Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of Mark/Chapter 8

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Background Information[edit]

Mark 8: An Overview[edit]

It would not be unfair to call Mark the essential Gospel. William Barclay

Jesus had compassion on people who had been following Him so that they could listen to His teaching. He was concerned with people’s physical well being as well as their spiritual well-being. Jesus was going to show His disciples that they had to have faith. The disciples at first did not believe that it was possible to get enough bread to feed all the people; buying that much bread would have been near impossible in the remote place they were. The people had followed Jesus so long that they ran out of food.

Jesus provided food for everyone with the little that was given to him. When everyone was finished eating, Jesus and His disciples left for another place. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus with a question, but He did not fall into their trap.

Jesus tried warning His disciples about the bad teaching of the Pharisees, but the disciples did not get what Jesus was saying. Even though Jesus performed a miraculous feeding of a multitude two different times, the disciples still did not understand. Jesus wants his disciples to understand what he is doing, yet they are unable to understand at this point. The disciples were rather dull for most of the time while He was with them. Even though Jesus made it as clear as possible, the disciples did not fully understand the implication of what Jesus was talking about.

In Bethsaida, when Jesus healed a blind man, Jesus did not want the blind man to tell anyone who he was. This could have been because Jesus did not want the Pharisees to have any ideas which they could stretch to call Jesus blasphemous. After all, Jesus was the Son of God, but it was not the right time for it to be revealed. Jesus wanted His disciples to know who He was, but they were unable to understand on their own. After Peter said that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus openly talked about what He would suffer in Jerusalem before His death. Peter became upset that Jesus was talking about His death, so he rebuked Him.

Jesus reprimands Peter for talking as though Satan was talking through him instead of speaking as one who knew God. This brought Jesus into a discussion about the things of God and the things of people. The things of God are not understandable to people. However, people must follow God’s law and not be ashamed of God. Following God is more important than following one’s own desires.

Historical Context[edit]

Notes on the Background of Mark 8[edit]

People helped each other out as far as social relations go; reciprocity was the norm. If one person helped someone with political support, they returned the favor by perhaps providing hospitality if you were traveling (pg 63). People of different social levels all used this system, except for the poor. The poor generally did not have anything that they could offer in exchange for help they received, so other people did not usually help the poor. “’Charity’ in the modern sense was virtually unknown (Stambaugh 64[1]).” Most Jews who lived during the time of Jesus’ life lived in small towns. Families lived in apartment type things, and many families lived near each other.

There were other traditions that had stories similar to the one of the blind man healed in Mark 8:22-26 (Boring 175[2]).

The disciples were unable to fully understand what Jesus intended by what he talked about prior to his death and resurrection (Achtemeier 547[3]). Who is Mark?' What do we know about the author of the book of Mark? The New Testament tells us he was the son of a Mary from Jerusalem and their family was part of the early church. In fact their home was a meeting place for the early church. So, from the beginning Mark was brought up in Christian fellowship. (Barclay, William. pg. 3) Mark was also the nephew of Barnabas and accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip. However, this did not go well for Mark. When they reached the town of Perga he left Paul and Barnabas and went back home. This proved to be a breaking point between him and Paul. Paul felt he had withdrawn from the mission and would not allow him to journey with them again. This disagreement about Mark caused Paul and Barnabas to break up and journey alone.

However, Mark reemerges years later in prison with Paul. Paul then counts him to be a significant member in this call for Christ. In fact, Paul writes this about Mark, "Take Mark and bring him with you: for he is a most useful servant to me." (2 Timothy 4:11)

It is said that Mark got his information from the preaching of Peter. That is he recorded what he heard of the preaching of the gospel of Peter and that is why it is the first Gospel to appear shortly after Peter's death in AD 65. [4]

Literary Context[edit]

The book of Mark is part of the Narrative genre of literature.

Outline of Mark chapter 8[edit]

