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Mark 5:36 Be not afraid, only believe.
KJV Verse:

Mark 5:36 Be not afraid, only believe.

Greek Verse:

MAPKON 5:36 Μὴ φοβοῦμόνον πίστευε.

Literal Alternative:

Don't want to frighten yourself. Solely, have confidence

Hidden Meaning:

This line is spoken to a father as Jesus is going to kill a sick child after a servant shows up saying that he is no longer needed because  the girl is deal. Notice how Jesus consistently uses the Greek word translated as "fear" as the opposite of the word translated as "belief." This means that the "belief" word might be better  translated as "confidence." We saw this also in a recent verse, Mark 4:40. This moves his idea of "fear" closer to the idea of doubt. Doubt and fear lead to inaction, which is what the servant suggests because the girl is dead. Confidence leads to action. Conflating this idea of "faith" with religious faith seriously misses the point.

This isn't the only time that Jesus uses the term for "belief" with the term for "only." He did it in Matthew 21:21 describing his power to wither a fig tree. When confidence becomes the strongest of our feelings, miracles become possible. We also see the word for "only" in Luk 8:50, which is another version of this same story. This is therefore another example of how two Gospel writers pick the same rarely used word to describe the same concept.


Μὴ (partic) "Not" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. --

φοβοῦ, (verb 2nd sg pres imperat mp) "Be afraid" is phobeo, which means to "put to flight." "terrify", "alarm", "frighten," and in the passive, "be put to flight", "be seized with fear," be frightened", "stand in awe of" (of persons)", "dread (of persons)," and "fear or fear about something." 

μόνον (adj sg neut acc) "Only" is monos, which means "alone,""solitary," "only," "single," "unique," "made in one piece," "without [someone]," "only [something]", "unique", "one above all others," and "on one condition only."

πίστευσον, (verb 2nd sg pres imperat act) "Do you...believe" is pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person", "to believe in someone's words", "to comply", "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing." --

Related Verses:

Luke 8:50 Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

Mark 4:40 Why are you so fearful?

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About this Site

I started this project over a decade ago. The initial goal was to satisfy my own curiosity about how the original Greek of Jesus's words was translated into English comparing it to my work in translating ancient Chinese. 

This site does not promote any religious point of view about Christianity. I purposely use nonreligious sources for Greek translation.  My goal is simply to identify how Jesus used words. His use of Greek words somewhat unique since his words were spoken, not written.

The range of quality of the articles on this site reflects that it is a personal site, not a commercial one. No one proofreads my work. Some articles are over a decade old when I knew much less ancient Greek. Matthew articles are best since I have updated them all at least once. The ones in Mark are the oldest and poorest. Luke is not yet complete.