too.
G1. Matthew 16:15-18 (Petros, Petra)
G2. The names Philip and Andrew were Greek. The name Bartimaeus is an Aramaic-Greek hybrid, according to the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels p.316.
G3. Finally, it would be hard to believe that with at least three Gospels originally written in Greek, and Paul and others writing letters in Greek, that Jesus would not know the language that even Galilean fishermen knew.
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.911 also discusses the Aramaic expressions of Jesus.
 

Q: In Mk 6:1, what was Jesus' "own country"?
A: This would be the region around Nazareth in Galilee.
 

Q: In Mk 6:1-6, why did many in Jesus' hometown not believe in Him?
A: Some did believe. However, many people had a problem thinking that someone who was once a child, growing up near where they grew up, could be great, much less the Messiah.
 

Q: In Mk 6:5, does Jesus not being able to do any miracles prove He is not God, as Jehovah's Witnesses claim in Reasoning from the Scriptures p.150 (1989)?
A: No. Two points to consider in the answer.
On earth, Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave, as Philippians 2:6-7 says. Jesus experienced obedience, suffering, and physical pain while on earth.
Choosing not to do a miracle is different from being physically unable to do a miracle. Regardless of the emptying of Jesus, God the Father could have chosen to have a miracle done, but given their lack of faith did not choose to do so.
See also When Cultists Ask p.134-135 and When Critics Ask p.371 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 6:5, why was Jesus not able to do any mighty miracles in His hometown?
A: Since the people, on the whole, refused to believe in a hometown boy, doing a miracle would not increase their faith. This also could be an act of mercy on Jesus' part. 2 Peter 2:21-22 says it is better for someone to not know the way of truth, then to know it and turn their back on it.
 

Q: In Mk 6:8-9, why could the disciples not take a bag, bread or copper [money] in their belts?
A: Simply because our Lord commanded them not to do so. We can speculate that He wanted them to depend on God and others, and not on their financial resources.
 

Q: In Mk 6:10 and Lk 9:4-5, why were they not to go to multiple houses in one town?
A: Jesus did not say, but we can see a number of practical reasons for not going to multiple houses.
1. There was a greater chance of people being offended, or contention among people for who got to keep the guests.
2. It would be a distraction for the people, not to mention the disciples, to always keep worrying about where to stay.
 

Q: In Mk 6:11, if you lived back then, and you had a prophecy of what Judas Iscariot would do, should you take Judas into your house?
A: Yes, if you knew that was what Jesus wanted you to do. They most important factor to ask in any decision is, "what would Jesus want you to do?"
 

Q: In Mk 6:17-18, why was it not lawful for Herod Antipas to have his brother's wife?
A: John knew his Old Testament well. Herod's marrying his brother's wife while his brother was still living was contrary to Leviticus 18:16; 20:21.
 

Q: In Mk 6:20, how did Herod Antipas fear and respect John, since Herod later killed John?
A: Given John's commitment to give up an easy life for a life of living in the wilderness, and John's boldness to preach the truth no matter the cost, Herod had genuine respect for John. However great Herod's respect, his rash oath to his adopted daughter and his fear of being known as one who broke his oath, was stronger than his respect and his desire to do what was right, as Mark 6:22-28 shows.
As strange as it sounds, some people's desire not to break their word, and their desire to appear righteous is greater than their desire to actually be righteous.
 

Q: In Mt 14:6-10, Mk 6:21, and Gen 40:20-22, since Herod had John the Baptist killed on Herod's birthday, and Pharaoh had the chief baker killed on Pharaoh's birthday, do these verses imply we should not celebrate birthdays, as Jehovah's Witnesses say in Reasoning from Scriptures p.68-69 (1989)?
A: No. It was Herod and Pharaoh who were evil, not the birthday. The occasion itself was neither good nor bad. The fact that both of these things happened indoors does not imply we should never be inside, either. See When Cultists Ask p.20 and p.110 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 6:28 and Lk 14:8 (KJV), what is a "charger"?
A: A charger is a type of platter on which to serve food or drink.
 

Q: In Mk 6:38 and Mk 8:5, why before each of the two feedings did Jesus ask how much food was available?
A: In retrospect, how much food Jesus started with did not seem relevant. Jesus could have fed all of them from one crumb, if He had desired. Rather Jesus wanted them to see that the food was not enough to feed everyone, there was more food at the end than the beginning, and the use of the significant numbers 12 and 7 simply show that the amounts involved were not just random chance.
 

Q: In Mk 7:2-5, what would be considered wrong with eating with unwashed hands?
A: The Pharisees extended the Old Testament concept of clean and unclean to many areas. That was fine, but when they equated their opinions with God's word, that is when the clash with Jesus occurred. 1 Corinthians 4:6 and Proverbs 30:5-6 show that it is wrong to go beyond God's word.
 

Q: In Mk 7:7-8, how do you know if a rule is from God or from man?
A: If you do not read God's Scripture for yourself, it can be very difficult to know.
A Catholic named Paul, who was a genuine Christian, was in a small group Bible study I led one year. I thought it curious He would often bring up very basic things and ask me if they were from the Bible. (Most of the time they were.) Later, he told me why he was asking all those questions. He said that he had learned those things growing up in a Catholic school, and they did not differentiate between what the Catholic Church taught, and what God taught in the Bible.
When a Christian teacher, from any group, fails to differentiate between God's word and their teaching that is beyond God's word, they elevate the importance of their teaching at the expense of their disciples wondering which things God really said. Both 1 Corinthians 4:6 and Proverbs 30:5-6 caution all Christians not to add to God's word. Perhaps this is part of the reason for greater strictness in judgment that teachers have, according to James 3:1-2.
 

Q: In Mk 7:7-8, are we not supposed to follow any rules from men?
A: Certainly not, as Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13-18 shows, we are to obey human authorities. Rather Mark 7:10-14 shows that Jesus was firmly opposed to disobeying God's laws in order to keep man's laws.
 

Q: In Mk 7:15, when Jesus said that nothing entering a man can defile him, was Jesus speaking something that was valid in Old Testament times, or a new teaching?
A: See the discussion on Matthew 15:10-21 for the answer.
 

Q: In Mk 7:18, why was Jesus surprised at their lack of understanding?
A: These were not the crowds, but Jesus' own disciples who did not understand. Jesus had thought they would figure out by now that in the New Kingdom it was not the external food that counted, but what was inside a person.
 

Q: In Mk 7:18, since the disciples did not have the Holy Spirit until Pentecost, could they be expected to understand anything Jesus said?
A: Sometimes people misunderstand what the Holy Spirit does and does not do. They Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, and enlightens us to truth, but people can still see some truth apart from the Holy Spirit.
 

Q: In Mk 7:26, why is the woman called a Syrian-Phoenician?
A: Administratively, Phoenicia was part of the Roman province of Syria as The NIV Study Bible p.1507 says. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8 p.682 also adds that perhaps Mark used this term to distinguish from the Libyo-Phoenicians who were from North Africa.
 

Q: In Mk 8:10, where is Dalmanutha?
A: This would be southeast of the Sea of Galilee. The NIV Study Bible p.1508 mentions that a cave was found south of the Plain of Gennesaret with the name "Talmanutha".
 

Q: In Mk 8:11-12, why didn't Jesus obey the Pharisees or at least humor them, by providing a sign from Heaven on demand?
A: This was shortly after Jesus had fed the 4,000. What would another miracle here prove to the Pharisees? They had not wanted to go out to hear Jesus, but would have heard of this miracle. The NIV Study Bible p.1509 makes the interesting distinction that their request did not come from belief, but rather it was initiated from unbelief.
 

Q: In Mk 8:23-25, why did Jesus appear to need three tries to heal the blind man?
A: Scripture does not say. Perhaps the man had more than one problem. Regardless, God is as persistent as needed in providing healing to us. See also the next question for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 8:24, why did the healed blind man initially see people as trees walking?
A: Perhaps the man's optic nerves did not receive the light clearly. There could have been multiple reasons for the blindness, between the pupil, iris, cornea, and optic nerve.
Alternately, the man might have had perfect sight initially, but the man's brain was not trained to process the patterns. People's brains actually receive an upside-down image of the world. Our brains train themselves to flip the image. In a Moody Science film, a man was given a special pair of goggles that flipped the image upside-down. After wearing them for long enough, the man's brain adjusted perfectly, and he had no problem walking or coping - at least until the goggles were removed, when the man's brain had to retrain itself again.
See http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/4146.asp for some interesting modern-day examples of people being able to physically see but still not able to initially recognize things.
 

Q: In Mk 8:38 the skeptic Bart Ehrman makes the point that Jesus does not explicitly identify Himself as the Son of Man (Jesus, Interrupted p.159).
A: Jesus did not have to here. He identified Himself as the Son of Man in Mark 2:5-12. Jesus said in Mark 2:8a-12, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up, take your stretcher, and walk'? But so that you many know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,' - he said to the paralytic - 'I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.' And immediately the man stood up, took his stretcher, and went out in front of them all. They were all amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this!'". (NET Bible)
 

Q: In Mk 8:38, what does it mean that Jesus will be ashamed of those who were ashamed of Jesus in this life?
A: Interpreters have two views here.
1. The elect believers who are ashamed of Jesus will suffer reproach when they get to Heaven. This is the view of the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1341. Some Christians truly believe, but they have bought too much into the world to stand up for Jesus, or to share the Gospel.
2. So-called Christians who are ashamed of Jesus will find that they will not go to Heaven at all. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.141-142 and The NIV Study Bible p.1510 hold this view. 2 Timothy 2:12 also says that if we deny Christ Jesus, He will deny us. Some people refuse to accept Jesus for various emotional reasons. Judas apparently was disappointed that Jesus was not going to take any military action at this time. Some claim that people are so good they do not need saving, or that it is "too primitive" to say that we need a sacrifice for us. Others do not want someone to look down from Heaven to judge what they do.
Of course both are likely true, because Jesus did not specify that "degree of shame" in this verse. It is a serious thing to believe in Jesus, deny him, and repent (as Peter did), but an even more serious thing to never have yielded your life over to Him in the first place.
 

Q: In Mk 9:18 (KJV), what does "pineth away" mean?
A: This King James Version expression means to waste away. This same Greek word can mean "waste away" as in Green's literal translation and Williams Translation, or "become(s) rigid / stiffens out" as the NIV, NKJV, NET Bible, NRSV, and uNASB say.
Wuest's Expanded Translation tries to capture the broad general meaning by translating it "falls into a motionless stupor".
 

Q: In Mk 9:24, why did the father say an oxymoron?
A: An oxymoron is a figure of speech of using contradictory statements or imagery to express something. The father had conflicting feelings inside him. He said, "I believe" because he truly believed, but he also said "help my unbelief" because he knew that he had genuine doubts too.
We too should be honest about our feelings before God. God is big enough to handle our doubts, and when we bring our feelings out in the light by confessing them to Him, God can more easily take care of what we admit to Him.
 

Q: In Mk 9:25, most of the time Jesus just told an evil spirit to come out, but this time why did Jesus say both not to come out and do not enter in again?
A: In Luke 11:24-26 Jesus said that when an evil spirit comes out of a person it can try to return with seven others. Thus, it is important when a demon-possessed person is free from bondage, they turn to Christ so that the demons do not return in greater force.
 

