Mark 9: "Help Thou Mine Unbelief"

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 45–46

We learned in Matthew 16 that when Jesus and His disciples were at Caesarea Philippi He promised them, specifically Peter, the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). In Matthew 17 we read about the fulfillment of that promise on the Mount of Transfiguration. Mark 9:1–13 also contains an account of that experience. After that sacred experience Peter, James, and John still needed to learn many things from the Master. As you read Mark 9, look for ways He taught them and helped increase their faith and the faith and understanding of others as well. Although the plea in Mark 9:24 to “help thou mine unbelief” was from a father who desired help for his son, it might well be the plea of anyone who believes in the Savior but recognizes the need for more faith and knowledge.
man praying, Christ in background

Understanding the Scriptures

Mark 9

Transfigured (v. 2)A condition in which a person’s body is temporarily changed so he or she can endure the presence and glory of heavenly beings 
Fuller (v. 3)A person whose business was making clothes clean and white 
Tabernacles (v. 5)Temporary shelters used for devotion and worship 
Wist (v. 6)Knew 
Save (v. 8)Except 
Scribes (vv. 11, 14, 16)Men who taught the people the meaning of the law of Moses (see Bible Dictionary, “scribe,” p. 770) 
Set at nought (v. 12)Considered to be worthless or despised 
Saluted (v. 15)Greeted 
Hath a dumb spirit (v. 17)Cannot speak 
Pineth away (v. 18)Body became weak 
The spirit tare him (v. 20)He went into convulsions 
Wallowed (v. 20)Fell down rolling around 
Rent him sore (v. 26)He had severe convulsions 
Maimed (v. 43)Physically handicapped 
Quenched (vv. 43–46, 48)Put out 
men building booth

Building a tabernacle

Mark 9:2–13—Jesus Is Transfigured on a High Mountain

See “Transfiguration, Mount of” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 786).

Mark 9:43–48—Cutting Off Your Hand or Foot, or Plucking out Your Eye

See “Understanding the Scriptures” for Matthew 5:29–30 (p. 14). The Joseph Smith Translation for Mark 9:40–48 (in the Bible appendix, pp. 804–5) also provides important insights on what Jesus meant in these verses.

Mark 9:49–50—Salt and Fire

Under the law of Moses, sacrifices were salted as a symbol of the lasting covenant between the Lord and His people. It made the sacrifice “good” to the Lord. Followers of Christ offer themselves as a living sacrifice to Him (see Omni 1:26), which sacrifice brings the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost (or the baptism of fire).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study Mark 9.

Activity A iconIncreasing Your Faith

  1. 1.

    In the story in Mark 9:14–29, what was the problem?

  2. 2.

    What did Jesus say about the problem? (see vv. 19, 23, 29)

  3. 3.

    What do you think the father meant by what he said to Jesus in verse 24?

  4. 4.

    How does this story help increase your faith or teach you how to increase your faith?

Activity B iconLearn from the Joseph Smith Translation

  1. 1.

    Carefully read the Joseph Smith Translation for Mark 9:40–48. Who does it tell us that “thy hand,” “thy foot,” and “thine eye” symbolize?

  2. 2.

    Keeping in mind the explanations from the Joseph Smith Translation, how do you think this counsel could apply today to people your age?