King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Mark 1

The office of John the Baptist. (1-8) The baptism and temptation of Christ. (9-13) Christ preaches and calls disciples. (14-22) He casts out an unclean spirit. (23-28) He heals many diseased. (29-39) He heals a leper. (40-45)

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The office of John the Baptist

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

The baptism and temptation of Christ

9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Christ preaches and calls disciples

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

19 And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

He casts out an unclean spirit

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.

27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

He heals many diseased

29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.

34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

He heals a leper

40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. The beginning of the Gospel. The Greek word[1] and Latin derived from it, signifies the good news, or happy tidings about Christ’s coming and doctrine. The word gospel is from the Saxon, God’s spell, or good spell, i.e. God’s word, or good speech. Wi. — Some are of opinion that the termination of the first verse should be pointed with a simple comma, thus connecting it with the sequel; and the Greek text seems to favour this sentiment. According to the punctuation of the Vulgate, the first verse is merely the inscription or title.

Ver. 2. In Isaias, the prophet. That in the ancient copies was read Isaias, and not Malachy, is confirmed by the Syriac version, and also by S. Irenæus, Origen, S. Jerom, &c. It is also proved from an objection of Porphyrius, who says, S. Mark mistook Isaias for Malachy. In the ordinary Greek copies at present, we read in the prophets, not naming either Isaias or Malachy. The words seem taken partly out of one, and partly out of the other. These words, behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee, are found Malac. iii. v. 1. And the following words, a voice of one crying in the desert: prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths, are is Isaias, c. xl, v. 3. Wi. — In the beginning of his gospel, S. Mark alleges the authority of the prophets, that he might induce every one, both Jew and Gentile, to receive with willingness what he here relates, as the authority of the prophets so highly respected was very great. S. John is here styled an angel, on account of his angelic life, and extraordinary sanctity; but what is meant by, who shall prepare thy way, is, that S. John is to prepare the minds of the Jews, by his baptism and preaching, to receive their Messias. Theophylactus. See in Mat. xi. 10.

Ver. 3. See Mat. iii. 3.

Ver. 4. For the remission of sins. Some commentators think from this that the baptism of John remitted sins, though he says in another place, I baptize you with water, but there has stood one amongst you, who will baptize you with water and the Holy Ghost, to shew that he did not baptize with the Holy Ghost, without which there is no remission of sin. This apparent difficulty will be easily reconciled, if we refer this expression to the word penance, and not baptism; so that by penance their sins were to be washed away, and there were baptized to shew their detestation of their former life. Jans. Concord. Evang.

Ver. 6. See Matt. iii. 4. — Wild honey. Rabbanus thinks it was a kind of white and tender leaf, which, when rubbed in the hand, emitted a juice like honey. Suidas thinks it was a kind of dew, collected from leaves of trees, and was called manna. But S. Chrys. Theophy. Euthy. and Isidore, with greatest probability, think it was honey collected by wild bees, in the fissures of rocks, or in the holes of decayed trees, which was insipid and unpleasant to the taste. Tirinus.

Ver. 7. One mightier than I. The precursor does not yet openly declare our Lord to be the Son of God, but only one mightier than himself. The Jews were not prepared to receive his coming; he therefore wisely led them by degrees to the knowledge of what divine Providence had designed them; he yet secretly assures them that he is the Son of God. I have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. Now it is evident that none but God can bestow upon man the grace of the Holy Ghost. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 9. See notes on our Saviour’s baptism, Matt. iii. — That Christ was baptized by immersion, is clear from the text; for he who ascended out of the water must first have descended into it. And this method was of general use in the Church for 1300 years, as appears from the acts of councils and ancient rituals. It is imagined by some, that in the very spot of the river Jordan, where the ark stood whilst the Israelites passed over, our Lord (the ark of the covenant of grace) was baptized by S. John.

Ver. 10. Spirit. The epithet Holy is not found in most of the Greek MSS. but it is in John i. 32. and 33.