Q: In Mk 9:34, should the disciples have told Jesus why they were arguing, or should they have kept silent, like they did?
A: They probably kept silent out of embarrassment or shame. God knows what we think and say, whether we confess it or not, but it is better to tell Him what is on our heart, even if it is rotten or proud. That way God can clean it up all that much more quickly if you are willing to acknowledge it.
 

Q: In Mk 9:38-40, why did John and the other disciples forbid someone to cast out devils?
A: Since the man was not a part of their organization, the disciples assumed God could not use the man. Today sometimes believers make the same mistake, thinking that other genuine Christians who are not a part of their church, are not used by God or only used in a lesser way.
 

Q: In Mk 9:38-40 and other passages, how "real" is the devil and his influence? Does he put thoughts into your head?
A: The devil and his demons are real being with thoughts and feelings. They can suggest thoughts, but they cannot "possess" believers. Though they can suggest thoughts, we have the power to say no and move on. Though they are powerful, and their power should not be taken lightly, our protection under Christ's blood is more powerful still. For example, I have heard of a witchdoctor who cursed a Christian, and the curse bounced back to the witchdoctor. In an unrelated example, I have heard of another witchdoctor who pronounced that a Christian missionary would be dead within 30 days. On the 30th day, the witch doctor died.
As children of Christ, we have no reason to bargain with the devil, taunt the devil, or even want to try to communicate with the devil or demons at all.
 

Q: In Mk 9:48, why would worms not die in Hell?
A: Jesus' metaphor is not referring to little animals, but rather the decay and destruction of Hell. When Critics Ask p.372 gives a different answer. Since it says "their worm" and not "the worm", it is a metaphor of the physical body of someone who goes to Hell.
 

Q: In Mk 9:49, what does "salted with fire" mean?
A: There are three main interpretations of who this verse is referring
Believers, who undergo suffering and purification
The lost, who go to Hell
Everyone who is tested and judged. This view can encompass the other two views.
In conclusion, verses 43-48 speak of Hell, and verse 50 refers to believers. Verse 49 is a transition, and everyone refers to both the lost mentioned immediately before this, and the believers mentioned immediately after this.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.147-148 and The NIV Study Bible p.1513 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 9:49-50, how does "being salted with fire" relate to "losing its saltiness"?
A: Hard Sayings of the Bible p.430-431 says that the Pharisees at that time had a teaching that Israel was salt among the nations to purify them. Salt was an important preservative. The phrase "salted with fire" means to preserve food by fire, such as drying out fruits. If even fire can have a preservative effect, salt can lose most of its preservative effect if the salt is leached out with water, of if the salt is diluted with other things.
 

Q: In Mk 10:2 (KJV), how were the Pharisees tempting Jesus?
A: This can be translated "testing Jesus". The Pharisees tested Jesus by asking Him tricky questions, hoping He would give an answer that would get Him in trouble.
 

Q: In Mk 10:13, why were the disciples rebuking people for bringing their little children to Jesus?
A: The disciples were wrong to do so. Perhaps they wrongly reasoned that since the children could not intellectually understand Jesus' teaching as adults could, they should not waste Jesus' time.
 

Q: In Mk 10:13-15, why did Jesus want the children to come to Him?
A: The only reason Jesus stated was "to such belong the kingdom of God". Jesus was using the children as an object lesson, that we all have to have the humility and teachability of kids to come to God. We cannot come to God in pride, but we must admit that we are not sufficient in ourselves. We must be willing to admit that God knows more than us, and that we need Him and are willing to grow.
In addition, undoubtedly Jesus liked kids, and saw that the value of the soul of a child was the same value as an adult.
 

Q: In Mk 10:18 and Lk 18:19, was Jesus not "good" since He questioned the man calling Him good?
A: Jesus is good in every sense of the word. Jesus questions someone calling Him good, when the man did not yet recognize that Jesus was the Messiah, and seemed to throw around the term "good" too easily.
Similarly in John 8:7, when Jesus told the accusers of the sinful woman "Let him who is without sin throw the first stone", Jesus did not throw any stones himself, but they does not prove Jesus had sin. Jesus was without sin according to Hebrews 4:15.
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.107 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.435-436 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 10:18 and Lk 18:19 Jesus asks "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Since Jesus was not denying His own goodness or his deity, what was He saying?
A: Jesus is asking a brief question that, on the surface, sounds very simple: why are you calling Him good? Three simple points, and then some discussion.
a) Jesus did not affirm or deny that He was good here. (Other places tell us He was though.)
b) Jesus only asked a question. He did not affirm or deny that He was God here. (Other places tell us He was though.)
c) Jesus seemed acutely interested in what this guy was willing to affirm and what he believed.
Now for this discussion, and then we will see what you affirm and are willing to believe.
Nobody else in the gospels, whether a believer or not, was every recorded calling Jesus "good teacher". Was the questioner merely to be gracious and flattering, or, Jesus asked, was He affirming more than that?
What is a "good person", in the eyes of a Holy God? Is a sinful tax collector, who has cheated many all his life, but cries out to for God to have mercy on him good? No, he is repentant of his evil, but he was still evil. On the other hand, are we any better than that tax collector? No. By God's standards, calling any mere man on earth "good" is a false conceit.
For that matter what is good? Is something good when people vote on it, when society accepts it, or when a person thinks in his own mind it is good, though other people's minds think different? No, we have no standard of God, except God and what He pronounces as good. No one is ultimately good, except for God.
Given all of this, do you affirm that Jesus was good?
 

Q: In Mk 10:18 and Lk 18:19, was Jesus God, since none was good except God alone?
A: Jesus did not say to the man here whether He was God or was not God here. Rather, He was saying that the man was throwing around the word "good" rather lightly. God is the source of goodness, the definition of goodness, and all of the lesser things we call good, are simply shadows of the goodness of God.
You know, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and even the Roman idolaters who were killing Christians were all trying to be good, at least as they thought good was. It may be a shock to many Westerners, but all religions do not share this view, that you should try to do good. Within Hinduism, many trying to seek enlightenment, true understanding, by experiencing both good and evil. That is why if a Hindu religious man embezzles or steals, some may be shocked at his alleged hypocrisy, but it may not be hypocrisy at all. For him, it may be that there is no conflict in trying to attain enlightenment, cosmic consciousness, or whatever, and by wanting to experience evil. Not all Hindus would agree, though; some would emphasize "karma" more.
 

Q: In Mk 10:18 and Lk 18:19 how did earlier people apply these verses?
A: These are a pair of "multi-talented" verses that have a number of good applications.
Example to us
Clement of Alexandria
(193-217/220 A.D.) in Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved? ch.4 p.592 uses this passage to show that we are to be good and give to the poor rather than trusting in riches.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) said that God is good, and has pity, and likewise it is becoming for us to be good, pity others, and be peacemakers. (On Modesty ch.2 p.75)
Against Gnosticism
Irenaeus
(182-188 A.D.) says that since Jesus addressed the Father as good, He is truly good. (Irenaeus Against Heresies book 1 ch.20 p.345)
Hippolytus, pupil of Irenaeus (225-235/6 A.D.) likewise in the Refutation of All Heresies book 5 ch.2 p.50 and book 7 ch.20 p.113 uses this to prove Marcion and Gnosticism wrong. If the Father who created things is good, then all of Gnosticism and Marcion's heresy fall.
The Ebionites acknowledge Jesus as the Son of the Father, but they would only say Jesus was God in a manner of speaking. Since they also insisted on following Old Testament practices, you can imagine they were highly against the Gnostics who said the Old Testament God was evil or misguided. In Clementine Homily 3 (uncertain date) ch.57 p.248-249 they also used this verse against those who would call the Old Testament God evil. But in the Clementine literature and all Ebionite writings we have preserved, they never used this verse to deny saying that Jesus was god.
Against Idolatry
Origen
(225-254 A.D.) says that if Christ deferred to God the Father, how much more would the sun refuse to have anyone bow down and worship it. Origen then adds that we should pray to the Word of God, and still more to His Father. (Against Celsus book 5 ch.15 p.548)
The Divinity of Christ
Novatian
(250/254-256/7 A.D.) "Moreover, the Lord Himself: 'Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? God alone is good.' ... "but in the same Scriptures Christ is also asserted to be good. There is not, then, if they rightly conclude, one good, but even two good. How, then, according to the scriptural faith, is there said to be only one good? But if they do not think that it can by any means interfere with the truth that there is one Lord, that Christ also is Lord, nor with the truth that one is our. Master, that Paul also is our master, or with the truth that one is good, that Christ also is called good; on the same reasoning, let them understand that, from the fact that God is one, no obstruction arises to the truth that Christ also is declared to be God." (Concerning the Trinity ch.30 p.642-643)
Against Arianism
Hilary of Poitiers
(355-367/368 A.D.) wrote that when the Arians point to Isaiah 65:16; Mark 10:18; 1 Timothy 6:15, that would leave no truth, goodness, or power to the Son.
Gregory of Nyssa (382-383 A.D.) wrote, "It is easy, however, to show that not even the word 'one' separates the Father from the Son. ... For He says, 'I and the Father are one.' [John 10:30] If, then, the good is one, and a particular kind of unity is contemplated in the Father and the Son, it follows that the Word, in predicating goodness of 'one,' claimed under the term 'one' the title of 'good' also for Himself, Who is one with the Father, and not severed from oneness of nature." Against Eunomius book 11 ch.2 p.232-233 in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.5.
 

Q: In Mk 10:19, why did Jesus only mention six of the Ten Commandments?
A: Jesus was not being exhaustive here, but just giving examples. Jesus' lack of verbosity here is not an excuse to deny what both Jesus and His apostles taught in other places.
 

Q: In Mk 10:21-22 and Lk 18;20-23, why did Jesus tell the man to sell all his possessions?
A: Apparently the man loved his wealth as much as he loved God, and Jesus told the man he had to do something about that.
 

Q: Does Mk 10:21-22, teach everyone to sell all their possessions, too?
A: No, because Jesus did not tell anyone else we know of to sell their possessions. Even Paul had personal possessions, such as his cloak in 2 Timothy 4:13. In Acts 5:4, when Ananias was disciplined, it specifically says he was not disciplined for keeping some of his own money, but rather for lying to God and claiming he did not keep any of the money. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.151 says essentially the same thing.
However, this verse is still a challenge for us today. When the choice came down to Christ or riches, this otherwise good-appearing man was unwilling to chose Christ over riches. If and when someone is that way today, then that person has been cursed with too much money. Read Proverbs 30:7-9 and see Hard Sayings of the Bible p.436-437 for more info.
When you decide how much to give to God's work, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1347 in discussing Mark 10 has provided a list of things you might want to think about.
1. Thousands of people die daily of starvation
2. A great many people have never heard the good news.
3. Our money can be used to help these needs.
4. Christ teaches use that we should become poor that others might be made rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
5. Since our life on earth is so short, when Jesus comes it will be too late.
 

