A New Translation: Mark 1

the-gospel-of-mark1-300x225This was posted in 2009, but written some time before that. My Thursday Morning CTP class is going to study Mark’s Gospel next and I wanted to do something different. I maintained then and still do so today that Mark is meant to be read as mad-dash play-by-play commentary. This is an early work and I will be updating it over the coming weeks, adding to it, refining it. I have two more chapters to work on as well and then to finish the entire book. My goal is to make GMark readable, but rushed, and live-action.

I have left the intro to the old post pretty much intact. 

I admit, I am a beginner at translation – too technical for me, so, feel free to destroy it as you see fit. But, before you do, let me give you the reasons why this particular translation sounds odd. We know that the Gospel of Mark is unique among the Gospels for several reasons, and one of them being the use of the historical present tense of the verbs. While the historical present tense is often used as a literary device to reinforce the idea of urgency, to make past events more vivid, I hope that it served another purpose of the writer of this gospel. I note that while Matthew uses it 20 times and Luke uses it once, Mark uses it 151 times. Is this a personal writing style?

The Bishop Papias, a contemporary of Sts. Ignatius and Polycarp, whom Tradition reports as the scribe to the Apostle John awhile he wrote his Gospel, tells us that St Mark wrote as St Peter preached. Perhaps, then, the historical present tense as used by Mark is more than an antique literary device. Just perhaps, for the Apostle Peter, as he preached, the stories continued to happen presently, so that Christ never departed from him. Maybe Peter preached the stories as if they were really happening. And this hopeful theory is the basis of this translation. I tried to translate it as Papias said it was — a dictation of preaching.

This translation was done a few years ago, sitting in Indiana, following the TR MSS. I am posting it for feedback (kind, gentle, loving feedback).

I am reposting everything as it is and then will come back and variously update the translation. At the end, when I am finished with the entire Gospel, I will reproduce the final translation,  redo the intro, and add some other things — and maybe talk a friend into doing a dramatization of it.

The beginning of the good news concerning Jesus Christ…

As it stands written in the prophet Isaiah: “Behold! I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you! He is the voice crying in the wilderness: ‘Make ready the way of the LORD; clear the path for him!'”

The Baptizer John appears baptizing in the wilderness, preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All people of Judea, and those who live in Jerusalem, keep coming, being baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. John, who is dressed in camel hairs and a leather belt, eating locusts and the honey of the field, begins preaching:

“He who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to bend down and untie, is coming after me. For now, I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

During this, Jesus came from Nazareth (of Galilee) to be baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately, after coming up from the water, Jesus sees the heavens rent asunder, and the Spirit, as a dove, descending upon himself.

And there comes a voice from within the heavens, saying: “You are my beloved son, in whom I delight.”

Then immediately the Spirit drives him out into the wasteland. As he remains there, in the barrenness for forty days, Satan tries to tempt him to evil. He is there with the wild beasts, with the angels constantly ministering to him.

Now that John had been arrested, Jesus comes to Galilee, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, saying, “God’s time of preparation is here now and the kingdom of God is upon you! Turn to God and believe this good news!”

Now, walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he sees two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, casting their nets into the sea. Jesus says to them, “Come with me, and I will make you to fishers of people.” Then immediately, forsaking their nets, they follow him.

Going on from there a little, they see James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, repairing their nets. Immediately Jesus calls them and they leave their father in the ship — with the hired workers — going after him, going into Capernaum.

And immediately, on the Sabbath, having gone into the synagogue, Jesus is teaching. They are absolutely amazed – overwhelmed and astonished — at his teaching, for he is teaching them as one who has the authority, unlike one of the scribal elite.

And in their synagogue  there is a man under the power of an unclean spirit. The spirit cries out, saying: “Leave us alone! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you come to destroy us? I know you, who you are! You are the Holy One of God!”

Jesus rebukes him saying: “Silence! Come out of him!” Then the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions and crying out with a loud voice, comes out of him.

And they were all so shocked that they debated among themselves saying:

“What is this?”
“What new sort of teaching is this?”
“What is this new authority? How does he command even the unclean spirits that they obey him?”

(And immediately a report of him spreads abroad — throughout all the whole region of Galilee.)

