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Mark 1:23 Commentary - Mr. D's Notes on Selected New Testament Books by Stanley Derickson

23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

The term translated synagogue does not relate to the usual thought of the American mind of a synagogue - a building where Jewish people meet. The word is like the word translated “church”

- the assembly of people rather than the building that they meet in. The church today is the building in most cases and this is indeed very sad. The Scripture is clear that the church is the assembly, the body, the people, not the bricks and mortar.

However today the church is seldom seen as the people, if it isn't seen as the building it is seen as the organization or hierarchy of the leadership. The organization today must survive as well as the building, but don't sweat the people, they are replaceable in most leaders minds. Many Christian organizations are in save the organization mode rather than minister to the people mode.

It is of note that Mark relates the proper context to the word by the phrase "was in their synagogue" which indicates it was the people’s assembly rather than THE assembly.

"Unclean" is usually translated thusly, but is also translated "foul" which is used of foul weather in Mat 16:3; of a foul spirit in Mar 9:25; and of foul spirits in Rev 18:2 "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."

"Cried out" has the thought of raising a cry from the depths of the throat. Not just a whimper or crying, but a cry of total desperation if not fear. This man was in a terrible situation and the Lord opened His heart to assist him in his plight.

You might notice a difference between vs. 23 and 24 in the number of spirits. One says "an unclean" while the next verse mentions us and we. Verse 23 actually does not give indication of number in the Greek. It simply states that there was a man with unclean spirit. The Luke passage follows Mark almost identically. The man had unclean spirit and the spirit identifies himself as plural. From the outward appearance singular might have been the image. Unless the spirits identified themselves to the outside world, the ravings of one possessed might well seem to be just a single spirit.

On the other hand, Christ deals with a singular spirit. It could be that he was dealing with the one that spoke and communicated with Him, but more likely he was dealing with the Devilhimself and other spirits, but Christ knew that it was the Devil that he must deal with in this situation. In verse twenty-six the emphasis shifts back to a singular which would fit the idea that it was the Devil that was under attack, even if there were other spirits involved.

Just a note of information in verse twenty six the term translated "came out" is the word that "exorcism" comes from.

It is of note that the Mark passage mentions the spirit "tore" the man and cried and then came out. The Luke account however mentions "he came out of him, and hurt him not." (Luk 4:35) The term torn in our language indicates the tearing as in parting of one into two. The tearing of the seat of your pants indicates the fabric is separated, while the Greek term relates to convulse or spasmodic contraction. Jerk might be a better word than torn in our particular time and culture.

The cry was a different word than in verse 23. This word relates to the cry of a raven or to croak. This wasn't the same deep down cry but rather a voice to the finish of the possession. Not altogether quiet, but the raven is quite a different sound.

Consult other comments:

Mark 1:23 - Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Mark 1:23 - The Greek Testament

Mark 1:23 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Mark 1:23 - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Mark 1:23 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Mark 1:23 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Mark 1:23 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Mark 1:23 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Mark 1:23 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Mark 1:23 - Mr. D's Notes on Selected New Testament Books by Stanley Derickson

Mark 1:23 - Expositors Bible Commentary

Mark 1:23 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Mark 1:23 - The Expositor’s Greek Testament by Robertson

Mark 1:23 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Mark 1:23 - Geneva Bible Notes

Mark 1:23 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Mark 1:23 - Gnomon of the New Testament

Mark 1:23 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

Mark 1:23 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Mark 1:23 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Mark 1:23 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Mark 1:23 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Mark 1:23 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Mark 1:23 - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary

Mark 1:23 - Church Pulpit Commentary

Mark 1:23 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Mark 1:23 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Mark 1:23 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Mark 1:23 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Mark 1:23 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Mark 1:23 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Mark 1:23 - Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

Mark 1:23 - Combined Bible Commentary

Mr. D's Notes on Selected New Testament Books by Stanley Derickson