Mark 1:1-4

Mark 1:1-4
Narrative Lectionary


1 The beginningI of the good newsII of JesusIII Christ,IV the SonV of God.VI

Notes on verse 1

I “beginning” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.
II “good news” = euaggelion. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel); {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (to bring, lead, carry, guide)}. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
III “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
IV “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
V “Son” = Huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
VI “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

As it is writtenVII in the prophetVIII Isaiah,IX

Notes on verse 2a

VII “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
VIII “prophet” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.
IX “Isaiah” = Esaias. Related to “Jesus” in v1. From Hebrew Yeshayahu (Isaiah, “salvation of the Lord”); {from yasha (see note III above) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (see note III above)}. This is Isaiah, meaning “salvation of the Lord.”

“See,X I am sendingXI my messengerXII ahead of you,XIII
    who will prepareXIV your way;XV

Notes on verse 2b

X “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
XI “sending” = apostello. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (to make to stand, stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
XII “messenger” = aggelos. Related to “good news” in v1. See note II above.
XIII “you” = prosopon. From pros (at, towards, with) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is the face, surface, or front. It can imply presence more generally.
XIV “prepare” = kataskeuazo. 11x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, throughout) + skeuazo (to prepare using a tool); {from skeuos (tool, container, property, goods)}. This is to prepare, build, or ordain. It denotes preparing with the use of tools and with skill.
XV “way” = hodos. This is way, road, path, or journey. It can imply progress along a route.

the voiceXVI of one crying outXVII in the wilderness:XVIII

Notes on verse 3a

XVI “voice” = phone. Related to “prophet” in v2. Probably from phemi (see note VIII above). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.
XVII “crying out” = boao. 12x in NT. From boe (a cry or shout). This is cry out, make a distress call, ask for desperately need assistance.
XVIII “wilderness” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.

    ‘PrepareXIX the way of the Lord,XX
    makeXXI his pathsXXII straight,’”XXIII

Notes on verse 3b

XIX “prepare” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
XX “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
XXI “make” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XXII “paths” = tribos. 3x in NT– all in the proclamation of John the Baptist in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. From tribo (to rub or thresh). This is a rut or path that is made from regular use – a road or highway.
XXIII “straight” = euthus. Related to “good news” in v1. 8x in NT. Perhaps from eu (see note II above) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish). This is immediately, upright, straight and not crooked.

JohnXXIV the baptizerXXV appearedXXVI in the wilderness,

Notes on verse 4a

XXIV “John” = Ioannes. Related to “Jesus” in v1 & “Isaiah” in v2. From Hebrew yochanan (Johanan); from Yehochanan (“the Lord has been gracious”); {from YHVH (see note III above) + chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is John, meaning “the Lord has been gracious.”
XXV “baptizer” = baptizo. From bapto (to dip or dye; to entirely cover with liquid, to stain). This is to submerge, wash, or immerse. Used specially for baptism.
XXVI “appeared” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.

proclaimingXXVII a baptismXXVIII of repentanceXXIX for the forgivenessXXX of sins.XXXI 

Notes on verse 4b

XXVII “proclaiming” = kerusso. This is to proclaim, preach, publish. Properly, it is to act as a herald – announcing something publicly with confidence and/or to persuade.
XXVIII “baptism” = baptisma. Related to “baptizer” in v4. From baptizo (see note XXV above). This is dipping or sinking. Also, the rite of baptism.
XXIX “repentance” = metanoia. From meta (with, among, after, beyond) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect)}. This is literally to change one’s mind – to choose to think differently and so to act differently because of a moral compunction. It is an intentional change to the inner self. This word shares a root with the English “paranoia.”
XXX “forgiveness” = aphesis. 17x in NT. From aphiemi (to send away, release, abandon, lay aside, forgive); {from apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send, to go)}. This is sending away – a release or letting go. So, it can be releasing someone from debt, slavery, or some other obligation – thus, freedom or liberty. Figuratively it can mean to pardon as releasing from the debt of sin.
XXXI “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.

Image credit: “Baptism of Christ” – “Armenian Gospel book was produced in (1455 CE) at the monastery of Gamałiēl in Xizan by the scribe Yohannēs Vardapet and was illuminated by the priest Xačʿatur,” 1455.

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