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Jehovah’s Witnesses

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Mark 9:1-50

9  Furthermore, he said to them: “Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here who will not taste death at all until first they see the Kingdom of God already having come in power.”+  Six days later Jesus took Peter and James and John along and led them up into a lofty mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them;+  his outer garments began to glisten, becoming far whiter than any clothes cleaner on earth could whiten them.  Also, E·liʹjah with Moses appeared to them, and they were conversing with Jesus.  Then Peter said to Jesus: “Rabbi, it is fine for us to be here. So let us erect three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for E·liʹjah.”  In fact, he did not know how to react, for they were quite fearful.  And a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice+ came out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the beloved.+ Listen to him.”+  Then suddenly they looked around and saw that no one was with them any longer except Jesus.  As they were coming down from the mountain, he strictly ordered them not to relate to anybody what they had seen+ until after the Son of man had risen from the dead.+ 10  They took the word to heart,* but discussed among themselves what this rising from the dead meant. 11  And they began to question him, saying: “Why do the scribes say that E·liʹjah+ must come first?”+ 12  He said to them: “E·liʹjah does come first and restore all things;+ but how is it that it is written about the Son of man that he must undergo many sufferings+ and be treated with contempt?+ 13  But I say to you that E·liʹjah,+ in fact, has come, and they did to him whatever they wanted, just as it is written about him.”+ 14  When they came to the other disciples, they noticed a large crowd around them, and there were scribes arguing with them.+ 15  But as soon as all the crowd caught sight of him, they were astonished, and they ran up to him to greet him. 16  So he asked them: “What are you arguing about with them?” 17  And one of the crowd answered him: “Teacher, I brought my son to you because he has a speechless spirit.+ 18  Wherever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and loses his strength. I asked your disciples to expel it, but they were not able to do so.” 19  In response he said to them: “O faithless generation,+ how long must I continue with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.”+ 20  So they brought the boy to him, but at the sight of him, the spirit at once threw the child into convulsions.+ After falling on the ground, he kept rolling about, foaming at the mouth. 21  Then Jesus asked the father: “How long has this been happening to him?” He said: “From childhood on, 22  and often it would throw him into the fire and also into the water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23  Jesus said to him: “That expression, ‘If you can’! Why, all things are possible for the one who has faith.”+ 24  Immediately the child’s father cried out and said: “I have faith! Help me out where I need faith!”*+ 25  Jesus, now noticing that a crowd was rushing toward them, rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “You speechless and deaf spirit, I order you, get out of him and do not enter into him again!”+ 26  After crying out and going through many convulsions, it came out, and the child seemed to be dead, so that most of the people were saying: “He is dead!” 27  But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him up, and he stood up. 28  So after he entered into a house, his disciples asked him privately: “Why could we not expel it?”+ 29  He said to them: “This kind can come out only by prayer.” 30  They departed from there and went through Galʹi·lee, but he did not want anyone to get to know about it. 31  For he was teaching his disciples and telling them: “The Son of man is going to be betrayed* into men’s hands, and they will kill him,+ but despite being killed, he will rise three days later.”+ 32  However, they did not understand his statement, and they were afraid to question him. 33  And they came into Ca·perʹna·um. Now when he was inside the house, he put the question to them: “What were you arguing about on the road?”+ 34  They kept silent, for on the road they had been arguing among themselves about who is greater. 35  So he sat down and called the Twelve and said to them: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and minister of all.”+ 36  Then he took a young child and stood him in their midst; and putting his arms around him, he said to them: 37  “Whoever receives one of such young children+ on the basis of my name receives me also; and whoever receives me receives not me only but also Him who sent me.”+ 38  John said to him: “Teacher, we saw someone expelling demons by using your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he was not following us.”+ 39  But Jesus said: “Do not try to prevent him, for there is no one who will do a powerful work on the basis of my name who will quickly be able to say anything bad about me. 40  For whoever is not against us is for us.+ 41  And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ,+ I tell you truly, he will by no means lose his reward.+ 42  But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who have faith, it would be better for him if a millstone that is turned by a donkey were put around his neck and he were pitched into the sea.+ 43  “If ever your hand makes you stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than to go off with two hands into Ge·henʹna, into the fire that cannot be put out.+ 44  —— 45  And if your foot makes you stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame than to be thrown with two feet into Ge·henʹna.+ 46  —— 47  And if your eye makes you stumble, throw it away.+ It is better for you to enter one-eyed into the Kingdom of God than to be thrown with two eyes into Ge·henʹna,+ 48  where the maggot does not die and the fire is not put out.+ 49  “For everyone must be salted with fire.+ 50  Salt is fine, but if the salt ever loses its saltiness, with what will you season it?+ Have salt in yourselves,+ and keep peace with one another.”+


Or possibly, “kept the matter to themselves.”
Lit., “Help my lack of faith!”
Or “handed over.”

a lofty mountain: Possibly Mount Hermon, which is near Caesarea Philippi. (Mr 8:27; see study note on Mt 16:13.) It reaches a height of 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level. The transfiguration may have taken place on one of the spurs of Mount Hermon.—See App. B10.

