Mark 1:1 Commentary - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary
Mar 1:1-4 . As our canonical Matthew has a superscription of his first section , so also has Mark. This, however, does not embrace merely Mar 1:1 , but ὡς γέγραπται … τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ belongs also to the superscription , so that with Mar 1:4 the section itself (which goes on to Mar 1:8 , according to Ewald to Mar 1:15 ) begins. It is decisive in favour of this view, that with it there is nothing either to be supplied or to be put in parenthesis, and that it is in the highest degree appropriate not only to the simplicity of the style, but also to the peculiar historical standpoint of the author, seeing that he places the beginning of the Gospel, i.e. the first announcement of the message of salvation as to the Messiah having appeared leaving out of view all the preliminary history in which this announcement was already included in strictness only at the emergence of the Baptist; but for this , on account of the special importance of this initial point (and see also the remarks on Mar 1:21-28 ), he even, contrary to his custom, elsewhere appends a prophetic utterance, in conformity with which that ἀρχή took place in such a way and not otherwise than is related in Mar 1:4 ff. Moreover, in accordance with this, since the history of that ἀρχή itself does not begin till Mar 1:4 , the want of a particle with ἐγένετο , Mar 1:4 , is quite in order. Comp. Mat 1:2 . If, with Fritzsche, Lachmann,  Hitzig, Holtzmann, we construe: ἈΡΧῊ … ἘΓΈΝΕΤΟ ἸΩΆΝΝΗς ΒΑΠΤΊΖΩΝ , then Ὡς ΓΈΓΡΑΠΤΑΙ Κ . Τ . Λ . becomes a parenthetical clause, in which case the importance of the Scripture proof has not due justice done to it, and the structure of the sentence becomes too complicated and clumsy for the simplicity of what follows. If we take merely Mar 1:1 as the superscription either of the first section only with Kuinoel and others, or of the entire Gospel with Erasmus, Bengel, Paulus, de Wette, and others, then ὡς γέγραπται becomes protasis of ἘΓΈΝΕΤΟ Κ . Τ . Λ . , but thereby the citation, instead of being probative of the ἈΡΧΉ laid down by Mark, becomes a Scripture proof for the emergence of John in itself , and in that way loses its important bearing, seeing that this emergence in itself did not need any scriptural voucher at all, and would not have received any, in accordance with Mark’s abstinence from adducing Old Testament passages. Finally, if we supply after Mar 1:1 : ἦν , the beginning … was, as it stands written (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Vatablus, Maldonatus, Jansen, Grotius, and others), doubtless the want of the article with ἀρχή is not against this course (see Winer, p. 113 [E. T. 154]), nor yet the want of a ΓΆΡ with ἘΓΈΝΕΤΟ an asyndeton which would rather conduce to the lively impressiveness of the representation (comp. Joh 1:6 ); but it may well be urged that the supplying of ἮΝ is unnecessary , and even injurious to the vivid concrete representation. Moreover, in the very fact that Mark just commences his book with the emergence of the Baptist, there is ingenuously (without any purpose of contrast to other Gospels, without neutral tendency, or the like) exhibited the original type of the view which was taken of the Gospel history, a type which again, after the terminus a quo had been extended in Matthew and Luke so as to embrace the preliminary histories, presents itself in John, inasmuch as the latter, after his general introduction and even in the course of it (Mar 1:6 ), makes his historical commencement with the emergence of the Baptist. Undoubtedly, traditions of the preliminary history were also known to Mark; in leaving them unnoticed he does not reject them, but still he does not find in them lying as they do back in the gloom prior to the great all-significant epoch of the emergence of John the ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγ .
Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ] See on Mat 1:1 . When the genitive with ΕὐΑΓΓ . is not a person , it is always genitive of the object , as εὐαγγ . τῆς βασιλείας , τῆς σωτηρίας κ . τ . λ . (Mat 4:23 ; Eph 1:13 ; Eph 6:15 , al. ). If Θεοῦ is associated therewith, it is the genitive of the subject (Mar 1:15 ; Rom 1:1 ; Rom 15:16 , al. ), as is the case also when μου stands with it (Rom 2:16 ; Rom 16:25 ; 1Th 1:5 , al. ). But if Χριστοῦ is associated therewith (Rom 1:9 ; Rom 15:19 ; 1Co 9:12 , al. ), it may be either the genitive subjecti (auctoris ) or the genitive objecti , a point which must be determined entirely by the context. In this case it decides (see Mar 1:2-8 ) in favour of the latter. Taken as genitive subjecti (Ewald: “how Christ began to preach the gospel of God”), τοῦ εὐαγγ . Ἰ . Χ . would have reference to Mar 1:14 f.; but in that case the non-originality of Mar 1:2-3 is presupposed.
ΥἹΟῦ Τ . ΘΕΟῦ ] not as in Mat 1:1 , because Mark had primarily in his view Gentile-Christian readers;  see Introd. § 3. This designation of the Messiah is used in the believing consciousness of the metaphysical sonship of God (comp. on Mat 3:17 ), and that in the Pauline and Petrine sense (see on Matt. p. 65 f.). The supernatural generation is by ΥἹΟῦ Τ . ΘΕΟῦ neither assumed (Hilgenfeld) nor excluded (Köstlin); even Mar 6:3 proves nothing.