  • The Feeding of the Four Thousand
    • The Crowd Following Jesus is Without Food
      • Jesus has Compassion for the Crowd
        • The Disciples Ask How to Feed the Crowd
          • Jesus Tells Asks the Disciples to Give Him the Seven Loaves
        • Jesus Gives Thanks to God for the Bread
          • The Disciples Give the Bread to the Crowd
        • Jesus Thanks God for the Fish
          • The Disciples Give the Fish to the Crowd
    • The Crowd is Satisfied After Eating
      • The Disciples Gather Seven Baskets Full of Leftover Bread
    • Jesus Sends the Crowd to Their Homes
  • The Pharisees Demand a Sign from Jesus
    • Jesus and His Disciples Go by Boat to Dalmanutha
      • Pharisees Come to Question Jesus
        • The Pharisees Want Jesus to Show them a Sign to Test His Authority
          • Jesus is Dismayed at the Unbelief of the Pharisees
        • Jesus Will Not Give The Pharisees a Sign
      • Jesus Leaves the Pharisees
    • Jesus and His Disciples Go Back to the Other Side
  • The Disciples and Bread
    • The Disciples Forgot to Take Bread
      • Jesus Warns the Disciples Against the Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod
        • The Disciples Do Not Understand What Jesus is Talking About
          • Jesus Knows the Disciples Do Not Understand
            • Jesus Reminds the Disciples of the Miraculous Feedings
          • The Disciples Answer Jesus’ Questions and Show they Still Do Not Understand
        • Jesus Wants the Disciples to Understand
  • A Blind Man Healed by Jesus
    • In Bethsaida, People Bring a Blind Man to Jesus
      • The People Want Jesus to Heal the Blind Man
        • Jesus Takes the Blind Man Out of the Village
        • Jesus Spits on the Eyes of the Blind Man and Lays His Hands on Him
          • The Blind Man Can See People that Look Like Trees Walking
      • Jesus Again Lays His Hands on the Blind Man
        • The Blind Man Looks Hard
          • The Blind Man Can See People Clearly
        • Jesus Sends the Man back to His House
  • Jesus Predicts His Death
    • Jesus and His Disciples Go to the Area Around Caesarea Philippi
      • Jesus Asks His Disciples Who People Say He Is
        • The Disciples Respond that People Say Jesus is Elijah, John the Baptist, or One of the Prophets.
      • Jesus Asks His Disciples Who They Say He Is
        • Peter Says that Jesus is the Christ
    • Jesus Tells His Disciples to Not Tell Anyone Who He Is
      • Jesus Begins to Teach His Disciples
        • Jesus Tells His Disciples about His Death and What He Will Suffer
        • Jesus Tells His Disciples that He Will be Raised to Life after Three Days
          • Peter Rebukes Jesus
          • Jesus Rebukes Satan Who is Speaking Through Peter
      • Jesus Speaks to the Crowd and to His Disciples
        • If Anyone Wants to Follow Jesus, He or She Must Give Up His or Her Own Desires
          • People Who Try to Save Their Life Will Lose It
        • People Do Not Gain Anything if They Lose Their Soul
        • People Cannot Exchange Anything for Their Life
        • If Anyone is Ashamed of Jesus, Jesus Will be Ashamed of Him When He Comes in His Father’s Glory

Parallel Mark 6 "The Feeding of the Five Thousand" with Mark 8 "The Feeding of the Four Thousand[edit]

Holston's comparison of the two feeding miracles in Mark.jpg

2The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Mk 8:1-10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

  • The first miraculous feeding has a larger introduction to the story than does the story of the second miraculous feeding.
  • Jesus and his apostles are trying to be alone in the first miraculous feeding story, but in the second miraculous feeding story, the crowd has been with Jesus for a few days.
  • The reason the crowd was with Jesus was different for both stories.
  • The disciples are the ones with the idea of providing food for the crowd in the feeding of the 5,000; Jesus is the one who wants to provide food for the people in the feeding of the 4,000.
  • The time of day is not mentioned in the account of the feeding of the 4,000.
  • The disciples suggest the crowd goes and buys food for themselves in the feeding of the 5,000; Jesus is going to provide the food for the crowd in the feeding of the 4,000.
  • In both stories Jesus asks, “How many loaves do you have?”
  • In the feeding of the 5,000, the disciples did not know right away when Jesus asked how many loaves there were; in the feeding of the 4,000, the disciples answered Jesus without first having to check how many loaves they had.
  • Jesus initiates the action in the feeding of the 4,000, but the disciples are the ones who first mention the crowd to Jesus in the feeding of the 5,000.
  • The feeding of the 4,000 does not mention how the crowd sat down like the feeding of the 5,000 does.
  • In both accounts, Jesus hands the bread and fish to his disciples for them to give to the people.
  • In the feeding of the 5,000 the bread and fish are handed out together; in the feeding of the 4,000 the bread is handed out, then the fish is handed out.
  • The feeding of the 5,000 mentions that there were “five thousand men," but the feeding of the 4,000 says that there were “four thousand people,” not distinguishing the gender of the people.
  • The feeding of the 5,000 account does not mention Jesus dismissing the crowd.

Textual Variants[edit]

There are textual variants in verses 7, 10, 26, 29, 35, and 38. They do not change the overall meaning of this passage, but they are still variants that affect the reading of the passage. Most of the variants are ones that are probably intentional, because the text reads easier with the words taken out than with the word left in. The change in v.26 is one that makes the text easier to read, so that was something that was probably added, too. "The omission of the pronoun [in verse 7] may have been caused by discomfort over the inclusion of a direct object (the fish) rather than leaving it to be assumed that God is 'blessed', though the same idiom occurs clearly in Lk. 9:16; 1 Cor. 10:16 (France, 305)[5]".


Word Study: "Bread"[edit]

Use in the OT[edit]

The Hebrew word for bread did not only refer to what we think of as bread, but it included anything made with grains. The type of grain used depended on the location the grain was grown, since different areas produced different kinds of grain. "Bread" referred to solid foods in general. In addition to leavened and unleavened bread, the word also referred to porridges and other cereals. Bread was important in the Old Testament. It was a central part of every meal, and most families baked their own bread. Since it was a main part of every meal, the phrase "to eat bread" came to mean that people were going to share a meal together. Bread was always seen as a gift from God. During the 40 years that the Israelites wandered the desert, God provided them with manna, a bread-like substance. There are some idoms that use the word bread, showing that bread was not insignificant in the OT. [6]

Use in the NT[edit]

"The term artos, "bread," occurs nearly 100 times in the NT (Reed 779[7])." The Greek word for "bread" has both a singular and a plural form, unlike English, in which "bread" is both the singular and the plural form. Within the New Testament, specifically in John chapter 6, Jesus is referred to as the "bread of life" (cf. John 6:25, 33, 35, 48, 51). Since Jesus is the bread, there is no one who will go hungry. There is enough bread for both the Jews and the Gentiles alike. However, here are at least three events recorded in Mark where the disciples do not think there is a sufficient amount of bread (cf. Mark 6:37; 8:4, 16). As in the Old Testament, bread was a main part of people's diet during the New Testament times. [8].