Q: In Mk 10:21, should it say "take up the cross" or not?
A: "Take up the cross" is in the KJV, NKJV, and Jay P. Green's Literal Translation. It is in The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, but omitting it is mentioned as a manuscript variation. It is not in the NASB, NIV, NET Bible, NRSV, uNASB, William's Translation, and Wuest's Expanded Translation. Many Bible scholars do not accept this phrase in this verse, and Aland et al. (3rd edition) do not show it as a manuscript variation.
Regardless though, in Matthew the phrase is undoubtedly present.
Tertullian (197-217 A.D.) "If you wish to be the Lord's disciple, it is necessary you 'take your cross, and follow the Lord." your cross, that is, your own straits and tortures, or your body only, which is after the manner of a cross." Tertullian On Idolatry ch.12 p.68
Tertullian (197-217 A.D.) "you must take up the cross and bear it after your Master, as He has himself instructed you." A Treatise on the Soul ch.55 p.231
 

Q: In Mk 10:23-24, is it impossible for prosperous people to go to Jesus?
A: There is only one answer, but it has two parts.
No. People who have wealth can always come to God. Abraham was very wealthy, both by ancient standards and modern. However, wealthy people need to be willing at any time to give up for God whatever is most precious to them -like Abraham did with his son Isaac.
Yes: If your possessions or wealth possess you, and you love money more than God, you have to choose one or the other, and your eternal destiny depends on your choice.
 

Q: In Mk 10:29, is everyone who left all to follow Jesus guaranteed these blessings, or do they profit nothing if they do these but do not have love, as 1 Cor 13:2 says?
A: Jesus gives the promise here, but conditions are implied. You simply have to follow, and keep following Jesus. You must love God and others to follow Jesus, and you cannot love God if you do not love other people.
 

Q: Can Mk 10:29-30 and Lk 18:29-31 be taken as a promise of financial prosperity in this life?
A: No. This promise was to the early Christians just as much as to us. We cannot expect any more guarantees of financial prosperity than Paul, the other apostles, and the early Christians, who were primarily slaves and the poor. When Cultists Ask p.135-136 adds that this verse is not speaking about riches, but about family and homes.
 

Q: In Mk 10:30, how do we get all these things in this life?
A: Each of us individually does not have 100 homes and 100 fields as our personal possessions. We each do not have 100 biological brothers and sisters and 100 biological mothers as our relatives. Rather, as brothers and sisters in one body - the church - we collectively have all these things to share with each other, as Mark 3:33-35 shows.
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.347-348 and When Cultists Ask p.135 for more extensive answers.
 

Q: In Mk 10:34, was Jesus to rise on the third day or after three days?
A: Manuscripts of Mark differ.
After three days: Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic
On the third day: Alexandrinus, Byzantine Lectionary, Gothic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Origen.
 

Q: In Mk 10:35-37, did James and John come to Jesus asking to sit on His right and left, or did their mother in Mt 20:20?
A: The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.858 asks this. The answer is in Matthew 20:20 itself, where it says their mother came "with her sons". They were together when Jesus was asked.

 

Q: In Mk 10:38, what cup and baptism was Jesus talking about?
A: The cup and baptism were not the Lord's supper and water baptism (Jesus had already been baptized by John). Rather, Jesus was referring to what these things represented. Jesus' blood was about to be shed on the cross, which the cup symbolizes, and Jesus was about to be buried and rise again, which baptism symbolizes.
 

Q: In Mk 10:38-40, since Jesus first told them the price of granting their request, and then [allegedly] denied their request, why did they still have to pay the price?
A: Jesus did not deny their request, but said their request was not His to grant or deny. Then Jesus told them what they would do, but left the granting of this privilege to the Father.
This is an excellent verse to prove a point about the Trinity. While the Father and Son are inseparably one, this verse proves there is a distinction between them, in contrast to Modalism, such as Oneness Pentecostalism and the local church have taught.
 

Q: In Mk 10:45, was Jesus' death on the cross a ransom for every single person, or for some people but not others?
A: Here is what the Bible states about the universal and limited aspects.
Universal aspects:
Commanded for all to obey the Gospel (Acts 17:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:8)
Whosoever believes in Him (John 3:16)
Appeared to all (Titus 2:11)
God desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4)
Ransom for all men (1 Timothy 2:6)
Offered [honestly and sincerely] to all (Acts 2:38-40, Hebrews 4:2)
Atoning sacrifice for the whole world (1 John 2:2)
Jesus will draw all men unto Himself (John 12:32)
Definitive Aspects:
No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws Him (John 6:65)
God can choose to extend mercy to some, such as Jacob, that He does not extend to others, such as Esau, though He still is just to all (Romans 9:14-18).
Gospel of no value to those who do not combine it with faith (Hebrews 4:2).
Pharisees rejected God's purpose for themselves (Luke 7:30).
Some denied the Lord who bought them (2 Peter 2:1). The word for Lord is despotes and is the same in Jude 4, where it refers to Jesus.
God foreknew not just that people would accept, but God foreknew each individual that would accept. God chose (predestined) those who would accept.
If you think about it, all Christians who are non-Calvinists and Calvinists should agree there are both universal and definitive aspects of the ransom. ¾ but this does not gloss over a key difference between Calvinists, Arminians and other non-Calvinists.
The fundamental difference between Calvinism and non-Calvinism (including Wesleyan Arminianism, so-called 4-point Calvinism, and everything in between) is whether the almighty, sovereign, loving, and just God chose for those who go to Hell to be either:
Non-Calvinist: Lost causes, where God freely gave everyone what was needed to go to Heaven, but Jesus' salvation failed to save some. They were lost because of their own fault of their free will.
Calvinist: Desired damnation, for Jesus' salvation was effective for 100% of those intended, and God freely chose not to provide any way of salvation for others. There was never a single thing the reprobate would be able to do, or would want to do, to change God desiring them to have no opportunity to escape in God's secret will.
Non-Calvinist: If salvation is potential for all and ineffective for some, then it would be ineffective because some could reject it or else it was also required to combine it with faith. Non-Calvinists say this is exactly what Luke 7:30 and Hebrews 4:2 are saying. Calvinists would respond that this would make salvation depend in part on man, and make faith almost a work required for salvation. Non-Calvinists would respond that Calvinism confuses the free gift salvation, which is of God, and accepting the free gift of salvation, which is the responsibility of man. Faith is not a work, as Ephesians 2:8-9 shows, and some Calvinists should not follow Catholics in trying to equate works of merit with the "empty virtue" of faith and acknowledging our helplessness to God.
Calvinist: If salvation is only potential for some, and it is effective for all for whom it is potential, then there never was any opportunity for some. The unpleasantness of "lost causes" is taken care of, but at the cost of lost love and inexplicable justice. In 2 Thessalonians 1:8, God would hold people responsible for not obeying a gospel God never gave them to obey. A person in Hell could say, "I came here because I believed that God did not love me enough, Jesus did not die for my sins, God's ultimately willed that I remain an evil sinner, and I am here because I believed the truth. A reprobate person might as well try to find salvation through the latest fashionable cult, because the opportunity to find salvation and God's love through the cult is as great for them as finding it through Christianity.
 

Q: In Mk 10:51, why did Jesus ask the blind man what he wanted Jesus to do for him?
A: Jesus wants us to ask Him, even though He knows what we want. Of course, sometimes what we want and what is best are not always the same. The blind man had to specifically ask for sight, and Jesus granted this request after he asked. Sometimes, God waits to grant our requests today, until we specifically ask Him.
 

Q: In Mk 10:52, why was it the man's faith, and not Jesus' faith, that made the man whole?
A: It is interesting that Jesus specifically said it was the man's faith healed him. While God is not limited to working through our faith, God chooses to often work through our faith, as Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 4:3,16 show.
 

Q: In Mk 10:52, why did Jesus say he was "made whole" instead of merely that he could see?
A: Not only were his eyes and other parts of his body functioning as normal, but the formerly blind was now spiritually whole in Christ.
 

Q: In Mk 11:8-10, why did they put their coats and palm branches down before the donkey?
A: This custom was a sign of great respect and admiration. Perhaps it was similar to the old fashioned European chivalry of a man putting his coat over a mud puddle so a royal lady could step on the coat and walk over the puddle.
 

Q: In Mk 11:13, since it was not yet the time for figs was Jesus in the gospels ignorant of the season, as Ahmad Deedat asserts?
A: No, Deedat totally missed the point here. The fig tree represented Israel, and this was a prophecy that the nation the fig tree represented would be barren of fruit and would wither spiritually.
 

Q: In Mk 11:13,23,30 since someone with faith could move mountains, why couldn't Jesus have a fig tree with fruit?
A: Jesus could have, but chose not to do this. It was not figs and fig trees that Jesus was concerned about; Jesus was teaching the disciples, here. The fig tree was a representation of the nation of Israel, and Jesus cursed the fig tree to show what would happen to them if, like the fig tree, they did not bear fruit of faith when Jesus came to them. See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.346-347 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 11:15-18 and Lk 19:45-46, why didn't the Jewish authorities just arrest Jesus, a stranger with a whip, immediately?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. The crowds had just praised Jesus as the Messiah in the Triumphal Entry in Matthew 21:1-11, also Matthew 21:15-16; Mark 11:1-10, and Luke 12:12-15.
2. Jesus was miraculously healing people, and it is hard to arrest in a crowd of people who are being healed by Him.
3. Prior to that, the crowd had heard that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead according to John 12:9-11, 17-19.
4. Most importantly, because of the preceding reasons, Mark 11:18 says that while the priests and teachers looked for a way to kill Jesus, they feared Him because the whole crowd was amazed at Jesus. The priests did not want a riot, and the Roman retribution it would cause. Luke 19:47-48 says similar, and in Luke 12:19, the Pharisees lamented that they thought the whole world was following Jesus.
 

Q: In Mk 11:16, why wouldn't Jesus let anyone carry any vessels in the temple?
A: Jesus was not interfering with proper sacrifices, but He was interfering with those who carried vessels full of money.
 

Q: In Mk 11:17, how were the people in the temple acting as thieves?
A: -In at least three ways:
Price-gouging: Selling things in the temple for inflated prices.
Institutionalization: Priests would not accept an animal with blemishes, such as a cut that might occur through traveling, so the people had to buy the animals at inflated prices.
Robbing God in offerings: The sellers and worshippers were focused on the financial transactions instead of worshipping God.
 

Q: In Mk 11:23, why did Jesus mention a faith that moves mountains?
A: Jesus was teaching that it only took a little genuine faith, applied to prayer to move mountains. Faith is like a seed; it can grow. Also, Jesus said this near Jerusalem, and in the last days the Mount of Olives, half a mile east of Jerusalem, will be split in two, according to Zechariah 14:4.
 

Q: In Mk 11:23 did Jesus promise to give us absolutely anything we ask for in faith?
A: God gives us any thing we ask, subject to the following qualifications:
A thing: God cannot give a "thing" that is not a thing, such as a logical contradiction, like water that is not wet, a moveable object that is unable to be moved, etc.
In faith: God will not grant us what is asked in doubting as James 1:6-7, or what is asked, not for faith, but to spend on our passions according to James 4:3. We are to ask according to God's will in 1 John 5:14. In faith means includes abiding in God and God abiding in us in John 15:7.
If we forgive: Mark 11:25 adds the qualification Good gifts: Prior to Mark 11:23, Jesus taught that God is a good father, who gives us good things, not bad things, according to Matthew 7:9-11 and Luke 11:11-13. Thus sometimes when an obedient believer asks in faith God says "no" or "wait", such as in Job 1:1; Philippians 2:25; 2 Timothy 4:20; and 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.
See When Cultists Ask p.136-137 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 11:25-26, if a genuine Christian does not forgive, will he or she go to Hell?
A: In a sense this is a moot point, because a genuine Christian will forgive. No true Christian would refuse to ever forgive someone, because that would show that they had never chosen to receive God's forgiveness, and thus they were not true Christians. Needless to say, it is very important to forgive everyone.
 