ἘΝ ἩΣΑΐΑ ] The following quotation combines Mal 3:1 and Isa 40:3 . In this case, instead of all sorts of hypotheses (see them in Fritzsche), we must abide by the simple admission, that by a mistake of memory (of which, indeed, Porphyry made a bitter use, see Jerome, ad Mat 3:3 ) Mark thought of the whole of the words as to be found in Isaiah, a mistake which, considering the affinity of the contents of the two sayings, and the prevalence of their use and their interpretation, is all the more conceivable, as Isaiah was “copiosior et notior” (Bengel). A different judgment would have to be formed, if the passage of Isaiah stood first (see Surenhusius, καταλλ . p. 45). Mat 27:9 was a similar error of memory. According to Hengstenberg, Christol. III. p. 664, Mark has ascribed the entire passage to Isaiah, because Isaiah is the auctor primarius , to whom Malachi is related only as auctor secundarius , as expositor. A process of reflection is thus imputed to the evangelist, in which, moreover, it would be sufficiently strange that he should not have placed first the utterance of the auctor primarius , which is held to be commented on by that of the minor prophet.
As to the two passages themselves, see on Mat 3:3 ; Mat 11:10 . The essential agreement in form of the first citation with Mat 11:10 cannot be used, in determining to which of the two evangelists the priority is due, as a means of proof (Anger and others, in favour of Matthew; Ritschl and others, in favour of Mark); it can only be used as a ground of confirmation, after a decision of this question has been otherwise arrived at. Just as little does the quotation form a proof for a primitive-Mark , in which, according to Holtzmann and others, it is alleged not to have held a place at all.
ἘΓΈΝΕΤΟ ] might be connected with βαπτίζων (Erasmus, Beza, Grotius, Kuinoel, and others), see Heindorf, ad Plat. Soph. p. 273 f.; Lobeck, ad Aj. 588; Kühner, II. p. 40. But the mention of the emergence of the Baptist is in keeping with the beginning of the history.  Hence: there appeared John, baptizing in the desert . Comp. Joh 1:6 ; 1Jn 2:18 ; 2Pe 2:1 ; Xen. Anab. iii. 4. 49, iv. 3. 29, al. Comp. ΠΑΡΑΓΊΝΕΤΑΙ , Mat 3:1 , and on Phi 2:7 . As to the desert (the well-known desert), see on Mat 3:1 .
ΒΆΠΤΙΣΜΑ ΜΕΤΑΝΟΊΑς ] a baptism involving an obligation to repentance (see on Mat 3:2 ), genitive of the characteristic quality.
εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτ .] Comp. Luk 3:3 . The aim of this baptism, in order that men, prepared for the purpose by the μετάνοια , should receive forgiveness of sins from the Messiah. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus. This is not an addition derived from a later Christian view (de Wette, comp. Weiss in the Stud. u. Krit. 1861, p. 61), but neither is it to be taken in such a sense as that John’s baptism itself secured the forgiveness (Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 606; Ewald). This baptism could, through its reference to the Mediator of the forgiveness who was approaching (Joh 1:29 ; Joh 1:33 ; Joh 3:5 ; Act 2:38 ), give to those, who allowed themselves to be baptized and thereby undertook the obligation to repentance, the certain prospect of the ἄφεσις which was to be received only through Christ promising, but not imparting it. Matthew has not the words, the passing over of which betrays an exercise of reflection upon the difference between John’s and the Christian baptism.
 The conjecture of Lachmann ( Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 84, and praefat. II. p. vi.), that vv. 2, 3 are a later interpolation, is critically quite unwarranted. According to Ewald and Weizsäcker, p. 105, ver. 2 f. is not from the hand of the first author, but is inserted by the second editor; in opposition to which, nevertheless, it is to be remarked that similar O. T. insertions, which might proceed from a second hand, are not found elsewhere in our Gospel. According to Holtzmann, p. 261, only the citation from Isaiah appeared in the primitive-Mark, and the evangelist further added the familiar passage of Malachi. In this way at all events, as he allowed simply ἐν Ἡσαΐᾳ to stand, he would have appropriated to Isaiah what belongs to Malachi; and the difficulty would remain unsolved. There is therefore no call for the appeal to the primitive-Mark.
 The absence of υἱοῦ τ . Θεοῦ in א , two min., and some Fathers (including Iren. and Or.) has not so much critical importance as to warrant the deletion of these words by Tischendorf (ed. maj. viii.). In his Synopsis, Tischendorf had still rightly preserved them. The omission of them has just as little dogmatical reason as the addition would have had. But ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγ , as in itself a complete idea, was taken together with the following ὡς γέγρ ; and thence all the genitives, Ἰ . Χ . ὑ . τ . Θ ., which could be dispensed with, were passed over the more readily by reason of the homoeoteleuta. So still in Ir. int. and Epiph. Others allowed at least Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ to remain, or restored these words Besides, υἱοῦ τ . Θεοῦ is precisely so characteristic of Mark’s Gospel in contradistinction to that of Matthew, that it could scarcely proceed from a transcriber, as, in fact, the very oldest vss. (and indeed all vss.) have read it; for which reason merely a sporadic diffusion is to be assigned to the reading without υἱοῦ τ . Θεοῦ .
 Ewald (comp. Hitzig) connects ἐγένετο with κηρύσσων , reading ὁ βαπτίζων in accordance with B L Δ א (comp. Mar 6:14 ), and omitting the subsequent καί with B, min. “John the Baptist was just preaching,” etc. The critical witnesses for these readings are not the same, and not sufficiently strong; there has evidently been an alteration in accordance with Mat 3:1 . Tischendorf has rightly reverted to the Recepta.
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Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary
Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (1800 - 1873) was a German Protestant divine. He wrote commentaries on the New Testament and published an edition of that book.