“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,
1:4 In the wilderness 8 John the baptizer 9 began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 10 1:5 People 11 from the whole Judean countryside and all of Jerusalem 12 were going out to him, and he was baptizing them 13 in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 1:6 John wore a garment made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 14 1:7 He proclaimed, 15 “One more powerful than I am is coming after me; I am not worthy 16 to bend down and untie the strap 17 of his sandals. 1:8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
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).
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.
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
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.”
4 tc Instead of “in Isaiah the prophet” the majority of
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.
6 sn This call to “make his paths straight” in this context is probably an allusion to preparation through repentance.
8 tn Or “desert.”
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]).
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.
11 tn Grk “And the whole Judean countryside.” Mark uses the Greek conjunction καί (kai) at numerous places in his Gospel to begin sentences and paragraphs. This practice is due to Semitic influence and reflects in many cases the use of the Hebrew ו (vav) which is used in OT narrative, much as it is here, to carry the narrative along. Because in contemporary English style it is not acceptable to begin every sentence with “and,” καί was often left untranslated or rendered as “now,” “so,” “then,” or “but” depending on the context. When left untranslated it has not been noted. When given an alternative translation, this is usually indicated by a note.
13 tn Grk “they were being baptized by him.” The passive construction has been rendered as active in the translation for the sake of English style.
14 sn John’s lifestyle was in stark contrast to many of the religious leaders of Jerusalem who lived in relative ease and luxury. While his clothing and diet were indicative of someone who lived in the desert, they also depicted him in his role as God’s prophet (cf. Zech 13:4); his appearance is similar to the Prophet Elijah (2 Kgs 1:8). Locusts and wild honey were a common diet in desert regions and locusts (dried insects) are listed in Lev 11:22 among the “clean” foods.
15 tn Grk “proclaimed, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
16 tn Grk “of whom I am not worthy.”
sn The humility of John is evident in the statement I am not worthy. This was considered one of the least worthy tasks of a slave, and John did not consider himself worthy to do even that for the one to come, despite the fact he himself was a prophet.
17 tn The term refers to the leather strap or thong used to bind a sandal. This is often viewed as a collective singular and translated as a plural, “the straps of his sandals,” but it may be more emphatic to retain the singular here.