Q: In Mk 11:29-33, why did Jesus not directly answer the question about what authority He had?
A: Jesus was not under any obligation to answer any questions. While in general Jesus answered most people's questions, He did not directly answer the question of those who were not seeking His answer, except to try to entrap Him. Jesus simply could have said, "I do not need your authority because I have the Father's authority as proven by the many healings I am doing." Actually though, they could figure that out already.
 

Q: In Mk 12:1-9, what is the meaning of this parable?
A: God gave the land, the Promised Land, to the Jews. However, they did not give to God the obedience, undivided worship, tithes, and sacrifices He commanded. He sent them prophets, which they abused and killed. Finally, God sent His son, Jesus, whom they would kill.
 

Q: In Mk 12:6, why would the tenants be expected to respect the landowner's son?
A: They would still respect the son if
1. They had any respect of proper authority, or
2. Obedience to the law, or
3. The intelligence to figure out that hurting the son would bring sure retaliation, or
4. A healthy fear of the master's soldiers.
They would kill the son only if their greed for the vineyard had totally blinded them to reason. It is amazing but true that people can have so much greed, that their decisions make it appear they desire immediate money and pleasure even more than being alive the next day.
Today it is curious to see how some people who might otherwise make the best decision make a foolish one because of greed. Most of the time they are not even aware of how greed skewed their decision-making ability - until much later.
 

Q: In Mk 12:10 and Lk 20:17, what is a cornerstone?
A: It is the first stone upon which the foundation is set.
 

Q: In Mk 12:10-11 and Lk 20:17-18, why did the people/builders reject the cornerstone?
A: Ultimately, a person either wants to be a part of the same building that Christ is building, or they do not. There is no middle ground; you cannot be half a part of the building.
 

Q: In Mk 12:13, who were the Herodians?
A: This term was synonymous with the Sadducees. These people were called "Herodians" because they supported the Herod Dynasty as kings of Judea.
 

Q: In Mk 12:13-17 and Lk 20:21-25, did Jesus not directly answer the question about paying taxes?
A: He did actually. They tried to trick him by asking if they should pay taxes to Caesar or not. If Jesus had said "no" He could be arrested by the Romans for encouraging people to not pay taxes. If Jesus had said "yes", the crowds who resented Roman rule, might not be so friendly toward Him.
Jesus answered the question, by saying we should pay to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. Jesus did not specify which things belonged to Caesar, and they did not ask Him. See Now That's a Good Question p.438-439 for more on paying taxes.
 

Q: In Mk 12:19, Lk 20:27, and Acts 23:8, briefly what do we know about the Sadducees?
A: Josephus says the Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes were the three religious parties of Judah. The Sadducees apparently started under John Hyrcanus I (135-104 B.C.) and died out when the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.
The Sadducees denied spirits, angels, and the resurrection of the body according to Acts 23:8. They denied all the Mishnah, Talmud, and other traditions of the Pharisees. According to Josephus, they saw no need to observe anything that was not written in the Torah, and according to early church writers denied all the Old Testament except the Law (Torah). On the Law itself, the Pharisees wrote examples of how they disagreed on minor matters.
 

Q: In Mk 12:19 and Lk 20:27, what is all the biblical and extra-Biblical evidence we have about the Sadducees?
A: Here is nearly everything we know on the Sadducees.
1. 1 and 2 Maccabees give a detailed history of the external and internal struggles during the time the parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees were founded.
2. Josephus speaks of the Sadducees in four passages. The quotes are taken from Josephus : Complete Works.
Wars of the Jews 2.8.2,14 (2a) "For there are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of whom are the Pharisees; of the second the Sadducees; and the third sect, who pretends to a severer discipline, are called the Essens." (14f) [Essens is the spelling in the book] "But the Sadducees are those that compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say, that to act what is good, or what is evil, is at men's own choice, and that the one or the other belongs to every one, that they may act as they please. They also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades. Moreover, the Pharisees are friendly to one another, and are for the exercise of concord and regard for the public. But the behaviour of the Sadducees one towards another is in some degrees wild; and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them...." (Later in Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.6 Josephus mentions a fourth sect, which is like the Pharisees except they fight for liberty. He is referring to the Zealots.)
Antiquities of the Jews 13.5.9 In contrast to the Sadducees, the Pharisees were prone to not be severe in punishments.
Antiquities of the Jews 13.10.6 This is historically the first mention of the Sadducees, under the rule of John Hyrcanus I as both king and high priest (135-104 B.C.)
Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.4 "But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of anything besides what the law [Torah?] enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent; but this doctrine is received but by few, yet by those still of the greatest dignity; but they are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them." (Josephus wrote Antiquities of the Jews 93-94 A.D.)
3. The Mishnah contrasts Sadducee teachings to those of the Pharisees in at least nine passages. (The earliest Mishnah's were written about 200 A.D.) According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1500-1502, here are some of the teachings given. However, it cautions us that these are from the perspective of the Pharisees, and we have no writings by the Sadducees themselves. Thus, the differences are from the perspective of what was important to the Pharisees, minor details about the law, and not necessarily what was most important to the Sadducees.
Baba Batra 115b - When a man died with no living sons, the Pharisees said that only a granddaughter and not a daughter could inherit, while the Sadducees said that both daughters and granddaughters could inherit if there were no sons.
Baba Kamma 84a - In applying "eye or an eye", the Pharisees often would accept monetary compensation instead, while the Sadducees would not.
Megillah Ta'anit 1 - While the Pharisees wanted offering paid by the treasury, the opponents of the Pharisees wanted the cost paid by freewill offerings.
Megillah Ta'anit 4 - Same as Baba Kamma 84a.
Makkot 1:5-8 - The Pharisees wanted all false witnesses put to death, while the Sadducees would only put a false witness to death if their testimony had already caused the execution of the falsely accused.
Tosefta Parah chapter 3 and Parah - The Sadducees did not have all the washings of the Pharisees, but the Sadducees were more strict in the purity of the red heifer.
Tosefta Sanhedrin 6:6 - The Pharisees wanted all false witnesses put to death, while the Sadducees would only put a false witness to death if their testimony had already caused the execution of the falsely accused.
Yadaim 4:7 - The Sadducees taught that an owner should be responsible for the damage a slave does, just as he is responsible for the damage his animal does. The Pharisees taught that a slave should be equally responsible, so that an unhappy slave would not get his master in trouble.
Yerushalmi Yevamot 1:6 - The Levirate marriage was only for a betrothed wife, not for one actually married.
4. A rabbinic tradition (Abot Rabbi Natan 5) says the Zadok, a disciple of Antigonus of Soko, started the Sadducees. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1500 for more info.
5. The New Testament tells us about the Sadducees in passing.
Matthew 3:7f - John the Baptist saw both Sadducees and Pharisees.
Not Matthew 15:1 - Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus. Since these people were concerned with Jesus' disciples not washing their hands, they likely were no Sadducees among them.
Matthew 16:1-6 - Both the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign from Heaven.
Matthew 16:11-12 - Jesus says to beware the teaching of the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Obviously they taught different things because they were different groups, but Jesus did not elaborate on the beliefs of either group in this verse.
Matthew 22:23-34; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-39, The Sadducees question Jesus about the resurrection. According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1501, the Mishnah in Yerushalmi Yevamot 1:6 shows that since Levirate marriage applies only to the betrothed in the eyes of the Sadducees, the woman would only have been married to the seventh husband.
Acts 4:1-2 - The Pharisees, priests, and Sadducees were united in opposing the apostles.
Acts 5:17-18 - This records that the high priest at this time was a Sadducee. (Josephus also says that the High Priest Ananias the Younger was a Sadducee.)
Acts 23:6-8 - The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, or angels or spirits.
6. Early Church writings
Justin Martyr
(135-165 A.D.) "For I choose to follow not men or men's doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians, even as one, if he would rightly consider it, would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genistae, Meristae, Galilaeans, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews (do not hear me impatiently when I tell you what I think), but are [only] called Jews and children of Abraham, worshipping God with the lips, as God Himself declared, but the heart was far from Him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare." Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew ch.80 p.239
Tatian's Diatessaron (died 172 A.D.) section 34 p.96 mentions the resurrection of all when Jesus rebukes the Sadducees.
Hegesippus (170-180 A.D.) mentions seven false-Christians groups among the people: from Simon, Cleobius, Doritheus, Gorthaeus, Masbothaeus, Menander, Marcion, Carpocrates, Valentinians, Basilideans, and Saturnilians. (vol.8 p.764). He mentions he Jewish sects of the Essenes, the Galileans, Hemerobaptists, the Masbothaei, Samaritans, Sadducees, and the Pharisees in Concerning His Journey to Rome, and the Jewish Sects vol.8 p.765.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) "For our Lord and Master, in the answer which He gave to the Sadducees, who say that thee is no resurrection, and who do dishonor God, and lower the credit of the law," Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.5.2 p.466-467
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in On the Resurrection of the Flesh chapter 2, compares Christian heretics who deny the physical resurrection with the Sadducees with which Jesus had to contend.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) "The Sadducees, who said there was no resurrection, in a discussion on that subject, had proposed to the Lord a case of law touching a certain woman, who, in accordance with the legal prescription, had been married to seven brothers who had died one after the other." Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.38 p.413. Tertullian wrote elsewhere on the Sadducees too.
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) in The Refutation of All Heresies book 9 chapter 22 p.136-137 has a whole chapter on the Sadducees. As Josephus says, they say that God does not affect earthly concerns. They deny the resurrection of the flesh, and say the soul does not continue to exist after death. He also gives other details that are found in Josephus. In addition to Josephus, Hippolytus also says that they are especially strong in Samaria. "They do not, however, devote attention to prophets, but neither do they to any other sages, except to the law of Moses only, in regard of which, however, they frame no interpretations."
Origen (225-254 A.D.) "The Jews had different opinions, some false, such as the Sadducees held about the resurrection of the dead, that they do not rise, and in regard to angels that they do not exist, but that those things which were written about them were only to be interpreted figuratively, but had no reality in point of fact;" Commentary on Matthew chapter 20 p.427. Origen also says the Samaritans and Sadducees receive the books of Moses alone in Origen Against Celsus book 1. Origen wrote elsewhere on the Sadducees too.
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) "Wherefore observe that these are the very things which the Lord wished to teach to the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the flesh. For this was the opinion of the Sadducees. Whence it was that, having contrived the parable about the woman and the seven brethren, that they might cast doubt upon the resurrection of the flesh," Discourse on the Resurrection ch.12 p.367. Methodius wrote elsewhere on the Sadducees too.
Arnobius (297-303 A.D.) "And let no one here bring up against us Jewish fables and those of the sect of the Sadducees, as though we, too, attribute to the Deity forms; for this is supposed to be taught in their writings, and asserted as if with assurance and authority." Arnobius Against the Heathen book 3 ch.12 p.467
After Nicea
Athanasius
(326-373 A.D.) "And what is the Law to the Sadducees if they receive not the prophets?" To the Bishops of Egypt ch.4 p.224
Epiphanius of Salamis (390 A.D.) in Heresies 1,14 claims the term "Sadducees" came from the Hebrew word sadiq, meaning "righteous". However, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1500 says there is a problem explaining how the vowel would changes from i (carot) in sadiq to u (carot) in seduqim.
Jerome, also apparently said the Sadducees only observed the Torah, according to The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.884-885.
Spurious and Heretical Works
The Ebionite Recognitions of Clement (c.211-250 A.D.) book 2 ch.54 p.91 (Implied) is against the Sadducees because they denied the resurrection of the dead.
Pseudo-Hippolytus "And therefore have they [the Jews] no longer king or high priest or prophet, nor even scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees among them. He does not, however, say that they are to be cut off;" On Psalm 59 p.202
See the next question for more discussion on this.
 

