Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of Mark/Chapter 5

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Provide the information in the following categories:

a. Background Information: i. Historical Context: What do contemporary readers need to know that author assumed his first readers probably took for granted? ii. Literary Context: How may the constituent parts of a given chapter be better appreciated by information about the structure of the book as a whole?

b. Explanation: i. Analysis: What does a verse-by-verse examination of the constituent words and phrases suggest about the meaning of the chapter? Consideration will be given to their use in the Old Testament and other nearly contemporary literature. ii. Paraphrase: In light of these considerations an expansive, highly interpretive paraphrase of each chapter will be offered. The paraphrase attempts to avoid technical, theological jargon so as to allow contemporary secular English readers to understand the point of the chapter.

c. Implications: i. Reception: How has this chapter been received and understood by readers across the centuries since its origin? ii. Influence: What are the apparent theological and practical implications of this chapter within the entire Christian canon of Scripture? What has this chapter contributed to the views of contemporary Christianity?


A Paraphrase:

Now Jesus and his disciples proceeded to the other side of the lake in the area of Gerasens. As they came from the boat a man with an unclean spirit approached them from within the graveyard. He was a man who could not be restrained by chains and there was no one who was strong enough to bind him. The violence he felt within himself caused him to lash out in loud cries and inflict wounds to his flesh with sharp stones that lay upon the ground.

When the man with the unclean spirit seen Jesus coming, he immediately recognized him and flung himself down at Jesus’ feet. Loudly the man asked, why do you come to me, Jesus, Son of God? Promise me you will not inflict persecution upon me! For Jesus had ordered the demon to leave the man from within the place it manifested itself.

When Jesus asked the unclean spirit what its name was, he replied, I am Legion, for we are a great multitude. The evil spirits then urged Jesus not to send them back into the abyss. Nearby, a large group of pigs were grazing, seeing this, the unclean spirit pleaded with Jesus to allow them to enter the pigs. After receiving Jesus’ consent, the unclean spirits released the man and entered into the pigs. Upon Jesus' consent, the demons withdrew from the man and entered into the large group of pigs; which was thought to consist of about two thousand.

As the demons entered into them, the pigs suddenly bolted away and flung themselves into the lake. The nearby witnesses who had been watching over the herd of pigs left the scene and brought this news to the attention of many people in the surrounding areas. When they started arriving, the people caught a glimpse of the man who was released from the manifestation of the demons. He was no longer the man filled with violence but had become peaceful.