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dle's commentary on Mark (Scribner), as Vol. II. of Doctor Schaff's "International Commentary on the New Testament" will have a wide circulation. It is abridged from the larger "Illustrated Popular Commentary," is well printed and cheap, and the notes are brief. The text is given in the Revised version. It has the attraction for some of claiming to be undenominational. But an undenominational commentary must be very meagre or it will not really be what it professes to be. Thus on 7: 4: "The passage clearly proves the wider usage of the terms 'baptism' and 'baptize' in Hellenistic Greek, whether by immersion, or pouring, or sprinkling. Christianity does not prescribe any particular mode as essential. Disputes about the form of baptism savor much of what our Lord is rebuking in the discourse which follows." Now Doctor Riddle has full liberty to say this, if he thinks it just and courteous-to thank God that he is not a Pharisee. But has Doctor Schaff a right to say in his preface: "Its object is to make the results of the Revision available for the benefit of the rising generation of all denominations"? -the italics being our own. See also on 10: 16 and 16: 16. We delight in reading Presbyterian books, if they will only call themselves Presbyterian.
Various other popular commentaries on Mark are announced, but not accessible at this writing. Plumptre on Mark, in Bishop Ellicott's "Commentary for English Readers," is scanty and moderately good, not equal to some other portions of that work. Canon Cook, in "The Bible Commentary (Speaker's), is fuller than Plumptre, and in some respects good, though very obstinate about text criticism, and suited only to readers having some knowledge of Greek. It is unnecessary to speak of the older works.
Some will read in connection with the studies in Mark a "" Harmony of the Gospels" and a "Life of Christ." Robinson's "Harmony" is good, and we think that of G. W. Clark is in several important respects better. Of the leading works on the life of Christ, Farrar's is the most readable, but over-brilliant in style for such a theme, and a little inclined to be wiser than the sacred writers. Geikie's gives most information, including a good deal that is not very important, and it is generally safe and always devout. Hanna's is most instructive, explaining passages extremely well, and unfolding great truths in an admirable way, but it lacks the charm of narrative, being a series of expository discourses. A good deal similar in general character is the smaller work of Nicoll.
THE GOSPEL OF MARK
1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 d John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, 1 the Son of God.
2 2 Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, 8 Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way;
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
4 6 John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance 10 unto
a Matt. 14: 33; Luke 1: 35; John 1: 34......b Mal. 3: 1; Matt. 11: 10; Luke 7: 27......c Isa. 40:3; Matt. 3:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:15, 23. ......d Matt. 3:1; Luke 3:3; John 3: 23.1 See Matt. 14: 33......2 For ver. 2-8, see Matt. 3: 1-11; Luke 3: 2-16......
3 Matt. 11: 10; Luke 1: 17, 76; 7:27; cited from Mal. 3: 1......4 John 1:23; cited from Isa. 40: 3......5 Luke 1: 76......6 John 1: 6, 7.............. 7 Josh. 15: 61; comp. Judg. 1: 16......8 Acts 2: 38......9 ver. 15......10 Matt. 26: 28; comp. Luke 1: 77.
Chap. 1. One may begin by briefly speaking of this Gospel that it is the shortest, particularly adapted to the young, full of rapid action and lively description, bringing the Saviour before us as he "went about doing good (the words of Peter in Acts 10:38). Then compare the beginning of the several Gospels. John begins with our Lord's pre-existence, as the Word that was God. Luke and Matthew tell of his birth and childhood. Mark enters at once upon his public ministry, with that of the forerunner. It is the Gospel of action.
I. JOHN PREPARING FOR JESUS, 1-8. The gospel of Christ is declared to begin with an account of the preparatory work of John the Baptist. 1. This verse may be called the title of Mark's whole treatise; but the phrase even as, or just as, in ver. 2, shows that the title is especially connected with the forerunner's work. The opening scene of Christ to public history is the ministry of his forerunner.