Q: In Mk 12:19 and Lk 20:27, did the Sadducees totally reject all the Old Testament except the Torah, accept the rest of the Old Testament but on lesser authority, or accept everything as the Pharisees did?
A: Here is the evidence. The early church writers Hippolytus, Tertullian, Origen, and Jerome said the Sadducees only believed in the Torah. However, The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.884-885 says they were in error, because
1) Josephus does not mention this
2) In the Talmud Sadducees use arguments from other books of the Old Testament,
3) They probably would not have been allowed on the Sanhedrin if they had not regarded the other books as canonical.
However against this view are three points:
1r) Josephus wrote of the Sadducees, "...nor do they regard the observation of anything besides what the law enjoins..." in Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.4. (about 93-94 A.D.)
2r) Furthermore, even if the Sadducees did not totally reject the rest of the Old Testament, they might have only accepted the rest of the Old Testament books as less authoritative. This is similar to the view of some Christians as the apocrypha being godly writings that belong in Scripture, but having lesser authority than the rest of the Old Testament. Perhaps the Sadducees left open the question of just how authoritative the non-Torah books were.
3r) According to Josephus, Ananias (the younger) was a Sadducee who was appointed high priest by the Romans. It would detract from the Sanhedrin's authority if they excluded the high priest. Also, Josephus writes in Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.4, that when the Sadducees became magistrates, they adhered to what the Pharisees said, because otherwise the multitudes could not endure them. It is analogous to today, when many liberal "Christian" pastors, who themselves deny that Jesus died to pay for our sins, still celebrate the Lord's Supper every month, repeating the words "This is my blood shed for the forgiveness of sins", though he said he personally did not believe that, because otherwise the church members would not accept them as pastors.
Where did the early church writers get their information? Since the Sadducees died out around 70 A.D., they did not get it from the Sadducees themselves. Perhaps they got the information from many early writings we do not have today. For example, Papias, a disciple of John the Apostle and the first extra-Biblical premillennialist, wrote a number of volumes which have been lost.
Therefore, while there is nothing to prove the early church writers wrong, there are arguments on both sides as to whether the Sadducees outright reject the rest of the Old Testament, or else just held these books as of lesser authority.
 

Q: In Mk 12:24, why did Jesus tell the Sadducees they did not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?
A: Jesus was correct in both a general sense and a specific sense He could demonstrate to them.
General: The Sadducees did not believe in afterlife or resurrection. According to early church writers, the Sadducees did not accept the Old Testament as Scripture except the first five books of the Law. See the previous question for more info.
Specific: As Jesus showed, even what they did accept as Scripture (the Torah) they did not really believe, about God still being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
 

Q: In Mk 12:24, what does it mean to not be far from the kingdom of God?
A: It does not mean one can be fractionally saved, and it did not guarantee the man would be saved. Jesus meant that the man was very close to coming to believe in Jesus.
 

Q: In Mk 12:30, when Jesus referred to Dt 6:4, in loving God, why did Jesus add a fourth aspect of "mind"?
A: Two complementary answers.
1. While the Hebrew term "soul" implied all of a person's life, mind included, Jesus, who was speaking Aramaic and/or Greek here, mentioned mind explicitly to capture the complete meaning of soul.
2. Also, with Jesus' coming, believers had such a more complete understanding of God than they had in the Old Testament, as Matthew 13:10-16; Mark 4:11; and Luke 8:20 show. For more on the revealed mystery of Christ, see Ephesians 3:4-6,9; 6:19; Colossians 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3; Romans 16:25-26; 1 Peter 1:10-12. See also the discussion on Deuteronomy 6:4.
 

Q: In Mk 12:30 should we try to bypass reason in order to be spiritual, as some Word-Faith teachers imply?
A: Not at all. Faith goes beyond reason but not against it. Mark 12:30 says we are to love God with all of our mind too. The issue here is that if God's Word says one thing, and with our minds we reason something else, do we believe God's word first or our own reason first? Logical reason is not out master, nor is it to be thrown away as worthless, but it is a gift to be used as tools for serving God in love. Furthermore, God does not merely use our natural reason, but He can transform it by the renewing of our minds in 1 Corinthians 2:12. But this transformation is not necessarily automatic. Romans 12:2 commands us to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind". So we have a responsibility for something we cannot do. We get done what we cannot ourselves do by asking God to work through us, i.e. you have to pray to God to do the transforming. Will you thank Him for the sanctifying work He has already done, and ask Him to make you more malleable for His transforming your mind, heart, soul, and strength?
See When Cultists Ask p.137-138 for a complementary answer.
 

Q: In Mk 12:42-44, since the scribes devoured widows' houses, why didn't Jesus stop the widow from putting in her two cents?
A: The widow was commended for her generosity and faith in giving. The temple scribes were rebuked not only for not giving to the poor, but even forcibly taking from the poor.
 

Q: In Mk 13:34-37, why was Jesus so insistent that they keep watch?
A: While some people missed the first coming, the context here is a speech to only the disciples about the Second Coming. They were not to begin watching at a particular time, because Jesus had just said no one would know the hour. Rather, they were always to keep watch. Keeping watch here means to keep their lives holy, and stay close to God. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.269 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 14:4-8, why did Jesus prefer the expensive ointment be poured on Him rather than be given to the poor?
A: Jesus taught in Mark 12:29-31 that loving the Lord Your God is the greatest commandment, and loving your neighbor as yourself is the second highest commandment, not the other way around. Christians could help for poor all the time, but they could only minister to Jesus in this way while Jesus was on earth.
 

Q: In Mk 14:21, why would it have been better for Judas if Judas had never been born?
A: It would have been better for Judas to have never existed than to do what he did and receive the just punishment for that. When Cultists Ask p.139-140 says that some cultists use this verse to try to say that Hell is compared to pre-birth, then Hell is non-existence. However, since Jesus said Judas' punishment was worse than never being born, then Hell is not annihilation.
 

Q: Does Mk 14:24 show that Christ died for all people?
A: Yes. Even John Calvin says that "many" means "the whole human race". Here is what John Calvin said in Calvin's Commentaries vol.3 p.138-139 "Mark 14:24. This is my blood. I have already warned, when the blood is said to be poured out (as in Matthew) for the remission of sins, how in these words we are directed to the sacrifice of Christ's death, and to neglect this thought makes any due celebration of the Supper impossible. In no other way can faithful souls be satisfied, if they cannot believe that God is pleased in their regard. The word "many" does not mean a part of the world, only, but the whole human race: he contrasts many with one, as if to says that he would not be the Redeemer of one man, but would meet death to deliver many of their cursed guilt." (Italics in the original English translation.) Note that Calvin says, "many does not mean a part of the world, only, but the whole human race:"
 

Q: In Mk 14:27 (KJV), how would the disciples be offended at Jesus because Jesus did not defend Himself?
A: Their faith would be crushed when Jesus, with all His power, voluntarily submitted to capture, mistreatment, and death. A powerful Messiah would be expected to defend Himself and defeat the Romans, not to surrender to them.
 

Q: In Mk 14:42-52, does this depict a Jesus who was at their mercy in contrast to the other Gospels depicting Jesus as in charge, as some liberals say?
A: That is an over-simplification. Since early times, Christians have recognized that Matthew stressed Jesus as the Promised King, who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Mark emphasized Jesus as the suffering servant and Jesus' actions. Luke emphasized Jesus as a man, and Luke wrote most on Jesus' childhood. John emphasized Jesus as God, and was probably written assuming the read had read the other gospels.
 

Q: In Mk 14:51-52, who was that "un-masked man", who fled away without his clothes?
A: While Scripture does not say, tradition says it was John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.905 also says the same, adding the speculation that "that the evangelist could not resist mentioning his presence at a key point in the story of Jesus."
 

Q: In Mk 14:53-55, how did the Sanhedrin violate Jewish law here?
A: They violated their own legal system at least five times.
1) They were not to have court cases at night
2) It was the judge's responsibility to stand on the side of the accused.
3) They did not have two corroborating witnesses against Jesus.
4) In Jewish law you could not be convicted on your own testimony.
5) They were supposed to wait 24 hours before pronouncing someone guilty.
(from a sermon by Tim Hawks at Hill Country Bible Church in Cedar Park, Texas 10/24/1997)
 

Q: In Mk 14:62, did Jesus actually say He was the Messiah here?
A: Yes. Imagine how the stubborn priests felt when Jesus quoted Daniel 7:13-14 about Himself, coming on the clouds of Heaven. Their reaction, abusing Him and calling for His death in Mark 14:63-65 was the final straw in the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish religious establishment. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.450-451 for a more extensive answer.
 

Q: In Mk 14:62, since Jesus would be sitting at the right hand of God the Father, how could He be coming, which implies movement?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
All the time, "sitting at the right hand" is not just a physical location, but a position of honor.
At different times, Jesus can sit, stand, and move.
Of course, one can both sit and be coming if one is riding a white horse, as Jesus will be in Revelation 19:11.
See Jesus Under Fire : Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus p.110 for more info.
 

Q: In Mark 14:62 Jesus told the high priest he would see the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. But if the high priest died before Jesus returned, that would invalidate Jesus answer. So in Luke Jesus says "I am, and from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God" (Luke 22:69) Jesus, Interrupted p.51
A: First what's not the answer, and then the answer.
Not the answer: For some reason Ehrman did not want to bring up Matthew 26:64, where it says you (plural), so not just the high priest. However, it is a moot point, as all the Sanhedrin died before Jesus' return.
The answer: Ehrman brings up two objections in one. The first objection is that the high priest (and actually all of the Sanhedrin) died before Jesus returned. The answer to that is that all the Sanhedrin, including the high priest, will see Jesus come. Revelation 1:7 promises that every eye will see Jesus when He returns, even specifically those who pierced him. Those who have died rejecting Jesus won't escape encountering Him again.
The second objection is that Luke, written after Mark appears to change from "you (singular) will see" to simply stating that Jesus would return. The key point of this His argument is weakened by a textual variant. Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) quotes Mark 14:62 with you (plural) in Stromata book 6 ch.52 in the Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 p.574. We know that is it Mark and not another Gospel that Clement is quoting, because he explicitly tells us it is Mark.
 

Q: In Mk 14:65, why did some of the people ask Jesus to prophesy who hit him here?
A: The Roman soldiers had a cruel game they played with prisoners called "three-fists". Three soldiers would each put one of their fists under the prisoner's chin. One of the soldiers would punch the prisoner and knock him out. When the prisoner regained consciousness, they would ask which soldier hit him. If the prisoner guessed wrong, the soldier who hit him won (and the person lost the bet). If the prisoner guessed right, the soldier who hit him would lose the bet. It seems that in all cases, the prisoner was the loser, too.
 

