What does Mark 9:24 mean?
ESV: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
NIV: Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
NASB: Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, 'I do believe; help my unbelief!'
CSB: Immediately the father of the boy cried out, "I do believe; help my unbelief!"
NLT: The father instantly cried out, 'I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!'
KJV: And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
NKJV: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Verse Commentary:
This is one of the most poignant verses in the Bible, and the sentiment is shared by believers around the world and throughout history. Jesus has just told a desperate father that his son can be healed if he believes. In a display of beautiful vulnerability, the father submits what faith he has alongside his doubt and fear. He is our example of someone who understands God wants all of us, not just the holiness of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20), or the bold confidence of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24–30), or the adoration of Mary of Bethany (John 12:3). He also wants the limitations of Peter (John 21:15–19), the terrible miscalculations of Paul (1 Timothy 1:13), and whatever else we have to give, good or bad.

"Help" is from the Greek root word boetheo and means to bring aid to or comfort. The man may not have an advanced education in the power and faithfulness of God, but he knows what it is to be a father. As he would do anything he can for his son, he trusts that Jesus will do what He can for both his son and his own faith. He may not understand Jesus' power and authority, but he trusts Jesus' heart is like that of a loving father.
Verse Context:
Mark 9:14–29 follows the transfiguration, where Peter, James, and John went up a mountain with Jesus and saw a display of His glory as God. They also saw Moses and Elijah and heard God affirm Jesus as His Son. Now the three disciples and Jesus return from the mountain and find the remaining disciples arguing with Jewish scribes. The disciples have tried to expel a dangerous demon from a young boy but have been unable despite having performed exorcisms before (Mark 6:7–13). Jesus explains that to do God's work, we need faith in Him and to be empowered by Him. This section is parallel to Matthew 17:14–20 and Luke 9:37–43.
Chapter Summary:
Mark chapter 9 contains an account of Jesus' transfiguration, where three of the disciples witness Him in a glorified form. In this passage, Jesus also heals a demon-possessed boy. His teachings in this section include a prediction of His death and resurrection, and corrections to the disciples' errors on questions of pride and temptation.
Chapter Context:
Mark 9 continues Jesus' efforts to teach the disciples who He is, what He has come to do, and what their role is in His mission. The chapter begins with the transfiguration, where Peter, James, and John catch a glimpse of Jesus' glory, and ends back in Capernaum. Jesus spends most of that time teaching. Although the disciples do quarrel with the scribes, the misconceptions and errors Jesus addresses come from the disciples, themselves, not outsiders. In the next chapter, He will leave Galilee and travel toward Jerusalem and the cross.
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 6/13/2024 12:57:02 PM
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