2. This preparatory work was predicted in the Old Testament. The main portion of the quotation is from Isa. 40: 3, and is also quoted by Matthew (3:3) and more fully by Luke (3:4, 5) and part of it by the Baptist himself (John 1: 23). There was also a later prophecy by Malachi (3:1), which closely resembles that of Isaiah, and was perhaps suggested by it, as the later prophets often repeat ideas and expressions from the earlier ones. This may be the reason why Mark says in Isaiah the prophet, and then begins with the words of Malachi. Some early students and copyists saw
that part was from Malachi, and supposed there must have been a mistake in copying, and so changed it to "in the prophets" (as in King James); the other is unquestionably the correct text. 3. A striking image-making a road for the king's coming, by straightening, grading, making smooth. (See fuller quotation in Luke 3:5.) So John was to make spiritual preparation for the speedy appearance of King Messiah.
4-6. Description of John's preaching, baptizing, and personal life. He is distinguished from others of that already quite common name as the one who baptized (ver. 4, correct Greek text), and hence usually called 'the Baptizer (Baptist)." So also Josephus, in an interesting passage (" Antiq.," XVIII., 5:2) says 'John, who was surnamed Baptist." [Describe the wilderness as far as you have material (Comp. Luke 1: 80) and John's dress and food (ver. 6) so as to make the class see him. Describe also (with a map) the river Jordan-length, including windings, some two hundred and fifty miles; when not swollen by winter rains, width in lower part from one hundred to five hundred feet; depth from two to ten feet at different places and seasons. At the traditional place of Christ's baptism, deep and swift in spring, yet every year thousands of Easter pilgrims, men, women, and children, take a sacred bath there, some of them using the dense thickets along the shore for change of garments.] As to eating locusts, see Lev. 11: 22; as to wild honey, the pleasing story of Jonathan in 1 Sam. 14: 25-30. John's dress and food were a practical rebuke to a lux
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 And John was b clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9 8 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
5 remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the country of Judæa, and all they of Jerusalem; and they were baptized of him in 6 the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was 2 clothed with camel's hair, and 2 had a leathern girdle about his loins, and did eat 7 3 locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, 5 There cometh after me he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not 8 worthy to stoop down and unloose. I baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9 8 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus 'came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was bap
a Matt. 35......b Matt. 3: 4......c Lev. 11: 22......d Matt. 3: 11; John 1: 27; Acts 13: 25......e Acts 1:5; 11: 16; 19: 4......f Isa. 44: 3; Joel 2: 28; Acts 2:4; 10: 45; 11: 15, 16; 1 Cor. 12: 13......g Matt. 3: 13; Luke 3: 21.1 Acts 19: 18......2 Comp. 2 Kings 1:8; Zech. 13:4; Heb. 11: 37......3 Lev. 11: 22......4 1 Sam. 14: 26......5 John 1: 15, 27; 3: 30, 31; Acts 13: 25......6 John 1: 26; Acts 1:5; 11: 16......7 See John 1: 33......8 For ver. 9-11, see Matt. 3: 13-17; Luke 3: 21, 22; comp. John 1: 32-34......9 Matt. 2: 23.
at hand" (Matt. 3: 2). His preaching was very practical, telling tax-collectors, soldiers, and people in general, to show their repentance by correcting their characteristic faults (see, by all means, Luke 3: 10-14). Unto remission of sins. Their baptism would represent the remission (forgiveness) which their repentance procured. Cleansing the body with water would to a Jew represent cleansing the soul from guilt; baptism was the most thorough form of purification (Acts 22: 16), and the act of baptism carried an
other great meaning (Rom. 6: 4). John's baptizing was a novelty which popularly represented his whole ministry; and our Lord so uses it in Matt. 21: 28. 5. All Judea and Jerusalem is of course not to be taken arithmetically, but as strong language "everybody" went. There was a mighty religious movement, a "great revival," which lasted two
years or more (see Matt. 11: 12). 7. John predicts the coming of a mightier One. To untie the string (latchet) and remove the soiled shoes was a menial office, like washing the feet (John 13: :5). 8. Note John's humility. Baptize with, in, the Holy Spirit is something like our phrases, immersed in business, in study, in pleasures, plunged in despair; so in Acts 2:2 the symbol of the Holy Spirit (the Greek and Hebrew words meaning both wind and spirit) filled the house, and they were immersed in it (comp. Acts 1:5). John drew this figure from his employment, and additional figures from familiar pursuits (Matt. 3: 10-12). What a blessed thing to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, our whole being encompassed and pervaded by his blessed influence.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, b Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; d and the angels ministered unto him.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and
a Matt. 3: 16; John 1: 32......b Ps. 2:7; Matt. 3: 17; ch. 9: 7......c Matt. 4:1; Luke 4: 1......d Matt. 4: 11......e Matt. 4: 12. ......f Matt. 4: 23......g Dan. 9: 25; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1: 10......h Matt. 3:2; 4: 17.1 Acts 7: 56......2 Isa. 64: 1......3 John 1: 32, 33; comp. Luke 4: 18, 21; Acts 10: 38......4 John 12 28......5 Comp. ch. 9:7; Ps. 2: 7; Isa. 42: 1; Eph. 1:6; Col. 1:13; 2 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:9......6 See Matt. 4: 1-11; Luke 4: 1-13......7 Comp. Heb. 2: 18; 4: 15.8 See 1 Chron. 21: 1......9 Matt. 26:53; Luke 22: 43......10 Matt. 4: 12; 14: 3; Luke 3: 20; comp. John 3: 24......11 Matt. 4: 17, 23......12 Rom. 1:1; 15: 16, al. ......13 Dan. 9:25; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1: 10; comp. Luke 21: 8; John 7: 8......14 See Matt. 3: 2.