Q: In Mk 15:14, why was Mark apparently so eager to try to place the blame on the Jews, as one liberal claimed?
A: First of all, archaeologists have found the courtyard where they think the crowd was, and it could not have held more than about 400 people. Thus, the crowd here was not all the residents and visitors to Jerusalem, but rather a very small subset the priests selected.
Judas, the Jewish leaders, the Jewish people, the Romans, and even Jesus not running away, all had a role in what was the predetermined will of God (Acts 2:23). Here is a listing of the role of each. As you can see, Mark is no more severe on the Jewish people than the other gospel writers.
Judas: Matthew 26:14-16, 49-50; Mark 14:17-21,42,44-45; Luke 22:3-6,47-48; John 13:18,21,27; 18:2
The Jewish leaders: Matthew 26:57-58; 27:20; Mark 14:43,46,53-65; 15:1,3,10-11,31; Luke 22:2,52; 22:66-23:2; John 18:3,12-14,19-24,30
The Jewish people: Matthew 27:20-23,25; Mark 15:11-15; Luke 23:18,21,23
The Romans: Matthew 27:11-31; Mark 15:15-20; 16:24; Luke 23:24; John 18:33-19:3; 19:16
Jesus not running away: Matthew 26:39-46,53-54; Mark 14:35-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:4-11
 

Q: In Mk 15:17, what was the significance of clothing Jesus in purple?
A: Purple cloth was expensive, being dyed from murex shells. In the Roman Empire, only the Emperor and his family were supposed to wear purple, though the Emperor, as a favor, could give his old clothes to others. The purple robe was mocking the fact that Jesus claimed to be a king.
 

Q: In Mk 15:32, we are told that Jesus was put on a "cross" to be crucified: Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
The word for "cross" here in Greek is stauros, which James Strong defined as:
(4716) from the base of 2476; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specifically) a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial; by implication, the atonement of Christ: --cross.[1]
Yet in I Peter 2:24, we are told that Jesus was crucified on the "tree":
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
The word for "tree" in Greek is xulon, and is defined by Strong as:
(3586) from another form of the base of 3582; timber (as fuel or material); by implication a stick, club or tree or other wooden article or substance: --staff, stocks, tree, wood.[2]
The error here is obvious. The Greek word stauros means definitively a "cross". There is no double meaning employed to the word. Whereas the word xulon can be translated interchangeably as "wood", "staff", "tree", etc. but in the case of I Peter 2:24, it is translated as "tree". Now we need to ask why would the word xulon was used in the first place when there is a more definitive word for it, stauros, if the verse really intends to mean the "cross"?
It is therefore obvious that the word xulon is indeed used for "tree" in I Peter 2:24, and therefore there is a contradiction with Mark 15: 32.
References
[1] James Strong, The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Thomas Nelson, 1996)
[2] James Strong, Op. Cit. (A Muslim asked this)

A: Jesus was put on a wooden cross, which came from a tree. Romans, Carthaginians, and Persians used stakes of wood with cross-pieces, not living trees. Using two words as synonyms for the same thing (such as staurus and xulon) is not a problem, any more than using two words for God in the Qur'an.
Peter says Jesus was hung on a tree (Acts 5:30; 10:39) yet Peter also says that Jesus was nailed to the cross (Acts 2:23).
Paul says Jesus was hung on a tree (Galatians 3:13; Acts 13:29), yet Paul also mentions the cross of Christ in Galatians 5:11; 6:12,14; 1 Corinthians 1:17,18.
"Tree" and "cross" are used as synonyms; the same author uses both terms. Jesus was nailed to a tree; but it did not say a living tree.
Of course, orthodox Islamic teaching also teaches that the "appearance of Jesus" was crucified too. Now there is a key issue about this crucifixion. Either:
a) It really was Jesus who was crucified, or
b) "The great switcheroo" Allah not only deceived the Jews and Romans into thinking Jesus was crucified when He really was not, Allah also deceived even Jesus' own mother, Jesus' disciples and all the early Christians, who preached Christ crucified. We have writings of Ignatius and Polycarp, disciples of the apostle John, and others who believed Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. Even as a Muslim, you cannot blame Christians for believing Jesus was crucified, if you think that Allah deceived his own followers. "Allah is the greatest of deceivers" (Sura 3:54) If this Allah deceived Christians, and you do not have a problem with that, then could this Allah deceive Muslims too?
 

Q: In Mk 15:42 Ehrman says, "Mark tells us what he means by this phrase: it is the Day of Preparation 'for the Sabbath' (not the Day of Preparation for the Passover)." (italics in the original) Jesus, Interrupted p.27
A: There are two likely but different answers.
Sabbath and may have Passover coincided that year: Ehrman does not seem to consider that the Passover and Sabbath coincide in some years. There is some uncertainty about exact dates back then, but many think the Passover and a Saturday Sabbath would coincide in A.D. 30 or A.D. 33.
High Sabbaths: Every Saturday was a Sabbath, but not every Sabbath was a Saturday, as Leviticus 23:39 proves. For example, both the first and eighth day of the seventh month should be a "Sabbath rest". There were "no-work days" every year, but they would not be Saturdays most of the time. The Passover was the first day of the Feast of unleavened bread, and both the first and seventh days of the Feast were "no-work days" according to Exodus 12:16.
John 19:31 would settle which of the two answers was the correct one, except that it could be used to support both answers. It says, "...for that Sabbath was a high day". But since it was a high day, it was not necessary that it be a Saturday.
 

Q: In Mk 15:43 (KJV), why did Joseph of Arimathea "crave" the body of Jesus?
A: This means Joseph desired to take Jesus' body for burial.
 

Q: In Mk 15:44, why did Pilate marvel that Jesus was already dead?
A: Either Pilate just lost track of the time, or many crucified men lasted longer. Jesus had been flogged and beaten before being crucified.
 

Q: In Mk 16, what are parallels with other parts of Gospels and Acts?
A: Here are the parallels between Mark 16 and other books of the Bible
Jesus rose early. Mk 16:2,9 Mt 28:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1
Jesus rose on the first day of the week. Mk 16:2,9; Mt 28:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1
Seven demons were cast out of Mary Magdalene Mk 16:9; Lk 8:2
Mary Magdalene / the women came to the tomb. Mt 28:1-8; Mk 16:9-10; Jn 20:1; Lk 24:1-10
Others did not believe at first. Mt 28:17; Mk 16:11; Lk 24:11
Appeared to two disciples. Mk 16:12; Lk 24:13-35
Still did not believe. Mk 16:13; Lk 24:36
Rebuked the 11 for unbelief. Mk 16:14; Lk 24:38-41
Command to preach to all. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47-48
Believe and is baptized is save, not believe is condemned. Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38-39
Signs. Mk 16:17,22; throughout Acts
Cast out demons. Mk 16:17 and in Acts
Speak with new tongues. Mk 16:17; ~Acts 2:2-13
Bitten by snakes unharmed. Mk 16:17; Lk 10:19; ~Acts 28:3-6
Drink poison unharmed. Mk 16:18 - no others
Jesus ascended to Heaven. Mk 16:19; Lk 24:51; Acts 1:9-11
Jesus sat at the right hand of God Mk 16:19; Acts 7:56
They preached everywhere. Mk 16:20; Acts 1:8
In conclusion, drinking poison unharmed is the one and only teaching of the end of Mark that is not taught somewhere else in the Bible.
 

Q: In Mk 16:1, why did the women bring spices to anoint Jesus' body?
A: Jesus was hurriedly put in the tomb before the Sabbath started at sunset. The women brought spices to preserve the body by embalming.
 

Q: In Mk 16:1 (KJV), why did the women bring "sweet" spices to anoint Jesus' body?
A: While the Greek does not have the word "sweet", the King James Version translators probably meant that they brought good-smelling, aromatic spices, such as would be used for preserving the body.
 

Q: In Mk 16:4, was the stone just "rolled" away?
A: No. The Greek word is better translated "hurled" than rolled. If the stone weighed a few tons, it would take an angel to hurl the stone away.
 

Q: In Mk 16:5-6 (KJV), what does affrighted mean?
A: This King James Version word means "frightened".
 

Q: In Mk 16:8, since the women did not say anything to anyone, did they tell the disciples?
A: While they did not tell anyone on the way back from the tomb, they told everyone eventually, and the disciples were the first ones that they told. While telling no one could mean they did not tell even the disciples until after a delay, it is more likely that it means they told only the disciples and no one outside their small group. See When Critics Ask p.377 for a complementary answer.
 

Q: In Mk 16:12, how did Jesus appear in another form?
A: This simply means the two men did not recognize Jesus when they were walking with Him. Jesus could have had different clothes on, and Jesus certainly would look different than he did when He was dead. Jesus was physically raised from the dead, in a glorified physical body. One cannot legitimately use this verse to say Jesus had different bodies, because them not recognizing Jesus does not prove a different physical body. See When Cultists Ask p.140-141 and When Critics Ask p.378-379 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 16:16, what about the people who believe but are never baptized?
A: While Mark 16:16 does not specify, John 3:36 and a host of other verses say that whosoever believes is saved. The thief on Jesus' right believed and went to Paradise without getting baptized, and prior to the thief on the cross both Jesus' disciples baptized (Jn 3:26; 4:2) and John the Baptist baptized for remission of sins (Mk 1:4; Lk 1:77; Luke 3:3b). This verse does not explicitly say, but there are four cases.
Believe and are baptized: Saved
Believe and are not yet baptized, saved.
This verse does not say, but Acts 10:45-47 shows people who believed, and were saved as evidenced by them genuinely speaking in tongues, prior to being baptized with water.
Not believe and are baptized: not saved
Not believe and are not baptized:
not saved, except that God can give special grace to infants who die, severely mentally retarded, etc.
Perhaps the reason it does not mention the second case is that it is God's will that all believers be obedient to God and get baptized with water.
Furthermore, the context of this verse apparently is people who are able to believe. Babies, the severely retarded, and perhaps others who never rejected Christ but never believed are not the subject of this verse.
Here is an example. If my daughter in the kitchen asks me for change for a dollar, and I tell her, give me a dollar and a water bottle and I will give you change. If my daughter gives me both I give her the change. If my daughter does not give me a dollar, then no change. But what if my daughter gives me a dollar but not a water bottle. Then it depends. If she says, I looked but I was unable to find a water bottle, then I will still give her change. But if she says something disrespectful, and refuses to give me a water bottle that she can get, then no change.
A Church of Christ person gave an example of "if you eat and digest your food you will live, if you do not eat, you will die." Digesting your food is implied. However, applying to Mark 16:16 this example of an involuntary bodily action to a command of God we are to voluntarily obey contradicts the Word of God, that promises salvation to all who truly believe in the following places: John 3:16,18,36; John 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-26; Acts 10:43-48; Romans 9:33; Joel 2:32a + Acts 2:21 + Romans 10:9-10; 10:13; 1 John 5:1,10-13
Summary: If you believe, get baptized. However, baptism does nothing at all if you do not believe.
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.209-210 and When Cultists Ask p.141 for more info.
 

Q: In Mk 16:18, does this mention of picking up serpents justify people in Appalachia who think some are supposed to handle snakes in worship?
A: No. Even without this verse, the Bible shows that God gives Christians the protection they need, and God will perform miracles, and not just limited to immunity to snakebite, when there is need. However, even with this verse, the Bible is saying that we are not to test God by putting ourselves in a position simply to show off.
Exodus 17:2-7; Numbers 14:22; Deuteronomy 6:16, Psalm 78:17-18, 40-41, 56-57; 95:8-9. Ahaz is the exception that proves the rule. While Ahaz was familiar with the concept of testing God and was not going to test God in Isaiah 7:12, it is not testing God to answer when a prophet of His asks you a question.
 