Word Study: "Seven"[edit]

Seven is a very significant word in the Bible. It is often used to show perfection or completion.

Use in the OT[edit]

There were seven Noahic commandments, which were commandments for all of humankind. (Guelich)

Use in the NT[edit]

Greek "hepta" The number seven is in the Bible 735 times in the Bible. The Bible itself is divided into seven different sections: 1) the Law 2) the Prophets 3) the Writings or Psalms 4) the Gospels and Acts 5) the General Epistles 6) the Epistles of Paul 7) the book of Revelation.[9]

Mark 8 paralleled with the other Gospels[edit]

Obvious similarities and differences between Mark 8 and the other Gospel’s parallels[edit]

Holston-Image2.jpg Holston-Image3.jpg Holston-Image4.jpg Holston-Image5.jpg Holston-Image6.jpg

  • Mark (8:1 "another") mentions that a similar situation has happened previously, but Matthew (the only other Gospel with the story of the feeding of the four thousand) does not mention anything about that.
  • In Matthew (15:33), the disciples question where they can get enough bread to feed everyone, but in Mark, the disciples do not ask from where they are going to get bread.
  • Mark’s account shows Jesus giving the bread to everyone, and once they had bread then the fish was distributed (8:6, 7). Matthew (15:36) shows Jesus giving out the fish and the bread at the same time.
  • Matthew mentions that the count of four thousand only included the men, but not women and children. Mark mentions only that there were four thousand people.
  • Mark and Matthew have different names for the place where Jesus went after he dismissed the crowd.
  • Mark’s gospel tells that Jesus got into the boat with his disciples, but Matthew’s does not mention the disciples.
  • Luke does not specify who came to test Jesus by asking or demanding a sign from heaven, but Mark and Matthew both mention the Pharisees. Matthew also says the Sadducees came. John’s gospel does not say who asked Jesus for a sign.
  • In Mark, the Pharisees began to argue with Jesus, but the other gospels do not mention the Pharisees arguing with Jesus.
  • Mark is the only one that mentions Jesus sighing deeply in his spirit.
  • Mark’s account of the Pharisees asking for a sign is significantly shorter than Matthew and Luke’s accounts. Mark’s account does not include Jesus saying that the people can interpret the appearance of the sky, which is included in the other gospels.
  • Matthew says that the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread when they reached the other side; Mark’s version implies that while they were still in the boat the disciples realized they had forgotten bread.
  • Mark tells us that the disciples had only one loaf of bread; Matthew does not mention the disciples having any bread at all.
  • Luke places Jesus speaking about the yeast of the Pharisees at a place where crowds are gathering while he says this, but Mark and Matthew do not mention crowds at this point in the story.
  • Matthew reiterates Jesus warning the disciples of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees; Mark only tells us of Jesus saying that once.
  • Mark does not mention the disciples understanding what Jesus was talking about, but Matthew tells us that the disciples “then…understood”.
  • The entire story of the blind man whom Jesus healed in Mark 8 is not included in any of the other gospels. The other gospels certainly have stories of Jesus healing blind men, but not stories that describe what the blind man sees before his eyes are fully healed.
  • The Synoptic Gospels differ in the location of Jesus and his disciples when he asked them others’ view of who he was. Mark and Matthew both place in around Caesarea Philippi, although Mark says Jesus asked his disciples on the way there, while Matthew says that Jesus asked his disciples when they were there. Luke tells us that Jesus asked his disciples that question when he was praying alone with his disciples around him.
  • The question is worded a bit differently in each of the gospels. Jesus’ question in Mark is the most broad; in Matthew Jesus refers to himself in the third person, and in Luke, Jesus asks specifically what the crowds say about Jesus.
  • Matthew’s version of what happened at this time is longer than the other gospels’. John has a bit more parallel to Matthew at some points here than do Mark and Luke.
  • Mark tells us that Jesus began to teach his disciples about what he would have to go through, but Matthew says that Jesus began to show his disciples, and Luke tells us that Jesus was saying that to his disciples.
  • Jesus said these things quite openly according to Mark’s account, but neither Matthew nor Luke say anything about that.
  • Mark tells us Jesus’ words about being ashamed of him in this generation, but Matthew and Luke do not mention that.

Inductive questions and observations[edit]

