What does Mark 8:16 mean?
ESV: And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread.
NIV: They discussed this with one another and said, 'It is because we have no bread.'
NASB: And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.
CSB: They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread.
NLT: At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.
KJV: And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.
NKJV: And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “ It is because we have no bread.”
Verse Commentary:
Those combing the Bible for tiny questions, in an effort to discredit it, will compare this verse with Mark 8:14 and declare the Bible unreliable. It is true that they had one loaf of bread that they found in the boat, possibly left over from Jesus feeding the four thousand in Decapolis. If so, it's very possible it was at best stale and at worst soggy from water that splashed into the boat. Another possibility is that Mark is using hyperbole because the loaf of bread is too small to make a dent in the appetites of thirteen men. At that time, a "loaf" of bread was flat and about the size of a dinner plate. Such provisions would not have gone far.

The exact measurement of the edible food within the boat is not Mark's point. He wishes to point out that, once again, the disciples have set off without sufficient food, and that by now this should not be something that should concern them. As Jesus will point out, within the last few months, they have watched Him turn a few loaves and a handful of dried fish into a meal for thousands—twice (Mark 5:68; 8:5–7)! But instead of handing Jesus the bread and asking Him to make sandwiches, they "discuss" amongst themselves.

The disciples now face the same issue that Jesus did during His first temptation (Matthew 4:1–4): they want bread but need a stronger relationship with God. When Jesus fed the five thousand (Mark 6:30–44), He did so only after the people had listened to Him. He knows that seeking physical comfort can distract us from what God has planned for us (John 6:26), which is why He refused to turn the stones into bread when Satan tempted Him. This is not to say we're never to care for our physical needs, or adopt deliberately harsh lifestyles (Colossians 2:20–23). What we should avoid is inappropriate pursuit of the physical at the expense of our greater spiritual needs.

Here, Jesus turns the physical truth into a metaphor. The teachings of the Pharisees and the Herodians serve as a red herring that easily distract the people—and potentially the disciples—from God's truth. We must be careful to prioritize God's work in us and God's truth over ease and comfort.
Verse Context:
Mark 8:14–21 is the fourth of a series of stories about bread and righteousness, in which the disciples again miss Jesus' point. ''Bread'' represents God's provision, whether that be literal (Mark 6:30–44; 8:1–9), or metaphorical (Mark 7:24–30). The Pharisees are careful to ensure nothing, even themselves, make their literal bread unclean (Mark 7:1–5). But Jesus warns that spiritually, their teaching acts as tainted leaven that permeates God's truth and fundamentally changes its constitution. The disciples get confused and think He's scolding them about forgetting to bring rations. Matthew 16:5–12 also records this account. Luke 12:1–3 speaks of the leaven of the Pharisees as hypocrisy.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter describes another miraculous feeding of thousands by Jesus. He also counters the hard-hearted and selfish hypocrisy of the Pharisees in seeking even more miraculous signs. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus rebukes their short memories and reminds them about God's intent to provide for His followers. After healing a blind man, Jesus accepts Peter's proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah. Almost immediately, though, Jesus rebukes Peter for resisting the idea that the Messiah must suffer and die.
Chapter Context:
Mark 8 continues Jesus' attempts to teach the disciples God's plan for the Messiah. Jesus has not come for the religious Pharisees but for the meek who willingly respond to Him. He has not yet come as the glorious and victorious champion of Israel, but to die for the whole world. And His followers must also be willing to sacrifice their lives. The chapter marks a turning point in Jesus' ministry as His miracles grow fewer and His teaching increases. Interestingly, Jesus also faces a repeat of the temptations He experienced in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11).
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/26/2024 6:58:11 AM
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