New English Translation
First Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
31 Then[a] Jesus[b] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer[c] many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law,[d] and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke openly about this. So[e] Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But after turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”[f]
34 Then[g] Jesus[h] called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower,[i] he must deny[j] himself, take up his cross,[k] and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life[l] will lose it,[m] but whoever loses his life because of me and because of the gospel[n] will save it. 36 For what benefit is it for a person[o] to gain the whole world, yet[p] forfeit his life? 37 What can a person give in exchange for his life? 38 For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him[q] when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 9 1 And he said to them, “I tell you the truth,[r] there are some standing here who will not[s] experience[t] death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”[u]
- Mark 8:31 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Mark 8:31 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 8:31 sn The necessity that the Son of Man suffer is the particular point that needed emphasis, since for many 1st century Jews the Messiah was a glorious and powerful figure, not a suffering one.
- Mark 8:31 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
- Mark 8:32 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate Peter’s rebuke is in response to Jesus’ teaching about the suffering of the Son of Man.
- Mark 8:33 tn Grk “people’s.”
- Mark 8:34 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Mark 8:34 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 8:34 tn Grk “to follow after me.”
- Mark 8:34 tn This translation better expresses the force of the Greek third person imperative than the traditional “let him deny,” which could be understood as merely permissive.
- Mark 8:34 sn To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him. Discipleship involves a death that is like a crucifixion; see Gal 6:14.
- Mark 8:35 tn Grk “soul” (throughout vv. 35-37). The Greek ψυχή (psuchē) has many different meanings depending on the context. The two primary meanings here are the earthly life (animate life, sometimes called “physical life”) and the inner life (the life that transcends the earthly life, sometimes called “the soul”). The fact that the Greek term can have both meanings creates in this verse both a paradox and a wordplay. The desire to preserve both aspects of ψυχή (psuchē) for oneself creates the tension here (cf. BDAG 1099 s.v. 1.a; 2.d,e). Translation of the Greek term ψυχή (psuchē) presents a particularly difficult problem in this verse. Most English versions since the KJV have translated the term “life.” This preserves the paradox of finding one’s “life” (in the sense of earthly life) while at the same time really losing it (in the sense of “soul” or transcendent inner life) and vice versa, but at the same time it obscures the wordplay that results from the same Greek word having multiple meanings. To translate as “soul,” however, gives the modern English reader the impression of the immortal soul at the expense of the earthly life. On the whole it is probably best to use the translation “life” and retain the paradox at the expense of the wordplay.
- Mark 8:35 sn The Greek word translated life can refer to both earthly, physical life and inner, transcendent life (one’s “soul”). In the context, if a person is not willing to suffer the world’s rejection and persecution in order to follow Jesus but instead seeks to retain his physical life, then that person will lose both physical life and inner, transcendent life (at the judgment). On the other hand, the one who willingly gives up earthly, physical life to follow Jesus (“loses his life because of me and because of the gospel”) will ultimately find one’s “soul” (note that the parallel in John’s Gospel speaks of “guarding one’s ‘soul’ for eternal life” (John 12:25).
- Mark 8:35 tn Or “for my sake and for the gospel.” The traditional rendering “for my sake” can be understood in the sense of “for my benefit,” but the Greek term ἕνεκα (heneka) indicates the cause or reason for something (BDAG 334 s.v. 1). Here the phrase “because of” was repeated before “the gospel” for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
- Mark 8:36 tn Grk “a man,” but ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is used in a generic sense here to refer to both men and women.
- Mark 8:36 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Mark 8:38 sn How one responds now to Jesus and his teaching is a reflection of how Jesus, as the Son of Man who judges, will respond then in the final judgment.
- Mark 9:1 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Mark 9:1 tn The Greek negative here (οὐ μή, ou mē) is the strongest possible.
- Mark 9:1 tn Grk “will not taste.” Here the Greek verb does not mean “sample a small amount” (as a typical English reader might infer from the word “taste”), but “experience something cognitively or emotionally; come to know something” (cf. BDAG 195 s.v. γεύομαι 2).
- Mark 9:1 sn Several suggestions have been made as to the referent for the phrase the kingdom of God come with power: (1) the transfiguration itself, which immediately follows in the narrative; (2) Jesus’ resurrection and ascension; (3) the coming of the Spirit and the inauguration of the kingdom in the present age; (4) Jesus’ second coming and the final establishment of the kingdom. The reference to after six days in 9:2 seems to some interpreters to indicate that Mark had the transfiguration in mind insofar as it was a substantial prefiguring of the consummation of the kingdom. As such, the transfiguration would have been a tremendous confirmation to the disciples that even though Jesus had just finished speaking of his death (8:31; 9:31; 10:33), he was nonetheless the promised Messiah and things were proceeding according to God’s plan. The major problem with this interpretation is that some standing here…will not experience death seems to suggest that some of the hearers would die before the arrival of the kingdom, yet there is no indication any of Jesus’ hearers died in the six days between the statement here and the transfiguration. This suggests either the coming of the Spirit as the inauguration of the kingdom or the second coming with the ultimate establishment of the kingdom are more likely referents.