  1. Would the crowd following Jesus not have brought food with them? Or did they not have anything to eat because they ran out of food and did not want to leave Jesus to go get more food?
  2. What does it mean when Jesus says he has compassion for the crowd?
  3. Did the crowd not have food at all for the three days they were with Jesus? Or did they only recently run out of food?
  4. How long is considered a great distance?
  5. If some people “have come from a great distance”, and the people had been with Jesus for three days, did Jesus continue traveling along as he taught the people? Was that the reason why they were far from their homes? Or did the people travel far to begin with?
  6. The disciples asked if it was possible to feed the people with bread. Did the disciples think it might have been possible to feed the people with something else?
  7. Does the number seven have any significance? Any particular reason why there are exactly seven loaves of bread?
  8. What was the significance of breaking bread? Does breaking bread mean that it is broken into pieces the size of one’s mouth, or in pieces that would be enough for one person to have only one piece, or does it mean that it was broken in half?
  9. How would the disciples have distributed the bread to the crowd? 12 men for 4,000 people sounds like the disciples were very much outnumbered. Would the people have passed the bread around? Maybe taken enough for them to eat and then passed the rest of the bread onto the next person?
  10. Is there a difference between giving thanks for something (i.e. the bread) and blessing something (such as the fish)?
  11. Why were there seven baskets of pieces left over? Again, is seven a significant number?
  12. When the passage says that the people ate and were filled, does that mean they ate enough so that they would not faint while they were walking home, or did they eat enough so that they had no more room to eat anything else?
  13. Why did Jesus sent the people away immediately after they finished eating? Did Jesus want to send them away before, but could not because he feared them fainting along with way due to lack of food?
  14. When the passage says Jesus immediately got into the boat, does that mean Jesus got into the boat while the crowd was still dispersing, or does that mean that getting into the boat was simply the next thing Jesus did?
  15. Why would the Pharisees have begun to argue with Jesus? Does that mean Jesus argued back, since an argument needs two parties involved in order to be an argument? Or did the Pharisees come trying to start an argument?
  16. Why is a sign from heaven a test for Jesus?
  17. How does the gospel writer know that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit?
  18. Was Jesus distressed? Or frustrated that the Pharisees were trying to pick a fight?
  19. Jesus did not give a reason as to why no sign would be given to that generation.
  20. When this pericope does not mention the disciples at all. Did the disciples remain in the boat? Or did they just not have much of a role in this dialogue, which is why there were not mentioned?
  21. How far does it take to go across to the other side? Would that have been a journey that took only a couple of hours? Or would it have taken all day?
  22. What is the significance of forgetting bread? What happened to the seven basketfuls of leftover bread that the disciples gather after Jesus fed the four thousand?
  23. Is it common for bread to be kept in the boat?
  24. Did Jesus use the disciples’ forgetfulness about bread as a teaching point?
  25. What is the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod? Are they different yeasts? Or are they both the same, but coming from two separate places?
  26. Would the disciples have been able to catch on that Jesus was not talking about bread, but about something different?
  27. When Jesus becomes aware of the disciples talking about bread among each other, is it because he overhead them? Or did one of the disciples ask Jesus what he meant?
  28. Did Jesus expect the disciples to know right away what he meant by his statement about the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod? Did it ever catch Jesus by surprise that the disciples did not understand?
  29. Is Jesus’ question about hearts hardened, eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear taken from the passage Isaiah wrote? Or is this something different?
  30. Is Jesus being a bit too harsh with his disciples in asking if they have eyes and fail to see, and ears and fail to hear?
  31. Why was there such a difference in the number of baskets of leftover pieces collected between feeding the five thousand and feeding the four thousand?
  32. What was it the disciples were supposed to understand?
  33. Did the people who brought the blind man to Jesus expect Jesus to be able to make the blind man see? What did the people think Jesus’ touch would do?
  34. Why did Jesus lead the blind man out of the village?
  35. Is there any significance in Jesus covering the blind man’s eyes with saliva?
  36. Does Jesus always lay his hands on someone if he wants to heal them?
  37. What do walking trees look like?
  38. Had the blind man been born blind? If so, would he have known what people or what trees looked like?
  39. Does the man looking intently have anything to do with his sight being restored?
  40. Did Jesus lay his hands on the man’s eyes the first time?
  41. Why did Jesus send the man to his home and not take him back to the village where they were went they left his friends who brought him to Jesus?
  42. Why does Jesus not want the man to go into the village?
  43. The disciples are not mentioned in this pericope. Were Jesus’ disciples present to see the blind man healed?
  44. Was Jesus truly concern with what people thought of him? Or did Jesus ask this question of his disciples to see if his disciples understood who he was?
  45. It seems that Jesus asked his disciples what other people thought of him before he asked his disciples what they thought of him so that the disciples would have time to think about their answer, to see if they agreed with what other people were saying about Jesus.
  46. Why was Peter the only one who answered Jesus? Did the other disciples not understand who Jesus was, or was Peter the spokesperson for all of them?
  47. Why did Jesus sternly order his disciples not to tell anyone about him?
  48. Did the disciples understand at all what suffering Jesus was talking about?
  49. Why did Jesus say all of this openly?
  50. How did Peter rebuke Jesus? What would the other disciples have thought?
  51. Why did Jesus look at his disciples before rebuking Peter?
  52. Was Jesus actually rebuking Satan, or was he implying that Peter was thinking as Satan would think?
  53. Was there a particular reason why Jesus called the crowd and his disciples before he began speaking to them?
  54. What does it mean for a person to deny himself or herself?
  55. How are we to take up our crosses?
  56. What is the best way to lose one’s life for Jesus’ sake and the sake of the gospel?
  57. How does one act ashamed of Jesus and his words?
  58. How will the Son of Man be ashamed?
  59. Will the Son of Man come with the Father and the holy angels?

Explanation[edit]

Verse-by-Verse Analysis[edit]

The Feeding of the Four Thousand - vv.1-9[edit]

Verse One

By saying “again”, Mark directs us to compare this event to a previous event (France 307[10]). However, in the Feeding of the Five Thousand the disciples brought Jesus’ attention to the hungry crowd, but in this story (the Feeding of the Four Thousand), Jesus is the one who makes the disciples aware of the hungry crowd (Guelich 403[11]). This passage is different from Mark's usual style since Mark does not mention Jesus changing location from where he was previously. One can infer that Jesus is in the same location, the Decapolis, as he was in the passage. The area he is in is comprised of mostly Gentiles, with only a few Jews (Lane 272[12] and Marcus 492[13]).

