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Mark 10 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Mark 10 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.

2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.

3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?

4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.

5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female."
Jesus believed that sex and Adam and Eve were created "from the beginning." But the universe is about 13.6 billion years old, the earth 4.6 billion, sex a billion years or so, and humans (depending on how you define "human") for a couple million years. AIG: The Gospel -- Evidence for Creation
The author of the SAB is quite right here. Jesus believed that Adam and Eve were created. Not evolved. Either Jesus wasn't God and he didn't know what really happened according to what the gods of our days say did happen. Or Jesus is God and was present at the creation and many of our scientists are deceiving themselves and the multitude that listens to them.

7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.

11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

(10:11-12) "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery."
If divorced people are adulterers, and the punishment for adultery is death (Lev.20:10), should we kill those who get a divorce?
Is divorce ever permissible?
Is Polygamy OK?
Jesus addresses here the case where man and wife separate for reasons other than adultery. No adultery has been committed yet, else Jesus' answer doesn't make sense. Jesus answer is clear: they commit adultery in that case. For more on this sad subject see Matthew 19:9.
On the punishment, the author of the SAB does seldom distinguish between the civil laws in the Old Testament which were for Israel only and the moral laws which are universally applicable, see Lev. 20:10. Although when need arises he can see that distinction, Luke 16:16.
On polygamy, God has never revoked his commandment of one husband and one wife. It has been practised in Biblical times, that's why we find descriptions of such events. But the careful reader will note that none of these marriages is ever described as happy.

12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

"Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."
Is it good to be childish?
Be like a child in the sense of having the trust and innocence of a child does not mean to be childish, see Matthew 18:3.

16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

17 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?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

"Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."
Jesus says that no one is good except for God. He also seems to be saying he is neither good nor God.
Has there ever been a perfect person?
Is anyone good?
(10:18)"There is none good but ... God."
Is Jesus God?
(10:19) When Jesus lists the Ten Commandments, he only mentions five -- the humanistic ones that make no mention of God. He also gives one that is not included in the so-called Ten Commandments: "defraud not." What was Jesus' sixth commandment?
The Ten Commandments: Jesus couldn't name them all either.
(10:19) "Do not kill, do not steal."
To kill or not to kill
Is it OK to steal?
The author of the SAB suggests that Jesus “seems to be saying he is neither good nor God.” But the opposite is true. Jesus says to the man that came to him: “I know you don't believe I am the Son of God. But only God is good, so if you really mean to say that I am good, you're saying I am God. Do you realise that?” It is a gentle rebuke as Jesus knows the heart of this man.
The link to perfect.html does not exist at the time of this writing (4 December 2006), so I can't address that question. Perhaps the author of the SAB actually meant to link to just.html?
On the question if anyone is good, it depends on the meaning of good. A person can be called good in the sense of obeying God commandments, giving everyone his dues, not stealing, etc.. That's the sense we find it used in Matthew 5:45 and Luke 23:50 for example. The man who came to Jesus in this verse no doubt had that in mind: good in the relative, moral sense. Might have a few mistakes, but better than others. But Jesus turns the tables here and uses good in the sense as it is used by Is. 64:6: good in the absolute sense. The source of all good, without sin, without uncleanness. No person is without sin. Only God is.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

There are six “humanistic” commandments, on the number see Matthew 19:18. Jesus does not seem to mention here the last: “thou shalt not covet.” But instead he says: “Defraud not.” Matthew quotes (Matthew 19:18) Jesus as saying “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”. It seems that Jesus dwelt a bit longer on the tenth commandment, probably explaining it in different words and that each of the evangelists quoted a portion of that explanation. John Gill writes on “defraud not”:

defraud not, wrong no man of his property, either by force or fraud ... it is an explanation of the tenth command, "thou shalt not covet"; signifying, that a man should be so satisfied with his own condition, as not to desire another's goods, or, by any means, seek to lessen them to enlarge his own.

I don't think it is necessary to comment on the assertion that if you are for the death penalty, you are somehow in favour of killing.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

The author of the SAB also contents in his comment (verse 18) that Jesus did not mention the first four commandments. But Jesus does. Right in this verse.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

(10:23-25) "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
(Rich people don't go to heaven.)
What the Bible says about rich people
Never in the Bible is it asserted that rich people don't go to heaven. Abraham was rich, David was rich, just to mention two examples. And this verse doesn't say it either. It says that people can be hindered by their riches to go to heaven.

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

"With God all things are possible."
Can God do anything?

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

(10:29-30) "He shall receive an hundredfold"
Abandon your wife and family and Jesus will give you a big reward.

30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,

33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:

(10:33-34) "They ... shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again."
Jesus explains again (see 8:31) to his disciples about his death and resurrection. Yet John (20:9) claims that the disciples "knew not ... that he must rise again from the dead."
Did Jesus tell the disciples about his death and resurrection?
Having been told and knowing are two different things. The disciples were told, but didn't understand it, didn't believe it, and would have none of it, see Matthew 16:22. That can be clearly seen in John 20:9 if the full quote is given, not the portion the author of the SAB quotes:

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.


34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

(10:42-43) "But so shall it not be among you."
Does God approve of slavery?
This verse isn't about slavery at all. It is about earthly rulers, kings and princes who have domains and dominions in this world and rule over them. This should not be the case amongst Christians. They should not rule one over another. Their kingdom was and is not of this world. And no, the pope didn't get the message but happily tries to rule over all Christians and over his earthly domain, previously the Holy Roman Empire, luckily now just the small Vatican.

43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

"The Son of man came ... to give his life a ransom for many."
Was Jesus a ransom for many or for all?
Many, men of all walks of life. See 1 Tim. 2:6 for the meaning of all in the context of that verse.

46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

"As he went out of Jericho ... blind Bartimaeus ... sat by the highway side begging."
How many blind men were healed near Jericho?
When was the man (or men) healed?
Does Mark say one and only one blind man was healed? No. But see Matthew 20:30 on the question of when and how many beggars were healed.

47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.