Ver. 11. The Greek printed copies, and some MSS. read with S. Matt. (iii. 17.) in whom, en o, ita. S. Chrys. Euthym. and Th. Some few, however, have en soi, in thee, with the Syriac and Latin text. P. — All the Fathers cite these verses for a proof of the Trinity: the testimony of the Father speaking, of the Son receiving the testimony, of the Holy Ghost descending in the shape of a dove. P. in Matt. iii. 17.

Ver. 12. Into the desert. For the description of this desert, &c. read Maundrel’s Travels, or extracts therefrom in Rutter’s Evangelical Harmony. Vol. i. p. 169.

Ver. 13. The Greek does not express the forty nights, but we find it in S. Matt. iv. 2.

Ver. 15. As if he were to say: To this day the Mosaic law has been in full force, but henceforth the evangelical law shall be preached; which law is not undeservedly compared to the kingdom of God. Theophy. — Repent, therefore, says our Saviour, and believe the gospel; for if you believe not, you shall not understand; repent, therefore, and believe. What advantage is it to believe with good works? the merit of good works will not bring us to faith, but faith is the beginning of good works. S. Jerom.

Ver. 16. We must observe that what S. Luke mentions, relative to the vocation of the apostles, is antecedent in point of time to what is here related by S. Mark; since it is known that these disciples on some occasions returned to their fishing, until Jesus called them to be his constant attendants. Theophylactus.

Ver. 24. The Greek text has here the same as in Luke iv. 34, Let us alone. V. — I know who thou art. It is a common opinion, that the devil did not know for certain that Jesus was the true Son of God. Yet S. Mark’s words, both in this and v. 34, seem to signify he did know it. Wi.

Ver. 25. Christ would not suffer the devils to be produced as witnesses of his divinity; the author of truth could not bear the father of lies to bear testimony of him. Hence Jesus threatened him, in order to teach us never to believe or put our trust in demons, whatever they may foretell. S. Chrys.

Ver. 26. Tearing him: not that the devil tore the poor man’s limbs or body; for S. Luke (iv. 35.) expressly tells us, that the devil hurt him not. It means no more, than that he shook him with violent agitations. Wi.

Ver. 27. It is observed by S. Justin, (Apol. i. 54.) that the discourses of Jesus were short and concise. S. Chrys. (in hom. xlviii. in Matt.) says, that Christ here accommodated his preaching to his hearers, and to his subject. The ancients differ as to the length of time employed by Christ in the ministry of the word. It is most probable that he spent about three years in announcing to the world his heavenly doctrines. In the first year of his preaching, he seems not to have met with any great opposition; and on this account it may have been called, by the prophet Isaias, the acceptable year. Sandinus. — What is this new doctrine? In the Greek, This new manner of instructing. See below, xiv. 2, and xii. 38.

Ver. 30. It appears from S. Mark and S. Luke, that the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law and the other sick, here mentioned, happened after the preceding narrative, and probably on the same day. But S. Matt. does not observe this order; for having related that Jesus, after the sermon on the mount, entered Capharnaum, and healed the centurion’s servant, he hence takes occasion to mention this and the other miracles, which he had omitted, and which Jesus had wrought at his first coming to Capharnaum. Rutter.

Ver. 34. The devils knew that it was Christ, who had been promised for so many ages before; for they saw him perform the wonders which the prophets had foretold of him; yet they were not perfectly acquainted with his divine nature, or otherwise they never would have persecuted to death and crucified the Lord of glory. S. Aug. — But Christ would not permit them to declare that they knew him. V. — See Luke iv. 41.

Ver. 44. It was not the intention of Christ, that he should not tell any body; had that been his wish, he would easily have realized it: he spoke thus purposely, to shew us that we ought not to seek the empty praises of men. He bade him also offer the sacrifices prescribed, because the law remained in full force till the passion of Christ, in which was offered a perfect sacrifice, that did away with all the legal sacrifices. Nic. de Lyra.


[1] V. 1. Euaggelion, Evangelium, bonum nuncium.