Verse Two

When “three days” is mentioned in Biblical or Jewish literature, it does not necessarily mean three, 24-hour days; it could mean a short time of which the length is indefinite. “The motif of the three days emphasizes the magnitude of the emergency, and it may be related to the biblical tradition that God helps his people on the third day or after three days (see e.g. Hos 6:2). But in the Markan context it may also be intended to foreshadow God’s display of eschatological saving power “on the third day”, i.e. at Jesus’ resurrection (Marcus 492[14]).” Anyway that it was, the crowd had no supplies left. They were completely out of food. Mark does not tell us exactly why the crowd was with Jesus for three days, but “in describing the crowd Mark uses a rare and intensified form of the word for “remain,” prosmenein, connoting a special adherence and commitment to Jesus (Edwards 229[15]).” Thus, we see that it was no accident that the crowd was with Jesus, but they were purposefully with Jesus. When Jesus has compassion for the people, it is more than just sympathizing with the people, but it was "gut-wrenching emotion (Edwards 230[16])" for the sake of the people. Compassion was seen as coming from deep within a person.

Verse Three

Jesus knows full well what would happen to the people if he sent them to their homes in the condition that they are currently in; the people need food in order to gain strength to travel. The west side of Lake Gennesaret, the location of the Decapolis, did not have many towns or other places where one could buy food; it was not a good area for one to have ran out of food (Edwards 230 [17]). If one had to travel within the Decapolis even a day without food, it would not be possibly after having gone three days without eating (France 307[18]). “From afar/a long distance” could be an allusion to “OT promises of a future ingathering of the people of God from such distant lands (Hurtado 122[19]).” This shows that God includes the Gentiles among his people. Since the people have been with Jesus for three days, they could be people who accompanied him from other destinations where Jesus had preached (Guelich 404[20]).

Verse Four

This verse shows again shows the theme of the disciples who do not understand who Jesus is and have not learned from previous events they experienced with Jesus (France 308[21]). The disciples’ question about where to get bread is comparable to the complaint the Israelites had in Exodus 16:3 (Marcus 488[22]).Although the disciples were there with Jesus when he fed the five thousand people (see Mark chapter 6), they are still mystified as to how Jesus plans to feed the great crowd. However, the question the disciples ask has a few purposes. First, it “emphasizes the impressiveness” of the miracle that Jesus will do by first pointing out how difficult it would be to accomplish. Secondly, it points us back to the Exodus story of the Israelites leaving Egypt and then wandering around in the desert. For a third purpose, the question of the disciples fits into the theme of the disciples not understanding (Marcus 495, 496[23]). Barclay cites the challenge the disciples feel when Jesus wants them to feed the crowd. Jesus wants the disciples to understand that all of a sudden "compassion became a challenge." Barclay says that Jesus is saying this, "Don't try to push the responsibility onto someone else. Don't try to say that you would help if only you had something to give. Don't try to say that in these circumstances to help is impossible. Take what you have and give it and see what happens." [24]

Verse Five

When Jesus asks, “How many loaves do you have?”, it is the exact same wording as the question he asks of the disciples in Mark 6:38 with the feeding of the five thousand (France 308[25]). When Jesus asks the question of the disciples, he already knows what he is going to do. The number seven is often a symbolic number in the Bible that shows perfectness or completeness (Hurtado 129[26]). Seven is also associated with Gentiles. However, if we look at the book of Mark as a whole, there are not many references to symbolic meanings like there are in John’s gospel or in particular the book of Revelation, so “in general it is unwise to load his details, and particularly his numbers, with symbolic value (Edwards 231[27]).”

Verse Six

Jesus is the one who tells the crowd to sit down in the Feeding of the Four Thousand, contrasting the disciples telling the crowd to sit down in the instance of the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Mark 6:39). When Jesus gives thanks for the bread, it is in the form of a Gentile-Christian form of prayer of blessing, as opposed to the more Jewish form found in Mk 6:41 (Edwards 231[28]). The use of the different verb used to describe the blessing may be because Mark wants to draw out a reference to the Christian Eucharist (France 308[29]). The description of Jesus taking the seven loaves and breaking them matches the role the Jewish father plays in a meal, when he breaks the bread and hands it out to people after he has said the blessing (Guelich 406[30]). When Jesus gives the bread to his disciples to give to the crowd, he is allowing them to share in the miracle, even though they did not believe it could happen (Guelich 406[31]). In this, the disciples are mediators of Jesus’ grace to the crowd. In Mark’s gospel the role of the disciples is emphasized more than in the other gospels (Marcus 488[32]).

Verse Seven

The fish almost seems like an afterthought to the bread (France 308[33], Guelich 406[34]); they were not distributed as part of the main course with the bread as they were in Mark 6:42. "Obviously the fish are a permanent part of the story, but they have been placed at the end. If they had been included earlier the parallel with the Lord's Supper would have been lost (Schweizer 157[35])." The blessing over the fish is not shared with the bread, but is a distinct blessing. This separate blessing of the fish gives the fish a more important part in the story than they would usually have in a strictly Jewish setting (Guelich 406[36]). “The prouncement of blessing over bread is the normal Jewish practice for beginning a meal, but the blessing of God’s name prior to the distribution of the fish seems to have ben intended to teach the people to thank God for their daily food (Lane 274[37]).” In the Greek text, the reference to the fish is diminutive, which Mark probably used to exaggerate that the amount of fish available would certainly not feed such a large crowd (France 309[38]).