Then immediately, coming out of the synagogue, they go into Simon and Andrew’s house, with James and John.  Now, Simon’s mother-in-law is in her bed, sick with a fever. Immediately, they tell him of her. He comes near, taking her hand and raising her up and immediately the fever leaves her! She welcomes and cares for them.

At evening, when the sun had set, they begin bringing to him all of those diseased and possessed of demons. The whole city gathers together near the door. And he heals many of the sick with different diseases. He casts out many demons, but does not allow them to speak, because they know him. And very early, deep into the night, he awakes and goes out and departs to a solitary place, and there he prays.

Simon, and those with him, search eagerly for him, and finding him, they say, “Everyone searches for you.” There he says to them, “We are going into the neighboring towns. I will preach there because this is the reason I have come.”

He comes and is preaching in their synagogues, in all of Galilee, and he is casting out demons. Then there comes to him a leper, calling on him and falling on his knees, saying: “If only you will, you could make me clean.”

Jesus is angry. He stretches out his hand and taking hold of the leper, says: “I am willing — be clean!” As soon as he speaks, the leprosy immediately departs him — he is clean!

He is sternly warning the man, immediately sending him away. He says to the man: “Say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, bringing an offering for your healing — bring those the things which Moses commanded. The priests will verify this cure.”

But he, as he goes out, begins proclaiming it greatly, and spreads the news around, so that Jesus was no more able to enter the city openly, but is in the deserted places, and they keep coming to him from all directions.

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A New Translation: Mark 3

the-gospel-of-mark1-300x225This was posted in 2009, but written some time before that. My Thursday Morning CTP class is going to study Mark’s Gospel next and I wanted to do something different. I maintained then and still do so today that Mark is meant to be read as mad-dash play by play commentary. This is an early work and I will be updating it over the coming weeks, adding to it. I have two more chapters to work on as well and then to finish the entire book.

I have left the intro pretty much intact. 

As a reminder, I have attempted to use the present tense, when applicable, throughout the translation, feeling that it falls in line with Tradition which states that Mark copied Peter’s preaching.

Then he enters, again, into the synagogue, and a man is there with a withered hand. And they are watching him closely, to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath — that they might accuse him. He says to the man (the one with the withered hand), “Get up and stand in the middle!” Then he says to them, “Is it lawful, on the Sabbath, to do good or to do evil — to save a life or to kill?” But they were silent.

Looking around upon them with anger, he is deeply grieved at their stubbornness. He says to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” The man stretches out his hand and it is made healthy, just like the other one. The Pharisees, leaving the place, immediately begin to create a plot — along with the Herodians — against him in order that they might destroy him.

Jesus, with his disciples, withdraws to the sea and a large multitude from Galilee and from Judea follow him. They from Jerusalem, they from Idumea, they from beyond the Jordan, and the ones from around Tyre and Sidon — a great multitude having heard what great things he was doing, come to him. He tells his disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for him so that the crowd would not crush him. For he had already healed so many that those who were sick kept pushing their way to him, just to touch him.

Every time the unclean spirits would see him, they would fall down before him, crying out, “You are the Son of God!” Many times, he would earnestly warn them that they should not make him known.

He goes up into the mountain and summons who he willed and they away with him. There he purposed twelve, that they may be with him, and that he may send them out to preach, having authority to heal illnesses and to cast out demons.

(He added to Simon the name of Peter, And to James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, he puts on them the name of Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder, And Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, And Judas Iscariot, who also delivered him up.)

And they go into a house. Then a crowd gathers again — so much so that they are not even able to eat bread!  And when his family hear of this, they go about trying to take charge of him, for they kept saying that he was out of his mind.

And the scribes from Jerusalem, having come down, say, “He is possessed with Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out demons!”

He calls them near, and in parables, says to them, “How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom is divided against itself, than that kingdom will not be able to stand; and if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rose up against himself, and is divided, he is unable to stand and is finished. No one, having entered into Satan’s house is able to plunder the property of the strong man, unless he first binds the strong man — then he shall plunder the house. Truly I saw unto you — that all sins will be forgiven to the sons of men and also evil speaking, as many as they have, But he that shall blaspheme against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is in the grasp of eternal punishment!” (Because they kept saying, “he is in the power of an unclean spirit”)

Then his mother and his brothers come, and standing outside, they send word to him, calling for him. The crowd sitting around him say, “Listen! Your mother and brothers are outside seeking you!”