Q: Was Mk 16:9-20 written by Mark?
A: Genuine Christians disagree if Mark 16:9-20 was originally present.
External Evidence That Says Yes

182-188 A.D. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.10 verse 5. (Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John) "Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says : "So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;" (quote from Mark 16:19)
c.170 A.D. Tatian's Diatessaron ch.55, quotes Mark 16:15-20
200 A.D. Tertullian Treatise on the Soul "not of one only, as in the case of Socrates' own demon; but of seven spirits as in the case of the Magdalene" (However this specific teaching, that seven demons were cast out of Mary Magdalene, is also in Luke 8:2.)
198-220 A.D. Tertullian On the Resurrection of the Flesh ch.51 p.584 and also Against Praxeas ch.2 p.598; ch.30 p.627 Jesus sitting on the right hand of the Father is from Mark 16:19, but is in other verses (Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; Lk 22:69; Acts 2:34; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3,13; 8:1 too, so this is not a unique reference. Tertullian does not quote scripture often but alludes to scripture very often. So Tertullian cannot be used as proof that Mark 16:19 was in Mark, but he is not evidence against it.
198-220 A.D. Tertullian Scorpiace ch.15 p.648 "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.' But even now it will be right that he hear it, seeing that, long after, he has poured forth these poisons, which not even thus are to injure readily any of the weak ones, if any one in faith will drink, before being hurt, or even immediately after, this draught of ours." (somewhat allegorical allusion to drinking poison unharmed)
120-150 A.D. The Didache 
3rd/4th century. Curetonian Syriac translation  
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles book 6 section 3 ch.15 (latest parts in the c.380 A.D.) For the Lord says, ... 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.'" (quotes Mark 16:16)
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (c.380 A.D.) book 7 section 1 ch.1 (cf. book 5 and book 8) Quotes verbatim Mark 16:17-18 as by Jesus Christ
Victor of Antioch c.425-450 A.D.  
Nestorius (444 A.D.)  
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.) accepts as Scirpture Nestorius' quote  
c.450 A.D. Alexandrinus manuscript  
Hesychius of Jerusalem (after 450 A.D.)  
3rd-4th century Bohairic Coptic  
3rd-4th century Sahidic Coptic  
5th century Freer Gospels  
400-500 A.D. Ephraemi Rescriptus Manuscript  
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (360-370 A.D. or the 5th or 6th century) gives a paraphrase of Mark 16:9-20
400-600 A.D. Codex Bezae manuscript  
~700 A.D. an extensive Byzantine text family  
Later Bible texts (At least 38 total texts) Philoxenian Syriac, Harclean Syriac, Palestinian Syrian, Ethiopic, some Georgian (from the fifth century), Slavonic, Italic, Vulgate, Fayyumic Coptic

Fyi, the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus I and II mentions speaking in new tongues, serpents, and poisons, but this is probably written later.
Internal Evidence That Says Yes: None.
External Evidence That Says No
c.360 A.D. Eusebius Questions to Marianus I
325-350 A.D. Vaticanus: blank space there. Vaticanus does not have any other blank spaces like this in the entire manuscript.
340-350 A.D. Sinaiticus: blank space there. However, according to www.LogosResourcePages.org/uncials.htm, you can see where this text was in Sinaiticus, but it was pumiced out (erased).
Note that in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus the Gospel of Mark ends with the word "for" (gar in Greek). No other book in Greek literature has ever been found that ends in the word "for". On the other hand, there are many examples of Greek sentences and paragraphs ending in this word.
193-217/220 A.D. Clement of Alexandria
225-254 A.D. Origen
407 A.D. Jerome, Epistle 120
At least 6 other ancient manuscripts
Sinaitic Syriac
900-1000 A.D. Armenian manuscript says added by Aristion, whom Papias mentions
Some Georgian (from the fifth century)
Internal Evidence That Says No
Abrupt change in pronouns
from verse 8 to verse 9. The subject of verse 8 is the women, while the pronoun in verse 9, anastas, is masculine. However, other places have abrupt changes in pronouns too, such as He = Joseph of Arimathea in Mk 15:46; he = Jesus in Mk 15:47 and they = Mary, Mary and Salome in Mark 16:1.
Vocabulary: 1/3 of significant Greek words not used or used differently in rest of Mark. There are 166 words total, and 101 distinct words. Ignoring proper names, "the", etc. there are 75 distinct important words. 15 of them, (including apistia (without faith) and sklerokardia (stubborn refusal to believe) are used elsewhere in Mark. 11 others are used in a different sense. (See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.790,792 for more info.)
Dry facts: seems to lack lifelike detail of the rest of Mark.
Gospel Similarities: Matthew and Luke parallel Mark until the end of verse 8.
For more information read John D. Grassmick's commentary on Mark in The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament.
External Evidence that Says It Is Unclear: Over 8 ancient manuscripts are missing all of Mark 16. They include p45 (Mark 12:29 and on were lost)
2386 - missing the entire page
1420 - missing the entire page
16 - damaged and missing all of Mark 16:6 on
304 - includes text plus commentary
A shorter ending to Mark
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
A Catalogue of Manuscripts of Mark
P45 Papyrus 45 (225) ~ damaged
B Vaticanus (325-350) ~ omission
À Sinaiticus (340-350)~ omission
A Alexandrinus (c.450) ~ inclusion
C Ephraemi (450) ~ inclusion
D Bezae (500?) ~ inclusion
L Regius (750) ~ double inclusion
M Campianus (850) ~ inclusion
N Purpureus Petropolitanus (550) ~ damaged
U Nanianus (900) ~ inclusion
W Washington (400) ~ inclusion with Freer Logion
D Sangellensis (900)~ inclusion
Q Koridethi (800?) ~ inclusion
P Petropolitanus (850) ~ damaged/inclusion (lacks 16:18-20)
S Rossanensis (550) ~ damaged/inclusion (lacks 16:14-20)
F Beratinus (550) ~ damaged
Y Laurensis (850) ~ double inclusion (exemplar with Short Ending implied)
The f1 miniscules (1, 118, 131, 209, 1582) ~ inclusion with note or sigla
The f13 miniscules (13, 346, 543, 826, 828, 69, 124, 788, 983, 1689) ~ inclusion
28 (1100's?) ~ inclusion
33 (1000) ~ inclusion
157 (1100) ~ inclusion
565 (800's) ~ inclusion
579 (1200's) double inclusion
700 (1100's?) ~ inclusion
892 (950?) ~ inclusion
1071 (1100's) ~ inclusion
1342 (1000's) ~ inclusion
1424 (800's) ~ inclusion
Taken from Mark 16:9-20, a Study of the External Evidence, by Jim Snapp II (2003)
Teaching Unique to Mark 16:9-20
Every doctrine or concept in the longer ending of Mark is found elsewhere in the Bible except for four things:
1. Jesus had earlier driven seven demons out of Mary Magdalene.
2. Signs to accompany those who believe:
[when compelled], can safely pick up snakes with hands. (Luke 10:19 says they could trample snakes and scorpions, which is similar to Mark 16). Also an example is given in Acts 28:3-6 of Paul getting bitten by a viper with no harm done to him.
3. [when compelled], can safely drink deadly poison.
4. This is the most severe rebuke recorded that Jesus gave to the disciples.
Content absent: Mark 14:28, 16:7 does not mention a Galilean appearance of Jesus.
Conclusion: If Mark 16:9-20 was wrongly added to some manuscripts, it was first added before 150 A.D. If it was wrongly taken out, then it was taken out before 217 A.D.
See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.32 and When Critics Ask p.377-378 for more info, and the New Geneva Study Bible p.1597 for a concise summary of the pros and cons.
 

Q: Should Mk 16:9-20 be considered scripture like the rest of Mark?
A: Of course it should if Mark wrote it. However, some Christians say that because of its early inclusion and widespread acceptance, it is still scripture, even if it was written by a secretary or someone else instead of Mark. Bruce Metzger apparently held this view.
 

Q: In Mk, what evidence is there that Mark wrote this book?
A: The early church universally recognized this as from Mark. Papias, a disciple of John the apostle, said it was by Mark, who followed Peter. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.905 also mentions what Papias said.
 

Q: In Mk, since Mark was not an apostle, why should the Gospel of Mark be in the Bible?
A: Mark was the generally acknowledged as the interpreter of Peter. Here is the evidence.
Papias (95-110 A.D.): "Amongst these he [Papias] says that there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth. He moreover hands down, in his own writing, other narratives given by the previously mentioned Aristion of the Lord's sayings, and the traditions of the presbyter John. For information on these points, we can merely refer our readers to the books themselves; but now, to the extracts already made, we shall add, as being a matter of primary importance, a tradition regarding Mark who wrote the Gospel, which he [Papias] has given in the following words]: And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 3:39 (vol.1 p.154)
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.): "...Mark, to whom the gospel is ascribed, he being the companion of Peter..." Fragment of Clement of Alexandria in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History book 2 ch.15.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) "The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage - I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew - whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter's whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke's form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters." Tertullian Against Marcion book 4 chapter 5 p.350.
 

Q: When was the Gospel of Mk written?
A: The anti-Marcionite prolog to Mark also says "After the death of Peter himself, he [Mark] wrote down this same Gospel...." (taken from The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.99). Irenaeus in Against Heresies book 3 ch.1.1 p.414 (182-188 A.D.) says Mark wrote after "the departure" of Peter and Paul, which would be just after c.64-65 A.D. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8 p.608 says Irenaeus also wrote that Matthew was written while Peter and Paul were still alive, and we are almost certain that is incorrect.
However, according to Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 6:14.5-7, Clement of Alexandria it was written while Peter was at Rome c.45-64 A.D. Origen also thought Peter was still alive when Mark was written.
Harnack thought it was written before 62 A.D.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.98 says dating Mark is problematic, and that the two best options are either 67-69 A.D., or 64-68 A.D.
In the New International Bible Commentary p.1157, Stephen S. Short says it was c.65 A.D. On p.1183 Laurence E. Porter says that it is clear Mark was written before Luke, and Luke might have written in the first half of the 60's.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8 p.608 says the best estimate is 65-70 A.D., between the Great Fire in Rome and the destruction of the Temple. Jose O'Callaghan found a Papyrus in cave 7 at Qumran that might be fragments of the Gospel of Mark, dated about 50 A.D. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8 p.608 says this "has been largely rejected by NT scholars (cf. EBC 1:420-421, n.1). The evidence O'Callaghan presents is far too fragmentary to be reliable."
The New Geneva Study Bible p.1558 says that Mark had to have been written before 70 A.D. However, it adds that if Luke and Acts were finished around 62 A.D., then Mark would be even earlier than 62 A.D..
The NIV Study Bible p.1490 says that it might have been the 50's or 60's, or shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.622 says it was 65-70 A.D., though some conservatives hold to a date in the 50s.
The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1078 says that while the majority of interpreters date Mark 65-70 A.D., the most probable date is 67-70 A.D.
The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1318 says that while some give a date as early as the 50s, a date of 57-60 A.D. seems quite likely.
The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels p.528 says it was written in the late 60's, say 68-70 A.D.
The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.903 says Mark may have been written shortly after 64 A.D. It might not have been written till after 66 A.D.,, but it could not have been long after 70 A.D., basing his argument on Matthew and Luke using material from Mark.
 