Verse Eight

There was enough bread to fill the famished crowd, and each of the loaves also produced enough extra to fill seven baskets full of leftovers (Guelich 408[39]). The term used for “basket” in this passage is a different term that used in Mark 6:43. The word in Mark 6:43 that refers to baskets is a specifically Jewish word, but the word for basket in Mark 8:8 is a more broad term that refers to a basket used commonly in the general culture (France 309, Guelich 408, Hurtado 130, Marcus 489). This basket was big enough for a person to hide in (cf. Acts 9:25).

Verse Nine

When Mark tells us that there were four thousand people, it is not necessarily a precise number. “Four thousand seems merely to be a round number for a large group (Marcus 490[40]).” One the need of the crowd had been adequately met, Jesus dismissed the crowd. They could now go leave without danger of fainting.

The Pharisees Demand a Sign from Jesus - vv.10-13[edit]

Verse Ten

Here we see a word characteristic of Mark’s gospel: “immediately”. Mark likes fast paced action, nothing ever happens too slow. Jesus and his disciples immediately leave to another place. However, the name is the only thing we know of the place where Jesus went immediately after the feeding of the four thousand. Dalmanutha is not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament, or even in other ancient literature (Edwards 234[41]). There were most likely small fishing villages whose names were not recorded anywhere, and Dalmanutha may have been one of those villages (France 309[42]). It is not too important that we know the exact location of Dalmanutha, but what is more important is that Dalmanutha was on the western side of the lake. The western side was more Jewish (Marcus 498[43]).

Verse Eleven

There is no indication within this passage of what caused the Pharisees to come and argue with Jesus, but there must have been previous dialogue (Lane 276[44]). In the Old Testament, people asked of God. It was not a sign of disobedience, but the people who asked the sign were generally looked down upon (Marcus 498[45]). People often asked a prophet to show them a sign from heaven to prove their authority, but the true test of a prophet was if what they predicted came true (Edwards 235[46]). The Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign also alludes to the many passage in the OT where the Israelites “tempt” God by not believing the signs he has given them and yet demand more signs (Hurtado 124[47]).
Mark does not use the words sign and miracle interchangeably. Jesus did miracles throughout his whole ministry, which the Pharisees would have seen already. The Pharisees that confront Jesus here, however, would probably have been Pharisees local to the Galilean region (France 311[48]).
There are two different types of signs that one would seek. The first sign is one such as the kind the disciples were seeking in Mark 13, a sign of the end of the ages (Marcus 499[49]). The second kind is a sign that proves the authority or authenticates the one of whom the sign is demanded (Marcus 499[50]). The sign for which the Pharisees were asking was of the authentication variety, which shows the Pharisees as being Jesus’ adversaries (Hurtado 13[51]). “The request was disingenuous. … but [it was] an excuse for refusing to respond to the clear evidence already available in Jesus’ teach and ministry (France 312[52]).” The Pharisees simply wanted to test Jesus to try to disprove him. They did not care to get a response that would show who Jesus truly was.

Verse Twelve

The Greek word used for Jesus sighing deeply in his spirit is only found once in the New Testament, and in other Greek literature one can find it no more than thirty times (Edwards 236[53]). A word similar but not so intensive as “sighing deeply” or “groaning” is found in Mark 1:41, 43 (France 312[54]). This word in Mark 8:12, used intensively, indicated strong despair or dismay (Edwards 236[55]), grief or indignation (Lane 277[56]), or perhaps even deep pain that the Pharisees would not believe him (Guelich 414[57]). Jesus knew that the Pharisees were unbelieving and hostile toward him (Lane 277[58]), which is the reason why he reacted in such a way as he did.
The question Jesus asks next is a rhetorical question, no answer is meant to be had. Jesus is a bit exasperated with the Pharisees’ lack of belief. The phrase, “Truly, I tell you”, introduces a comment to which one should pay attention. This is only the second time this phrase is used in Mark’s gospel (France 313 [59]). The phrase, “this generation”, goes back to the Old Testament when the evil generation of Israelites wandered around in the wilderness for forty years because they were unbelieving (Marcus 501[60]).
The statement, “this generation will not be given a sign!”, is in a Semitic form that accentuates the strong negativity of the statement (France 313[61]). This is like a solemn oath that say, “if such and such happens, may I die!” It is a very strong statement. The speaker practically asks for a curse to come upon him if that which he says not to happen happens (Marcus 501 [62]). This is a very strong expression. Since this generation has not believed anything that Jesus has done so far, he will not give them a sign. When it says “this generation”, Jesus is not referring only to the Pharisees, but to everyone who has not believed in him. It would not make sense to give them a sign. “For those blinded by unbelief no sign could adequately reveal the nature of Jesus’ words and work (Guelich 415[63]).” Jesus does not offer something that no one will receive.

Verse Thirteen

When Jesus left the Pharisees, he was not simply going away, but it was a deliberate leaving and ending the conversation with the Pharisees, which fits with his strong statement of judgment(Guelich 415[64]). There was no reason for Jesus to stick around in places where people would not believe him. The gospel was not going to be revealed to the Pharisees, since they continued their unbelief (Lane 279[65]). Jesus now leaves the western side of Galilee to go back to the eastern side. With this move, he basically finishes his public Galilean ministry (Guelich 416 [66]).

