Mark 8:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 8:17, NIV: Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: 'Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?

Mark 8:17, ESV: And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?

Mark 8:17, KJV: And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

Mark 8:17, NASB: And Jesus, aware of this, *said to them, 'Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet comprehend or understand? Do you still have your hearthardened?

Mark 8:17, NLT: Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, 'Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don't you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?

Mark 8:17, CSB: Aware of this, he said to them, "Why are you discussing the fact you have no bread? Don't you understand or comprehend? Do you have hardened hearts?

What does Mark 8:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus is trying to teach important spiritual truths about false teaching and an individual's responsibility to evaluate religious leaders. Yet, the disciples discuss why they do not have enough to eat. Jesus abandons His intended lesson and goes back to the basics, using the Socratic method of teaching to lead the disciples to accept what they should already know. His first goal is to help them realize how hard-headed they are being.

"Perceive" is from the Greek root word noeo and means to catch an idea, think about it, and then act on it. "Understand" is from the Greek root word suniemi and means to reconcile different data points to come to a conclusion. Jesus is accusing the disciples of being unable to process what they have experienced.

"Hearts" is from the Greek root word kardia. It is the center of life, emotions, impulses, desire, and ultimately character. "Hardened" is from the Greek root word poroo and literally means to be covered with a thick callus like an elephant foot. Metaphorically, that callus covers the heart and mind so a person is mentally and spiritually dull.

This charge is more serious than merely being mentally incompetent. Having a hardened heart is at least partially a choice. Jesus is challenging the disciples to consider if they are intentionally rejecting the teaching He has given them. They have received more training than anyone else (Mark 4:11), and yet they are in danger of rejecting Jesus and who He is just like the Pharisees and Herodians who fear Jesus for His threat to their power.