Tag Archives: mark

A Grammatical Note on the Structure of Mark’s Prologue

Is the prologue of Mark 1:1–13 or 1:1–15? In France’s commentary on Mark he notes that the prologue is most likely 1:1–13 based on thematic reasons. He says:

“From v. 14 on the Spirit and the wilderness are no longer mentioned, and the scene has shifted from the Judaean wilderness to the inhabited towns and villages of Galilee. John the Baptist, a central figure in the prologue, has now been removed from the stage. The heavenly visions and supernatural actors of vv. 10–13 are replaced by everyday scenes people by ordinary Galileans. Verses 14–15 introduce the preaching ministry of Jesus which is to be the focus of the first act of the drama. The story has begun.”[1]

I think there is also a grammatical explanation that v. 14 begins the “first act of the drama.” Until now Mark has used the connective καὶ to join each step of the story. Along with his use of εὐθὺς this helps the reader feel the “quickness” of the story. When the reader reaches v. 14, Mark changes from the connective καὶ to δὲ[2] (Μετὰ δὲ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ). Runge notes, “The use of δέ represents the writer’s choice to explicitly signal that what follows is a new, distinct development in the story or argument, based on how the writer conceived of it.[3]” Therefore, along with Mark’s unmarked use of καὶ he uses the marked δὲ to bring attention to the reader that the next part of the story is about to begin.

  1. France, R. T. The Gospel of Mark. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002, 59.  ↩

  2. The only other use of δὲ before this is in v. 8 with the words coming from John, “ἐγὼ ἐβάπτισα ὑμᾶς ὕδατι, αὐτὸς δὲ βαπτίσει ὑμᾶς °ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ”. In this case it is used to express a contrast between his baptism and Jesus’.  ↩

  3. Steven E. Runge, Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis, 31 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010).  ↩

My Upcoming Semester

The winter break is finally over and it is time to begin the next semester. It is hard to believe that this will be my 4th semester at SBTS. I will be taking the following classes:

  1. Patristic Latin (Dr. Haykin): I am looking forward to this class for multiple reasons. As I continue in my studies I hope to integrate more of the Church Father’s writings in my exegesis. They provide a sea of valuable theological insights into scripture that we look over today. The book list for this class is: John Collins – A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin and Keith Sidwell – Reading Medieval Latin.
  2. Greek Exegesis of James (Dr. Plummer): I just took Greek Exegesis of Matthew with Dr. Pennington and James has much overlap with the Sermon on the Mount and the sayings of Jesus. It will be interesting to study how James integrates Jesus’ teaching in his own wisdom writing. I am also interested in seeing James’ idea of spiritual wholeness or “τέλειος”. I have blogged briefly on this idea (here and here) and am contemplating on writing my paper on some aspect of this theme in James. If any of you have any thoughts or ideas on this subject, let me know either in the comments or email. For those interested I have also put together a vocabulary PDF for James. It has the vocabulary broken down by paragraph, chapter, and also a cumulative list. We will be using Doug Moo’s commentary on James and the new exegetical guide to James by Chris Vlachos. In preparation for the class I also read Richard Bauckham’s book on James, which I highly recommend for anyone studying James. I also picked up a discourse analysis commentary on James by William Varner. I hope to learn some about this topic while going through James this semester.
  3. Christian Preaching (Dr. Prince): This class in association with the 9Marks conference. Book list for this class consist of R. Albert Mohler – He is not Silent, Peter Adam – Speaking God’s Words, and Dennis Johnson – Him We Proclaim
  4. Church History II (Dr. Haykin): I have heard great things about Dr. Haykin’s teaching here on campus. This will be my first semester under his teaching and I am looking forward to learning from him. We are using a variety of books but the bulk of the reading comes from Introduction to the History of Christianity
  5. Greek Exegesis of Mark (audit) (Dr. Vickers): I will be auditing this class since I am already in one exegesis class along with my first semester of Latin. I look forward to sitting through this class and doing some of the work (just not the exegetical paper) and seeing the different theological emphasis between Mark and Matthew. The book list for this class is R.T. France’s commentary on Mark and Jonathan Pennington’s new book on the Gospels, Reading the Gospels Wisely, which I highly recommend as a wonderful introduction on reading the Gospels as Holy Scripture.

This semester should be an excellent one. Throughout the semester most of my blogging will probably be through James and Mark. I am hoping to read some of the early Church’s writing on each of these books so I will also include some thoughts on their interpretations as I read them.