Over time I've worked on three posts related to this passage.
- First, a smattering of Greek tid-bits that will one day become a more coherent post
- Second, an investigation into the brilliance of Mark's Greek tenses
- Third, a Tour de Force (if I do say so myself) on Mark's Greek to highlight the nature our confession
This is the first!
Mark 8:27 The verb for "asking" here is "eperota-oo"; it's cousin word "erota-oo" is also very common. The verb can also mean inquire. It is in the imperfect tense, which means that Mark here is emphasizing Jesus repeated action of asking.
8:27 Mark also awkwardly words the phrase "Who do they say I am." [Technical note: the "I" is in the accusative because it is an infinitive clause where the subject is found in the accusative]. It literally reads, "Who me saying the people (hoi anthropoi) to be?" One could probably render this more fairly in English, "As for me, who are they saying that I am," Without reading too much into this, the point here is that Jesus is drawing attention to himself before the crowds."
So, the Greek probably sounded more like this: Jesus was repeatedly asking them, "As for me -- who are the people saying I am?"
8:28 [Another technical note: If you read the Greek in this verse, many of the words have their case changed, indicated their function in the phrases. It is a good exercise of grammer to figure out why each one is in the case that it is in, even though it adds little to the translation.]
8:29 Again, the verb for Jesus speaking is in the imperfect tense: Jesus kept asking them.
Jesus also emphasizes the "you"; in Greek, pronouns are implied in the verb conjugation, but Jesus says it anyway and says it first.
Here Jesus also switches the tenses -- the disciples, in vs. 28, respond in the aorist tense (other people said you are John the Baptist), whereas Jesus asks them, in the present tense, who they say he is, suggesting this is a question they have continually or will continually be asked.
So, the Greek probably sounded more like this: Jesus kept asking them, "And as for you, what about me? Who are you saying that I am?"
8:29 One final point -- the word here that Peter uses is "Christos" which means annointed. The Hebrew for anoint is "Messiah," so Jesus Christ could have just as easily been "Jesus Messiah."
8:30 Jesus rebukes him -- the word here for rebuke is "epitima-oo," from tima, meaning honor. The word epitima-oo originally meant to bestow honor or a price on someone. This would be an awesome dilemma here...but by the time of the NT, this word no long had the honor connotations, but instead simply meant rebuke.
8:30 The word "leg-oo" is not used for the fourth time this verse!
8:31 A little side note -- Mark says, "After three days..." Luke and Matthew say "on the third day..." Also, this verse is a good verse to study accusative infinitives as well as passive construction in the infinitive...
8:32 This phrase "spoke openly" is "parrasia"; it is the only time this word is used in any of the synoptics. Everything else might be riddles, but this isn't! Also, the "this" as in "He spoke openly about this," is "ton logon." Finally, the word for speak is again in the imperfect.
So the Greek probably sounded more like this: "With great openness he continued to say to them this message."
Peter will now do the rebuking...(same verb)...this verb is used three times in this passage (30, 32, 33)
Another verb comes into play now -- "began" (arch-oo); Jesus begins to teach; Peter begins to rebuke!
8:33 Jesus here literally says "go after me" (opis-oo mou); this is the same word that Jesus spoke to Peter back in verse 1, when he invited Jesus to come after him. Perhaps less of a rebuke and more of a call to discipleship -- come after me to the cross, Satan, to die and come after me Peter to the cross and there learn what it means to be my disciple!
8:34 The verb tenses are helpful here -- deny (aparneo-mai) and carry (air-oo) are in the aorist tense, but follow (akolouthe-oo) is in the present tense.
So, to the Greek it probably sounded like: "If any of you want to follow after me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross and day-after-day follow me," (Okay day-after-day is a bit of a Lutheranism...)
8:35 To translate "apollu-mi" here as "lose" is perhaps one of the most watered down translations possible. The verb can mean lose but more likely means destroy (as in Herod wanted to destroy the child). Something more active is called for here than simply misplacing our life.
8:35 The word for life here is "psyche," showing that the "psyche" is not simply an intellectual thing, but the totality of our will and actions. Perhaps we could really shake up our listeners by saying, "If anyone wants to save their soul..."
8:37 The word here for "exchange" is "antallagma"; perhaps an illusion to Mark 10:45, where Jesus says he gives his life (psyche) as a ransom for many.