Mark 5:36 Be not afraid, only believe.

KJV Verse: 

Mark 5:36 Be not afraid, only believe.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

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

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

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.

KJV Analysis: 

Be...afraid "Be...afraid" is translated from a Greek verb that means "to terrify" and "to put to flight," but in the passive, it means to be put to flight and be frightened. When applied to people, it means to "be in awe of" or "dread." It is not a command, as you would think from the KJV. The form is not passive, but someone acting on themselves, "frighten yourselves". 

not The "not" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used. This is the form used with commands. 

only "Only" is an adjective that means "alone,""solitary," "only," "single," "unique," "made in one piece," "without [someone]," "only [something]", "unique", "one above all others," and "on one condition only."  The Greek word for "only" has an additional meaning that we don't have in English. It means "one above all others," so belief only has to be the foremost of our feelings. So, while we can have many conflicting feelings, the goal is to put our feeling of faith in God above all the others.

believe. The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. However, since Jesus uses it as the opposite of "fear," the idea is closer to that of "confidence," another common translation of the Greek word.  The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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: 

Front Page Date: 

Jul 17 2019