Mark 10:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:17, NIV: "As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. 'Good teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?'"

Mark 10:17, ESV: "And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”"

Mark 10:17, KJV: "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

Mark 10:17, NASB: "As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do so that I may inherit eternal life?'"

Mark 10:17, NLT: "As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'"

Mark 10:17, CSB: "As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?""

What does Mark 10:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus and the disciples have left Capernaum (Mark 9:33) and traveled to the area on the other side of the Jordan River from Judea (Mark 10:1). This is Perea, which, along with Galilee, is ruled by Herod Antipas. The "journey" is probably from Perea through Jericho (Mark 10:46) and on to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32). This could have been as little as twenty-eight miles geographically, but it is much further emotionally. In Jerusalem, Jesus will be welcomed as a king (Mark 11:1–10) and executed as a criminal (Mark 15).

We are used to identifying the man as a "rich young ruler," but initially Mark just says, "a man." Matthew identifies him as young (Matthew 19:20) and Luke as a ruler (Luke 18:18). Mark implies that he is rich in Mark 10:22. This wealthy young man shows Jesus every honor, including calling Him "good." "Good" is from the Greek root word agathos. It encompasses what is useful, pleasant, happy, excellent, and honorable. Jews did not typically call other people "good," although Greeks occasionally did.

Jesus is in Judea or Perea, speaking to a Jewish audience that follows God and expects to inherit eternal life through the tenants of Judaism. Those tenants include having faith in God (Hebrews 11:1–2), following the Mosaic law, and performing sacrifices. The concept of inheriting eternal life is common among Jews. It implies that eternal life is something God grants but only to those who have appropriately worked to earn it. Jesus has explained they must follow the commandments in their hearts as well as their actions (Matthew 5:21–48; Mark 9:42–48). This is difficult for those who live a comfortable life on earth. Even if they follow every other commandment, the rich are constantly tempted to trust in a bank account more than in God (Exodus 20:3).