Paraphrase of Mark 8[edit]

The Feeding of the Four Thousand[edit]

v.1 At that time the large crowd of people that were following Jesus were hungry since they ran out of food, so Jesus got his disciples to come to him and he said, v.2 I have compassion for all of these people. They have been with me for three days and now have nothing left to eat. v.3 If I send them home without having been fed, they may faint along the way. Some of them live a long distance from here. v.4 His disciples asked him, “How are we supposed to feed these people? There is not any place to get bread while we are in the desert.” v.5 Jesus asked his disciples, “How many loaves of bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven”. v.6 Then Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the grass. And taking the seven loaves, he gave thanks to God and began to break the loaves and give the pieces to the disciples. The disciples then distributed the bread to the people. v.7 They also had a few small fish. Jesus thanked God for the fish, and had the disciples hand the fish out to the people. v.8 Everyone ate and was full. And the disciples picked up the leftover pieces, enough to fill seven big baskets. v.9 About four thousand people were in the crowd that ate. Then Jesus sent them home.

The Pharisees Demand a Sign from Jesus[edit]

v.10 Immediately Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and sailed to the region of Dalmanutha. v.11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. They wanted Jesus to show them a sign from heaven, as a test of his authority. v.12 Sighing deeply in his spirit, Jesus said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? Truly, I tell you, this generation will not be given a sign!” v.13 Jesus left them, got back into the boat, and sailed to the other side.

The Disciples and Bread[edit]

v.14 The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread. All the bread they had was one loaf that was already in the boat. v.15 And cautioning them Jesus said, “watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod!” v.16 The disciples were discussing this among themselves, saying, “it is because we didn’t bring any bread.” v.17 Jesus was aware that they were discussing this, so he asked them, “Why are you worrying about bread? Do you not see? Do you not understand? Are your hearts closed off?” v.18 “You have eyes, can you not see? You have ears, can you not hear? Do you not remember v.19 when I broke the five loaves of bread and with them fed the crowd of five thousand people? How many basketfuls of leftovers did you pick up?” “Twelve”, the disciples answered. v.20 “And when I broke seven loves for the four thousand people, how many baskets of leftovers were there?” “Seven” they responded. v.21 And Jesus asked them, “Do you still not understand?”

A Blind Man Healed by Jesus[edit]

v.22 When they came to Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Jesus to touch him and heal him so that he could see. v.23 So Jesus took the man by the hand and led him out of the village. After Jesus put spit on the blind man’s eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked the blind man, “What do you see?” v.24 Looking up, the man said, “I see men that look like trees walking around.” v.25 Jesus put his hands on the man again. Then the man looked hard and realized that he could see people clearly. v.26 Jesus sent the man to his house saying, “Do not go into the village.”

Jesus Predicts His Death[edit]

v.27 Jesus and his disciples went to the towns around the area of Caesarea Philippi, and while they were going there, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” v.28 The disciples said, “Some people say you are John the Baptist, and others say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets.” v.29 But Jesus asked them, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” v.30 Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. v.31 Jesus began to teach his disciples, telling them that he would have to suffer many things, and Jewish elders and the chief priests and the teachers of the law would reject him, and how they would kill him and on the third day, he would live again. v.32 All these words Jesus spoke plainly. But Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. v.33 Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, then he said to Peter, “Get away from me Satan! You are not thinking of things of God, but you are only looking at things from a human point of view.” v.34 Jesus said to his disciples and the crowd following him, “If anyone wants to be a follower of me, he must give up his own wants and he must take up his cross and follow me”. v.35 “The person who wants to save his life is going to lose it, but the person who gives up his own life for the sake of the gospel and for my sake will save his life.” v.36 “For what profit does a person get if he or she gains the whole world yet loses his or her own soul?” v.37 “What can someone give in exchange for his or her life?” v.38 “Whoever is ashamed of me and what I’m saying in this adulterous ad wicked generation, of him the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in his Father’s glory with all his angels.” [67]

Implications[edit]

Reception[edit]

How have important historic figures in the Church viewed this passage?

Augustine (354-430) wrote a sermon based on Mark 8:5 and following. He expounded on receiving the bread that Jesus offers. He also talks about the significance of the numbers. The seven loaves of bread relate to the workings of the Holy Spirit, which is made of seven parts. The four thousand people correspond with the four Gospels by which the Church was established. Augustine makes a final comparison between the seven baskets of leftover pieces of bread and the perfection of the Church. From these comparisons, Augustine develops his sermon. [68]

When Jerome (347-420) wrote on this passage, he talked about faith. He commented on the amount of bread left over after the feeding of the four thousand (seven baskets) as opposed to the amount left over after the feeding of the five thousand (twelve baskets). Jerome says that the Gentiles had greater faith than the Jews did. “The one who is greater in faith eats more, and because he does there is less left over! I wish that we, too, might eat more of the hearty bread of holy writ, so that there would be less left over for us to learn.” [69]

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) comments on Mark 8:1 that the crowd was most likely people that were low in status, but Jesus still humbled himself and did not care about his own reputation. Jesus encouraged even the lowest, most insignificant person to come to him for life and grace. [70]

Another way Matthew Henry saw this passage was an example of Christ’s concern for people. Jesus Christ did not look at people with disdain, as the Pharisees did. But Jesus humbly looked at people with tenderness and compassion, which shows us that we should honor people as Jesus did. Jesus knows where people are coming from. [71]

John Wesley (1703-1791) sees the section on the feeding of the four thousand as something that should encourage us to eat the food Jesus offers. Jesus, the true bread that comes down from heaven, is the bread that we need. We should continually be praying to the Lord to give us this bread. We are never lacking a need for Jesus, the true bread. [72]

Influence[edit]

Salvation

The theme of Mark 8:1-9 is salvation. This salvation is not reserved for Jews only, but it is extended to Gentiles. Jesus does not limit salvation. Salvation is a common theme throughout the entire Bible. This passage contributes an understanding salvation that shows it is offered to everyone, and that Jesus gives us salvation without us having to pay for it. Within the New Testament, this passage gives us a glimpse of salvation that Jesus offers to people before they ask. Jesus has compassion on people who have needs. We do not have to tell Jesus that we are needy, since he knows it already.

