Mark 12:32
And the scribe said to him, Well, Master, you have said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
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(32) Well, Master, thou hast said the truth.—Better, Well hast Thou said truly that there is one God. The words seem intentionally repeated from Mark 12:14, but are uttered now, not with the covert sneer of the hypocrite, but in the sincerity of admiration. Note also the real reverence shown in the form of address, “Master,” i.e., “Teacher, Rabbi.” He recognises the speaker as one of his own order. This, and all that follows, is peculiar to St. Mark, and is an addition of singular interest, as showing the existence among the scribes of some who accepted our Lord’s teaching as to the spiritual meaning of the Law, and were able to distinguish between its essence and its accidents.

Mark 12:32-34. The scribe — Who had proposed the question to try him, being struck with the solidity and spirit of his answer, said, Well, Master — In the original it is, καλως, excellently, finely, or beautifully; a phrase which expresses his high satisfaction in the reply much more strongly than the word well. Thou hast said the truth — Thy declaration is perfectly correct, and unspeakably important; for there is one God, &c., and to love him with all the heart — To love and serve him with all the united powers of the soul, in their utmost vigour; and without a rival; and to love his neighbour as himself — To maintain the same equitable and charitable temper and behaviour toward all men, as we, in like circumstances, would wish from them toward ourselves, is a more necessary and important duty, and a more acceptable service, than the offering the most noble and costly sacrifices; nor could the most exact and pompous ritual observances be acceptable without such graces and virtues as these. When Jesus saw that he answered discreetly — And thereby showed that he had just views of true religion; he said, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God — He applauded the piety and wisdom of the scribe’s reflection, by declaring, that he was not far from embracing the gospel, and becoming a true member of Christ’s Church, possessed of all the blessings belonging to his disciples. Reader, art thou not far from the kingdom of God? Then go on: be a real Christian; else it had been better for thee to have been afar off.12:28-34 Those who sincerely desire to be taught their duty, Christ will guide in judgment, and teach his way. He tells the scribe that the great commandment, which indeed includes all, is, that of loving God with all our hearts. Wherever this is the ruling principle in the soul, there is a disposition to every other duty. Loving God with all our heart, will engage us to every thing by which he will be pleased. The sacrifices only represented the atonements for men's transgressions of the moral law; they were of no power except as they expressed repentance and faith in the promised Saviour, and as they led to moral obedience. And because we have not thus loved God and man, but the very reverse, therefore we are condemned sinners; we need repentance, and we need mercy. Christ approved what the scribe said, and encouraged him. He stood fair for further advance; for this knowledge of the law leads to conviction of sin, to repentance, to discovery of our need of mercy, and understanding the way of justification by Christ.This answer of the scribe is not found in Matthew.

Is more than all - Is of more importance and value.

Discreetly - Wisely, according to truth.

Not far from the kingdom of God - Thou who dost prefer the "internal" to the "external" worship of God - who hast so just a view of the requirements of the law - canst easily become a follower of me, and art almost fit to be numbered among my disciples. This shows that a proper understanding of the Old Testament, of its laws and requirements, would prepare the mind for Christianity, and suit a person at once to embrace it when presented. One system is grafted on the other, agreeably to Galatians 3:24.

And no man after that durst ask him any question - That is, no one of the scribes, the Pharisees, or the Sadducees durst ask him a question for the purpose of "tempting" him or entangling him. He had completely silenced them. It does not appear, however, but that his "disciples" dared to ask him questions for the purpose of information.

32. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master—Teacher.

thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he—The genuine text here seems clearly to have been, "There is one," without the word "God"; and so nearly all critical editors and expositors read.

See Poole on "Mark 12:29" And the Scribe said unto him,.... This reply of the Scribe, is not related by Matthew:

well, Master, thou hast said the truth: what thou hast said is truth, and thou hast expressed it in a most beautiful manner: the Scribe was charmed with his answer, and could not forbear speaking in commendation of it, and even before the multitude, and those of his own sect: this was a rare and uncommon instance; it was not usual with the Scribes and Pharisees, whatever convictions they were laid under, either by the miracles or discourses of Christ, to own any thing, or make any concessions in his favour, or speak in his praise: but this man not only commends him, but gives reasons for it, and confirms the doctrine he taught in his own words;

for there is one God, and there is none other but he. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, leave out the word "God"; but it is in the Greek copies, and rightly retained in other versions: for the sense is, that there is one God, and but one; and which is perfectly agreeable to the Christian doctrine, of a Trinity of persons in the Godhead; for though the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not three Gods, but one God. Nor are we to imagine, that this man said or thought any thing to the contrary, or had it in his mind to oppose the doctrine of the Trinity; which, though more clearly revealed in the New Testament, was not unknown to the ancient Jews, and might be learned from the writings of the Old Testament: but this he said, in opposition to the many idols, and fictitious deities of the Gentiles; and if he spake in the Hebrew language, as it is probable he did, there must be a beautiful "paranomasia" in his words; "for there is", "Achad, one God; and there is none", "Achar, other but he": and it is observed by a Jewish writer (y), that the reason why the last letter of, "one", is greater than the rest, as before observed, in Mark 12:29 is, that there might be no mistake of for which are much alike; and if mistook, the word would signify "another", and not "one": but this is done, lest a man should mistake, and worship "another", and not the "one" God.

(y) Baal Hatturim, ib.

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
Mark 12:32. καλῶς, ἐπʼ ἀληθείας: to be taken together = well indeed!—εἷς ἐστὶν: He is one (God understood, supplied in T.R.).Mark 12:32. Κακῶς, excellently [well]) Construe with. Thou hast said: for His “saying well” is made to rest on the truth, ἐπʼ ἀληθείας, as in Luke 4:25 [ἐπʼ ἀληθείας λέγω, I say, resting on the truth, “I say of a truth”], εἷς ἐστι καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλος πλὴν αὐτοῦ, there is One, and there is none other but He) There is One [or rather He is One], an absolute phraseology, is repeated from Mark 12:29, that is, from Moses’ writings; comp. Zechariah 14:9. The subject, Θεὸς, God, is left to be supplied, by a striking εὐλάβεια of language [reverent caution is needlessly repeating God’s name], although many have inserted this very word, Θεὸς, after ἐστί. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage.[6]

[6] AB Vulg. omit Θεὸς. D abc and Rec. Text (which prefixes ) insert Θεὸς.—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 32. - The first words of this verse should be rendered thus: Of a truth, Master, thou hast well said that he is one. In the remainder of the scribe's answer we find a different word used in the Greek for" mind," or "understanding," from that just used by our Lord. In our Lord's answer the word is διάνοια. Here it is σύνεσις. Both words are well rendered by "understanding." It is an act of understanding. It is the thought associating itself with the object, and "standing under" it so as to support it. (See Dr. Morison on St. Mark.) Well, Master, thou hast said the truth; for there is one God

All the best texts omit God.

Well (καλῶς)

Exclamatory, as one says good! on hearing something which he approves.

The truth ( ἐπ' ἀληθείας)

Incorrect. The phrase is adverbial; of a truth, in truth, truthfully, and qualifies the succeeding verb, thou hast said.

For (ὅτι)

The A. V. begins a new and explanatory sentence with this word; but it is better with Rev. to translate that, and make the whole sentence continuous: Thou hast truthfully said that he is one.

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