Q: In Mk, how do we know that scripture today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Many writers referred to Mark.
1 Clement ch.15 p.9 quotes Mk 7:6, though this is also a quote of Mt 15:8 and Isa 29:13.
Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.5 p.139 Mark 2:17b, which his also Mt 9:13b; and Lk 5:32. ( 1/2 quote)
Papias (95-110 A.D.) refers by name to the books of Mark, Matthew, First Epistle of John and the Epistle of Peter. Fragment 6 from Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History book 3 ch.39. Eusebius is writing, and he questioned 2 Peter, so Epistle of Peter would refer to 1 Peter.
Polycarp (c.150 A.D.) quotes half of a verse: Mark 14:38b. Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians ch.7 p.34-35
Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) quotes from two verses in Mark: 2:17 and 12:25. In both he mentions them as being by the Savior.
The heretic Tatian (-177 A.D.) wrote a harmony of the four gospels called the Diatessaron. In it he refers to 402 verses in Mark. That is 59% of the entire gospel.
Melito of Sardis (170-180 A.D.) mentions Luke and Mark as the "gospel". Mention of 1 Corinthians as by the apostle. Quote from Hebrews. Oration on the Lord's Passion ch.9 p.760-761
The Gnostic heretic Ptolemy (before 188 A.D.) refers to Mark 15:34 according to Irenaeus
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes all or part of 18 verses in Mark. In Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 chapter 10.5 p.425 mentions Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, in his Gospel narrative, and quotes Mark 1:2a. In the first twelve chapters of Mark Irenaeus quotes or paraphrases are Mark 1:1,2,24; 3:27; 4:28; 5:31; 9:23; 10:38; 13:32; 14:21b; 16:19.
Irenaeus alludes to Mark 6:41,44; 9:2; 10:17; 13:33.
Irenaeus mentions Jesus conferring the power to tread on serpents and scorpions, which is a reference to Luke 10:19, but could also refer to Mark 16:17,18.
The Muratorian Canon (c.170 A.D.) mentions Mark along with the other three gospels.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) paraphrases Mark 10:17-31 saying "These things are written in the Gospel according to Mark" Who is the Rich Man That Shall be Saved? ch.5 p.592
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) stresses the authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation, and many of Paul's Letters in Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.5 p.350.
Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) writes, "that neither Paul the apostle nor Mark, he of the maimed finger, announced such (tenets). For none of these (doctrines) has been written in the Gospel according to Mark." Refutation of All Heresies book 7 ch.18 p.112. Hippolytus also quotes 1/2 of Mark 10:38 Refutation of All Heresies book 5 ch.3 p.53
Hippolytus references Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19 saying it is "by the Savior" in Refutation of All Heresies book 5 ch.2 p.50.
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) alludes to both Mark 12:42 and Luke 21:2. Instructions of Commodianus ch.72 p.217
Origen (225-254 A.D.) quotes extensively from Mark. His quotes include Mark 1:1-2. He also wrote an entire commentary on the Gospel of Mark.
Origen mentions Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Origen Against Celsus book 5 ch.56 p.568. Also quoting Matthew 18:1 in Origen's Commentary on Matthew book 13 ch.14 p.482.
Anonymous Treatise on Rebaptism (c.250-258 A.D.) ch.17 p.677 "Also according to Mark He said, with the same purpose, to the sons of Zebedee". It also refers to Mark 16:8.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "Also according to Mark : 'All sins shall be forgiven, and blasphemies, to the sons of men; but whoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, but he shall be guilty of eternal sin.'" (Mark 3:28-29) Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 3 ch.28 p.542
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian (256 A.D.) quotes Mark 13:6 as by "the Lord Himself". (Letter 74 ch.9 p.392)
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 A.D.) "It was 'in the end of the Sabbath,' as Matthew has said; it was 'early, when it was yet dark,' as John writes; it was 'very early in the morning,' as Luke puts it; and it was 'very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun,' as Mark tells us. Thus no one has shown us clearly the exact time when He rose." Letter 5 to the bishop Basilides p.94
Archelaus (262-278) quotes Mark 2:9 as by Jesus in one of his speeches in Disputation with Manes ch.42 p.217
Theonas of Alexandria (c.300 A.D.) refers to Mark 11:25: "and even as ye desire that He may remit your transgressions, do ye also forgive them theirs;" Letter the Lucianus, the Chief Chamberlain ch.9 (vol.6) p.160
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) "Will you agree if I show from the Gospels that they are not fabrications?" ... "The disciples of Christ wrote them: John and Matthew; Mark and Luke. Dialogue on the True Faith First Part "b 5" p.41
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) mentions Matthew, Mark, and Luke in Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John From the fourth chapter 7-10 p.348
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) (half quote) quotes Mark 11:9b, which is also Psalm 118:26a; Matthew 21:9b; Luke 19:38a; and John 12:13b. "Instead of our garments, let us strew our hearts before Him,. In psalms and hymns, let us raise to Him our shouts of thanksgiving; and without ceasing, let us exclaim, 'Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;'" Oration on the Psalms ch.1 p.394
Athanasius (c.318 A.D.) quotes part of Mark 12:29 as "our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ says" in Against the Heathen ch.6 p.7. He also quotes Mark 5:7, which is the same as Luke 4:34, in Incarnation of the Word ch.32.5 p.53. Athanasius quotes Mark 13:35, which is the same as Matthew 24:42 in Incarnation of the Word ch.56.5 p.66. While Athanasius does not refer to any other verses in Mark prior to 325 A.D., he refers to many other verses in Mark after 325 A.D.
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to Matthew 14; Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6 when he relates the incident of the five loaves and two fishes. The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.15 p.115
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8 when he speaks of "sacred writings" teaching that Jesus "compelled the winds to obey, the seas to serve Him, diseases to depart, the dead to be submissive." The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.15 p.116
Prior to 325 A.D. writers did not refer to the following 166 verses in Mark: 1: 5,8,14,18,21,23,25-28,31-32,34; 2:3-4,6-7,13; 3:1-3,6,13,16-17,22,24-25,32-35; 4:1-2,15-18,37; 5:1,8,10,12,17-19,32,35,43; 6:10,32,33,35,46-50,53; 7:7,20,28; 8:1,2,4-10,16,30; 9:16,19,32,33,38,41,43,45,46; 10:6-7,22,52; 11:1,3,4,5,7,8,11,18,27,31; 12:1,2,7-14,16,35,36,43
13:2,4,5,8,9,12,13,22,25-30; 14:10,14,17,26,28-29,32,33,34,39,43,45-50,53-56,66,67,70,72; 15:6,7,16-19,22,24-27,30-32,35,39; 16:6. Tatian's Diatessaron alone refers to 402 of the 678 verses of Mark.
After Nicea
Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History
(323-326 A.D.) book 3 ch.24 p.152 discusses the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.152
Juvencus (329 A.D.) wrote an epic poem combining the four gospels.
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) authoritatively refers to John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark. On the Trinity book 10 ch.43 p.193
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Mark as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of Mark 1:1-2.
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) refers to Mark 13:32 as by Jesus in Letter 8 ch.7 p.119
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) refers to Mark 1:1,4 as the gospel Lecture 3.6 p.15
Cheltenham Canon (=Mommsen Catalogue) (ca.360-370/390 A.D.) refers to each of the four gospels.
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Amphilochius (-397 A.D.) quotes from Mark in Iambi ad Seleucum
Didymus the Blind (398 A.D.)
Asterius of Emesa (c.400 A.D.)
Syrian Catalogue of St. Catherine's (ca.400 A.D.)
Severian (flourished 400-408 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) refers to the Gospel of Mark. The Panarion section 3 ch.44 p.345
Jerome (317-420 A.D.) mentions each of the four gospels by name in letter 53.9 p.101.
John Chrysostom (martyred 406 A.D.) mentions Mark in Homily 4 p.20 (vol.10)
Chromatius (died 407 A.D.)
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.) alludes to Matthew 26:47-50; Mark 14:43-46; Luke 22:47-48; John 18:3-9. Defense Against the Pelagians ch.8 p.124
John Cassian (Semi-Pelagian) (419-430 A.D.) Mark 9:23 is said to be from the gospel in the Conference of the Abbot Paphnutius ch.16 p.327
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.)
Marcus of Eremita (after 430 A.D.) refers to Mark
Polychronius of Apamea (flourished 428-431) refers to Mark 13:2
Theodoret of Cyrus (bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (-450 A.D.) (Pronounced HESS-us) refers to all four gospels
Speculum (fifth century)
Proclus (412-485 A.D.) refers to Mark 14:5
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
The Encratite heretic Tatian (-177 A.D.) wrote a harmony of the four gospels called the Diatessaron, which means "through [the] four". In it he refers to 402 verses in Mark. That is 59.3% of the entire gospel o f Mark.
Apostolic Constitutions (uncertain date, about 380 A.D.)
The Arian heretic Eunomius of Cyzicus (c.360-c.394 A.D.) alludes to Mark 10:18 (God alone is good) Apologetic Letter ch.21 p.61
Nestorius
' Bazaar of Heracleides (451/452 A.D.)
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of Mark show there are small manuscript variations and one large variation, but zero theologically significant errors. The ending of Mark is the most notable manuscript variation in the entire New Testament.
p45 Chester Beatty I (all four gospels and Acts) (100-150 A.D.) (formerly thought to be late 2nd or early 3rd century A.D.) (Mk 4:36-5:2; 5:16-26; 5:38-6:3; 2 letters of 6:15; 6:16-25, 36-50; 7:3-15; 7:25-8:1; 8:10-26; 8:34-9:8; 4 letters of 9:9; 9:18-31; 11:27-12:1; 12:5-8,13-19,24-28 [147 verses]) The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph showing part of p45 on p.146. On p.150-151 it says that the copy was a loose paraphrase, where he tries to bring out the thought of each phrase. A General Introduction to the Bible p.389 says the original scroll is thought to be about 220 leaves, of which we have 30 leaves. 6 of those leaves are from Mark.
3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament
3rd century - 1975 - Aland et al. Third Edition
3rd century - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth Revised Edition
Late 2nd or early 3rd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
p84 Mk 2:2-5,8-9; 6:30-31,33-34; 36-37, 39-41 also John 5:5; 17:3,7-8 (6th century)
p88 Mk 2:1-26 (4th century)
Vaticanus [B] (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus [Si] (340-350 A.D.), and Alexandrinus [A] (c.450 A.D.) have all of Mark.
The Washington Codex (4th/5th century) has preserved all of Mark except Mark 15:13-38.
In cave 7 at Qumran, Jose O'Callaghan found a papyrus, dated 50 A.D., which might be fragments of the Gospel of Mark. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8 p.608 says this "has been largely rejected by NT scholars (cf. EBC 1:420-421, n.1). The evidence O'Callaghan presents is far too fragmentary to be reliable."
Carston Thiede claims Mark 6:52-53 is preserved in cave 7 at Qumran as scroll 7Q5. This is controversial though, with a majority of conservative Bible scholars not accepting this. While even his critics claim 7Q5 might actually be Mark 6:52-53, the fragment is so difficult to read most scholars say one cannot conclude either way.
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Harclean Syrian [Syr H]
 
See www.BibleQuery.org/mkMss.html for more on early manuscripts of Mark.
 

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