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Markus 1:1-4

Konteks
The Ministry of John the Baptist

1:1 The beginning of the gospel 1  of Jesus Christ, 2  the Son of God. 3  1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, 4 

Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way, 5 

1:3 the voice of one shouting in the wilderness,

Prepare the way for the Lord,

make 6  his paths straight.’” 7 

1:4 In the wilderness 8  John the baptizer 9  began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 10 

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[1:1]  1 sn By the time Mark wrote, the word gospel had become a technical term referring to the preaching about Jesus Christ and God’s saving power accomplished through him for all who believe (cf. Rom 1:16).

[1:1]  2 tn The genitive in the phrase τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou euangeliou Ihsou Cristou, “the gospel of Jesus Christ”) could be translated as either a subjective genitive (“the gospel which Jesus brings [or proclaims]”) or an objective genitive (“the gospel about Jesus Christ”). Either is grammatically possible. This is possibly an instance of a plenary genitive (see ExSyn 119-21; M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek, §§36-39). If so, an interplay between the two concepts is intended: The gospel which Jesus proclaims is in fact the gospel about himself.

[1:1]  3 tc א* Θ 28 l2211 pc sams Or lack υἱοῦ θεοῦ (Juiou qeou, “son of God”), while virtually all the rest of the witnesses have the words (A Ë1,13 33 Ï also have τοῦ [tou] before θεοῦ), so the evidence seems to argue for the authenticity of the words. Most likely, the words were omitted by accident in some witnesses, since the last four words of v. 1, in uncial script, would have looked like this: iu_c_r_u_u_u_q_u_. With all the successive upsilons an accidental deletion is likely. Further, the inclusion of υἱοῦ θεοῦ here finds its complement in 15:39, where the centurion claims that Jesus was υἱὸς θεοῦ (Juios qeou, “son of God”). Even though א is in general one of the best NT mss, its testimony is not quite as preeminent in this situation. There are several other instances in which it breaks up chains of genitives ending in ου (cf., e.g., Acts 28:31; Col 2:2; Heb 12:2; Rev 12:14; 15:7; 22:1), showing that there is a significantly higher possibility of accidental scribal omission in a case like this. This christological inclusio parallels both Matthew (“Immanuel…God with us” in 1:23/“I am with you” in 28:20) and John (“the Word was God” in 1:1/“My Lord and my God” in 20:28), probably reflecting nascent christological development and articulation.

[1:1]  sn The first verse of Mark’s Gospel appears to function as a title: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is not certain, however, whether Mark intended it to refer to the entire Gospel, to the ministry of John the Baptist, or through the use of the term beginning (ἀρχή, arch) to allude to Genesis 1:1 (in the Greek Bible, LXX). The most likely option is that the statement as a whole is an allusion to Genesis 1:1 and that Mark is saying that with the “good news” of the coming of Christ, God is commencing a “new beginning.”

[1:2]  4 tc Instead of “in Isaiah the prophet” the majority of mss read “in the prophets” (A W Ë13 Ï Irlat). Except for Irenaeus (2nd century), the earliest evidence for this is thus from the 5th (or possibly late 4th) century (W A). The difficulty of Irenaeus is that he wrote in Greek but has been preserved largely in Latin. His Greek remains have “in Isaiah the prophet.” Only the later Latin translation has “in the prophets.” The KJV reading is thus in harmony with the majority of late mss. On the other hand, the witnesses for “in Isaiah the prophet” (either with the article before Isaiah or not) are early and geographically widespread: א B D L Δ Θ Ë1 33 565 700 892 1241 2427 al syp co Ir. This evidence runs deep into the 2nd century, is widespread, and is found in the most important Alexandrian, Western, and Caesarean witnesses. The “Isaiah” reading has a better external pedigree in every way. It has the support of the earliest and best witnesses from all the texttypes that matter. Moreover it is the harder reading, since the quotation in the first part of the verse appears to be from Exod 23:20 and Mal 3:1, with the quotation from Isa 40:3 coming in the next verse. The reading of the later mss seems motivated by a desire to resolve this difficulty.

[1:2]  5 sn The opening lines of the quotation are from Exod 23:20; Mal 3:1. Here is the forerunner who points the way to the arrival of God’s salvation. His job is to prepare and guide the people, as the cloud did for Israel in the desert.

[1:3]  6 sn This call to “make his paths straight” in this context is probably an allusion to preparation through repentance.

[1:3]  7 sn A quotation from Isa 40:3.

[1:4]  8 tn Or “desert.”

[1:4]  9 tn While Matthew and Luke consistently use the noun βαπτίστης (baptisths, “[the] Baptist”) to refer to John, as a kind of a title, Mark prefers the substantival participle ὁ βαπτίζων (Jo baptizwn, “the one who baptizes, the baptizer”) to describe him (only twice does he use the noun [Mark 6:25; 8:28]).

[1:4]  10 sn A baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins was a call for preparation for the arrival of the Lord’s salvation. To participate in this baptism was a recognition of the need for God’s forgiveness with a sense that one needed to live differently as a response to it.



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