4:19 He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.” 1 4:20 They 2 left their nets immediately and followed him. 3 4:21 Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a boat 4 with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. Then 5 he called them. 4:22 They 6 immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.
1 tn The Greek term ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpos) is used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women, thus “people.”
sn The kind of fishing envisioned was net – not line – fishing (cf. v. 18; cf. also BDAG 55 s.v. ἀμφιβάλλω, ἀμφίβληστρον) which involved a circular net that had heavy weights around its perimeter. The occupation of fisherman was labor-intensive. The imagery of using a lure and a line (and waiting for the fish to strike) is thus foreign to this text. Rather, the imagery of a fisherman involved much strain, long hours, and often little results. Jesus’ point may have been one or more of the following: the strenuousness of evangelism, the work ethic that it required, persistence and dedication to the task (often in spite of minimal results), the infinite value of the new “catch” (viz., people), and perhaps an eschatological theme of snatching people from judgment (cf. W. L. Lane, Mark [NICNT], 67). If this last motif is in view, then catching people is the opposite of catching fish: The fish would be caught, killed, cooked, and eaten; people would be caught so as to remove them from eternal destruction and to give them new life.
2 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
3 sn The expression followed him pictures discipleship, which means that to learn from Jesus is to follow him as the guiding priority of one’s life.
4 tn Or “their boat.” The phrase ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ (en tw ploiw) can either refer to a generic boat, some boat (as it seems to do here); or it can refer to “their” boat, implying possession. Mark assumes a certain preunderstanding on the part of his readers about the first four disciples and hence the translation “their boat” is justified (cf. also v. 20 in which the “hired men” indicates that Zebedee’s family owned the boats), while Matthew does not.
5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
6 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.