Jesus extends us grace before we even ask. In Mark 8:1-9 Jesus sees the people are weak and hungry, and he extends help to them. These people were probably dirty and tired after following Jesus for three days straight, but Jesus did not ignore them. The same goes for us today. If we are weary and tired, we may not think people will come help us. However, Jesus is there to help us. He gives us his salvation for free. The crowd did not have any way to pay for the bread and the fish. There was no way that they would have even been able to get bread if they were able to pay for it, since they were in a desolate place. Jesus saw their need and fulfilled it better than they could have imagined. Even after feeding 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish (which Jesus multiplied), there were baskets of leftovers! This shows that we should trust God for our needs. If we believe in and are following God, then we know are needs are taken care of. Jesus will provide for us.

What can we do with this information?
Everyone has rough days. There are times when we have not eaten for a while, or when we have been caught in something and have not had a chance to rest for a while. We are too tired to feed ourselves. We might be afraid of fainting if we tried to help ourselves. Jesus offers us help. He will feed us spiritually. All we have to do is accept the help that Jesus offers.



  1. Stambaugh, John E., Balch, David L.; Meeks, Wayne A. The New Testament in its Social Environment Philadelphia, PA: Wesminister Press, 1986
  2. Boring, M. Eugene, Berger, Klaus, and Colpe Carsten, editors. Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament.Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1995
  3. Achtemeier, Paul J. "Gospel of Mark" Anchor Bible Dictionary. Vol. XL. David Freeman, editor. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing, 1992
  4. Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible Series. Westminister John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky 1975. 4-5.
  5. France, R.T. "The Gospel of Mark." The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 2002.
  6. Reed, Stephen A. "Bread." The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Vol. I. Pp 777-780. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing Company, 1992.
  7. Ibid
  8. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Pg 421. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  9. http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/7.html
  10. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  11. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  12. Lane, William L. “Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.” New International Commentary of the New Testament. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1974.
  13. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Edwards, James R. “The Gospel According to Mark.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  19. Hurtado, Larry W. “Mark.” New International Biblical Commentary. Vol. XX. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989.
  20. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  21. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  22. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible Series, The Gospel of Mark. Westminister John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 1975. 183.
  25. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  26. Hurtado, Larry W. “Mark.” New International Biblical Commentary. Vol. XX. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989.
  27. Edwards, James R. “The Gospel According to Mark.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  28. Ibid.
  29. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  30. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  33. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  34. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  35. Scheweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Mark. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1970
  36. Ibid.
  37. Lane, William L. “Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.” New International Commentary of the New Testament. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1974.
  38. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  39. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  40. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  41. Edwards, James R. “The Gospel According to Mark.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  42. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  43. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  44. Lane, William L. “Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.” Vol. II. New International Commentary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1974.
  45. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  46. Edwards, James R. “The Gospel According to Mark.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  47. Hurtado, Larry W. “Mark.” New International Biblical Commentary. Vol. XX. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989.
  48. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  49. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  50. Ibid.
  51. Hurtado, Larry W. “Mark.” New International Biblical Commentary. Vol. XX. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989.
  52. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  53. Edwards, James R. “The Gospel According to Mark.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  54. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  55. Edwards, James R. “The Gospel According to Mark.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  56. Lane, William L. “Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.” Vol. II. New International Commentary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1974.
  57. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  58. Lane, William L. “Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.” Vol. II. New International Commentary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1974.
  59. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  60. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  61. France, R. T. “The Gospel of Mark.” The New International Greek Testament Commentary. Vol. II. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 2002.
  62. Marcus, Joel. “Mark 1-8.” The Anchor Bible. Vol. XXVII A. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
  63. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  64. Ibid.
  65. Lane, William L. “Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.” Vol. II. New International Commentary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1974.
  66. Guelich, Robert A. “Mark 1-8:26.” Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. XXXIV A. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
  67. Versions consulted: Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament 27th Edition, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, New Living Translation, New Century Version, The Message.
  68. Augustine, Aurelius. “Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament.” A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series. Vol. VI. Philip Schaff, Ed. Sermon XLV. Pg 406. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956.
  69. Oden, Thomas C. “Mark.” Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. New Testament Vol. II. Pg 106. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998
  70. Henry, Matthew. Classic Bible Commentaries. 2009. BibleClassics.com 1 April 1, 2009 http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/mark/jfb/mark8.htm
  71. Ibid.
  72. Wesley, John. “Notes on the Gospel According to Saint Mark.” 2007. Wesley Center Online: Wesley Center for Applied Theology. Mark VIII verse 8. 31 March 2009. http://wesley.nnu.edu/john_wesley/notes/mark.htm#Chapter+VIII