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Thinking the Things of God?

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The Translation and Meaning of Mark 8:33c

image of Novum Testamentum

The words of Jesus to Peter in Mark 8:33c are widely translated along the lines of “You are not thinking the way God thinks, but the way people think.” The translation wholly obscures this idiom that was very common in Greek literature, and erroneously relocates the thrust of Jesus’ rebuke from Peter’s relationship to Jesus, to Peter’s understanding of the messianic task. Examination of the evidence of Classical and Koine Greek usage of this construction furnishes ample support for the alternative translation, “you are not on the side of God but the side of people,” a translation better suited to what follows in Mark 8:34-38.

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