He answers them, saying: Who is my mother or my bothers? Having looked around upon the ones sitting about him, he says, “Behold, my mother and my brothers!” For whosoever does the will of God is my mother, my brother, and my sister!”

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A New Translation: Mark 2

the-gospel-of-mark1-300x225This was posted in 2009, but written some time before that. My Thursday Morning CTP class is going to study Mark’s Gospel next and I wanted to do something different. I maintained then and still do so today that Mark is meant to be read as mad-dash play by play commentary. This is an early work and I will be updating it over the coming weeks, adding to it. I have two more chapters to work on as well and then to finish the entire book.

I have left the intro pretty much intact. 

have translated five chapters of Mark (the first one here), and because I would like constructive feedback, I will post them from time to time. Please remember that these were translated a few years ago, using a small variety of tools.


Again, he enters into Capernaum after several days and it is reported that he is in the house. Immediately, many are gathered together, so much so that there is no longer any room, no, not even at the door; he is speaking gently the word to them. They come to him, bringing a paralyzed man — borne up by four. Not being able to come near him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where he was, and having dug through, they let down the bed on which the paralyzed man was lying. And having seen their faith, Jesus says to them, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

But there were some of the scribes sitting there, considering this in their hearts, “Why is he speaking such blasphemous words? Who is able to forgive sins but the one God? Immediately Jesus fully perceives in his spirit what they considered within themselves.

He says to them, “Why do you consider these things in your heart? “Which is easier to say to the paralyzed man? ‘Your sins are forgiven?’

Or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — (he says to the paralyzed man) — “I say to you, Get up! Take up your bed and go your way to your house.” And immediately, the man rises up, takes up his bed and before all, goes out.

They were all astonished and began to glorify God, saying, “We have never seen it done like this.”

Again, he goes out by the seaside, and all of the crowd keeps coming to him and he keeps teaching them. Passing by, he sees Levi the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office. He says to him, “Follow with me.” And he, having risen up, follows him.

It happens that as Jesus reclines to eat in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners eat with Jesus and his disciples — for there were many, and they followed him. The scribes and the Pharisees, seeing him eat with tax-collectors and sinners, say to his disciples, “How is it he eats and drinks with tax-collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus hears it, he says to them, “They who are strong have no need of a physician — but they who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Now the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting. They come to him and say, “Why do the disciples of John and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?”

The Jesus asks them, “Can the sons of the bride chamber fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bride’s groom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bride’s groom will be taken away from them, then they shall fast — in those days. No one sews a patch of new cloth on an old garment, or else when the new patch fills the old, the tear becomes worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins because the new wine will burst the wineskins, and when the wine is poured out, the wineskins will be ruined. The new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

It happens that he is going along, through the cornfields on the Sabbath; his disciples begin to make their way, plucking ears of corn. The Pharisees say to him, “Look! Why are they doing that which is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He asks them, “Did you ever read what David did, when he had need and was hungry — he and those with him? How he went into the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the Bread of Presence — which is unlawful to eat, except to the priests, and David gave also to those with him?” Then he says them, “The Sabbath came to be for all and not humanity for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

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The Papias Fragments

Fellow blogger Roger Pearse points us to a new collection/translation of fragments of another disciple of the Apostle John, Bishop Papias of Hierapolis.

In the third year of the reign of the emperor mentioned above , Clement committed the episcopal government of the church of Rome to Evarestus, and departed this life after he had superintended the teaching of the divine word nine years in all. But when Symeon also had died in the manner described, a certain Jew by the name of Justus succeeded to the episcopal throne in Jerusalem. He was one of the many thousands of the circumcision who at that time believed in Christ. At that time Polycarp, a disciple of the apostles, was a man of eminence in Asia, having been entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and heard the Lord. And at the same time Papias, bishop of the parish of Hierapolis, became well known, as did also Ignatius, who was chosen bishop of Antioch, second in succession to Peter, and whose fame is still celebrated by a great many. – Ecclesiastical History 3.34.1-3.36.2

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