A Greek Analysis of Mark 1: Studies in Mark, Pt. 68

Below are some statistics from my own study of the first chapter of Mark's Gospel. Of course, this is one of sixteen chapters, so, it's only part of the picture-hence the lack of commentary on all of the details. Still, I have included a few thoughts on a number of items I found interesting in the course of my data gathering.

· 433 Words (repeats are not counted as separate words, however, derivatives are)
· 20 Most Used Terms (mostly connectives, conjunctions or pronouns—makes it clear that this is a narrative):

1. και (76)
2. εις (15)
3. εν (15)
4. αυτου (13)
5. ο (12)
6. την (12)
7. ευθυς (11)
8. αυτον (10)
9. αυτω (10)
10. τον (9)
11. του (8)
12. ην (7)
13. η (6)
14. προς (6)
15. τη (6)
16. το (6)
17. τω (6)
18. της (5)
19. λεγων (5)
20. δε (5)

· No words that begin with “ksee”, “rho” or “psi”
· 142 Nouns
· 82 Pronouns
· 30 Adjectives
· 101 Verbs
· 27 Adverbs (majority coming after 1.15)
· 94 Articles
· 61 Prepositions

It is clear from the above elements that Mark is telling a story (particularly the close amounts of pronouns, verbs and articles). I find it interesting that the majority of adverbs come after verse 15. Is this because Mark's "storytelling" intensifies here? I also find the 76 uses of "kai" of interest because so often, scholars emphasize "euthys". I know the two work together to a large degree but maybe "kai" deserves more emphasis. Also, I often hear scholars talk about how bad Mark's Greek is. Still, I am impressed at the range of words he uses in chapter 1! Anyway, what jumps out at you and why?


  1. good study. do you have electronic devices to help with this, or did you do it the old fashioned way?

    I think the thing that stands out is the use of verbs. lots of action. and "euthys" is certainly poignant, there's no doubting that.

    N.T. Wright has a good little jobby called "Mark for Everyone." good stuff.


  2. btw--were you referring to an rss feed from my blog, or somethign else?

  3. chris,
    thanks for the compliments. actually, this is all done the old fashioned way...perhaps, I will create the program that will do this work for people some day!

    You're right about euthys and even kai is used much.

    I've read the Wright book, it's pretty good. I led the congregation where I've been serving through his Galatians one.

    Per your blog, I was just shocked I hadn't added to my page reader / my rss reader. Perhaps I just forgot or something a while back.

  4. Michael,

    so now whenever I post something on my blog, you'll get notified? that's great. I'll be famous for sure!

  5. Chris,
    you're right about the notification. about the fame, not sure so about that :)

    have a good'n...

  6. Wondering if you could help me out here. I'm wondering where I could find a list of all the greek words used in Mark and where each occurence of the word is located? Any idea? Thanks :-)

  7. Larry,
    At this point, I have not come across such a reference. In fact, the point of this post was originally to go all the way through Mark and actually end up writing such a resource. Becuase of my busy-ness though, I never made it past chapter 1. I was thinking about enlisting a 5 or 6 people to try to help on the project but again, that never came to fruition.

    However, the most useful work on this may be the 1958 work of German scholar Robert Morgenthaler. He wrote a book titled: Statistik des neutestamentlichen Wortchatzes. He also wrote: Statistiche Synopse. In that book he notes that Mk. has 11,078 words, 1,345 which are different. All but 79 of Mark's 1,345 different words are found in the rest of the NT. Of these 79, 41 are found in the LXX. Mk. has 7 hapax and Peter is mentioned 25 times.

    Also, check out the work of Edward Schweizer on Mk as he uses statistics too. You may check the footnotes in those works for furhter resources.