the water. In Matt. 3: 14, 15, we read of John's reluctance, and Jesus' reason for insisting. 10. Out of the water is the necessary meaning of the (correct) Greek text here, as in Acts 8:39. In Matt. 3:16, it is "from the water," which does not show that he had been in the water, nor that he had not; but the circumstances make it so evident, that Tyndale and all succeeding early versions translated it "out of." Compare Tobit vi: 3, "A fish leaped up from the river, and wished to devour the lad." Coming, i. e., while coming (as the Greek form shows), he saw the heavens rending, and the Spirit descending; it is described as all going on-the vivid sort of description which abounds in this Gospel. As a dove. Luke says (3:22)" in a bodily form, as a dove," seeming to mean in a dove's form. 11. The words spoken from heaven are here and in Luke (3 : 22) addressed to Jesus, in Matthew (3:17) apparently to John the Baptist. What was said to either would be heard by the other. The solemn assurance of Divine approval would encourage the Redeemer and confirm the forerunner's faith (John 1: 33, 34). So at the transfiguration (Mark 9: 7).
III. JESUS TEMPTED IN THE WILDERNESS, 12. Driveth, strongly impels him to go. The wilderness is most likely some part of the wilderness of Judea, as in ver. 4; but we cannot be sure, and it makes no difference. Luke (4:1) shows that the Spirit also led him all the time he was in the wilderness. He was tempted all through the forty days, doubtless by internal influence upon the mind, as we are tempted (Heb. 4:15). At the close of the forty days Satan seems to have appeared in bodily form, and tempted him three times with spoken words, so that it could be described for our benefit. See these three in Matt. 4: 3-10. 13. With the wild beasts. Mentioned by Mark only.
They at his sight grew mild,
Nor sleeping him nor waking harmed; his walk
-Milton, "Paradise Regained."
Alone in this wild region, through the long days and nights, tempted-think of it. The angelic ministration will be renewed in Gethsemane (Luke 22: 43), perhaps often besides (John 1: 61).
IV. JESUS PREACHING THE GOSPEL, 14, 15. The forerunner's ministry has ceased, and Jesus himself preaches. For John's imprisonment, see 6:17. Jesus had already been preaching and baptizing in Judea during John's ministry (John 2: 13 to 3: 36), and with great success (John 3:26; 4:1). 14. But after John's imprisonment he left Judea (John 4: 3) and came into Galilee. His previous ministry ran parallel to John's; now it stands alone.
Here is given the substance of all his preaching. It is the gospel of God, good news sent by him. The good news is especially that the kingdom of God, long promised, is at hand, close by. Every devout heart in Israel would leap for joy at this good news. Here are two important words, needing careful explanation, kingdom and repent. It requires several English words to give the meaning of the Greek word translated "kingdom." 1. Kingship, the possession of royal authority (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 11: :15). 2. Reign, the exercise of royal authority. 3. Kingdom, the subjects of royal authority (Matt. 12: 25); or the territory over which royal authority is exercised (Matt. 4:8). In many passages the notions of reign and kingdom seem to be combined, and in explaining we may use both. In this passage the prominent thought is that the reign of God, the Messianic reign, so long thought of as coming, is near at hand.
15. This joyful fact Jesus presents as an in