Rabbi: Literally meaning “my great one,” from the Hebrew word rav, meaning “great.” In common usage, “Rabbi” meant “Teacher.”Joh 1:38.

a voice: The second of three instances in the Gospel accounts where Jehovah is reported as speaking directly to humans.—See study notes on Mr 1:11; Joh 12:28.

a speechless spirit: That is, an evil spirit that makes a person unable to speak.

convulsions: In this particular case, demon activity was associated with epileptic symptoms. However, the Scriptures do not imply that epilepsy is generally caused by demon possession any more than deafness and speechlessness are. (Compare Mr 9:17, 25.) Rather, Mt 4:24 reports that people brought to Jesus ailing ones who included those who were “demon-possessed and epileptic,” drawing a distinction between these two types of individuals.—See study note on Mt 4:24.

speechless and deaf spirit: That is, an evil spirit that makes a person unable to speak and to hear.

by prayer: Some manuscripts add “and fasting.” But the earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not include “and fasting.” These words were evidently added by copyists who advocated fasting and practiced it. They repeatedly included references to fasting where these were not found in earlier copies.—See study note on Mt 17:21.

a millstone that is turned by a donkey: Or “a huge millstone.” Lit., “a millstone of a donkey.” Such a millstone, likely 1.2-1.5 m (4-5 ft) in diameter, was so heavy that it had to be turned by a donkey.

cut it off: Jesus was using hyperbole. He was saying that a person should be willing to give up something as precious as a hand, a foot, or an eye rather than allow it to cause him to stumble into unfaithfulness. He was obviously not encouraging self-mutilation or implying that a person was somehow subservient to the will of his limbs or eyes. (Mr 9:45, 47) He meant that a person should deaden a body member, or treat it as if it were severed from the body, rather than use it to commit a sin. (Compare Col 3:5.) He should allow nothing to hinder him from gaining life.

Gehenna: See study note on Mt 5:22 and Glossary.

Some manuscripts read here “where their maggot does not die and the fire is not put out,” but these words do not appear in important early manuscripts. Similar words do appear in verse 48, where there is no uncertainty regarding the text. Evidence suggests that a scribe or scribes repeated the words from verse 48 in verses 44 and 46.—See App. A3.

Gehenna: See study note on Mt 5:22 and Glossary.

See study note on Mr 9:44.

Gehenna: See study note on Mt 5:22 and Glossary.

where: Referring to “Gehenna,” mentioned in the preceding verse. As shown in the study note on Mt 5:22, by Jesus’ day, the Valley of Hinnom (from which the term “Gehenna” is derived) had become a place for burning garbage. By mentioning that the maggot does not die and the fire is not put out, Jesus is evidently alluding to the prophetic words of Isa 66:24. That prophecy is not describing living people being tortured; rather, it tells what happens to “the carcasses of the men” who rebel against Jehovah. Where the fire did not reach, worms, or maggots, would breed, consuming anything not destroyed by the fire. On this basis, Jesus’ words mean that God’s adverse judgment would result, not in torture, but in complete destruction.

salted with fire: This figure of speech could be understood in two different ways. (1) If the expression is connected with the statements Jesus just made, as recorded at Mr 9:43-48, it would refer to destruction by the fire of Gehenna. Jesus might be alluding to what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, in the vicinity of the Dead (Salt) Sea, when God “made it rain sulfur and fire” on those cities. (Ge 19:24) In this context, Jesus’ statement “everyone must be salted with fire” would mean that all who allow their hands, feet, or eyes to stumble them or others into unfaithfulness would be salted with the fire of Gehenna, or eternal destruction. (2) If the expression “salted with fire” is connected with what is said next, as recorded at Mr 9:50, then Jesus may have been speaking of a fire that would come upon his followers and work for their good, promoting peaceful relations among them. In this context, everyone—that is, all his disciples—would be purified and cleansed by Jehovah’s Word, which burns up all falsehood and error, and also by the fire of persecution or trials, which test and purify one’s loyalty and devotion to Jehovah. (Jer 20:8, 9; 23:29; 1Pe 1:6, 7; 4:12, 13) Jesus may well have had in mind both of the ideas just discussed.

Salt: A mineral used for preserving and flavoring food.—See study note on Mt 5:13.

loses its saltiness: Or “loses its strength.” In Jesus’ day, salt was often obtained from the Dead Sea area and was contaminated by other minerals. If the salty portion was removed from this mixture, only a tasteless, useless residue remained.

Have salt in yourselves: Jesus evidently here uses “salt” to refer to the quality in Christians that causes them to do and say things that are in good taste, considerate, and wholesome and that tend toward preserving the lives of others. The apostle Paul uses “salt” in a similar way at Col 4:6. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of his apostles’ arguments about who would be the greatest. Figurative salt makes what a person says easier for others to accept and can thus help to preserve peace.


Mount Hermon As Seen From the Hula Valley Nature Reserve
Mount Hermon As Seen From the Hula Valley Nature Reserve

Located at the northern limit of the Promised Land, Mount Hermon is made up of several distinct peaks, the tallest of which rises 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level. These peaks form the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon range. It may have been on Mount Hermon that Jesus was transfigured.

Upper and Lower Millstones
Upper and Lower Millstones

A large millstone like the one depicted here would be turned by a domestic animal, such as a donkey, and be used to grind grain or crush olives. An upper millstone might be as much as 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter and would be turned on an even larger lower stone.

Modern-Day Valley of Hinnom
Modern-Day Valley of Hinnom

The Valley of Hinnom (1), called Gehenna in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The Temple Mount (2). The first-century Jewish temple complex was located here. The most prominent present-day structure on the temple mount is the Muslim shrine known as the Dome of the Rock.—See map in Appendix B-12.