Mark 8: "How Is It That Ye Do Not Understand?"

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


Have you ever misunderstood the meaning of what someone said and then felt foolish about it when it was explained to you because it was so obvious? In Mark 8 Jesus’ disciples seem to have had an experience like that. The disciples may not have always understood Jesus, but they had faith in Him. This is an important idea in this chapter. Unlike the Pharisees who demanded a sign to prove to them what they did not understand, the disciples had faith and were receptive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Consider what you can learn from Mark 8 to strengthen your understanding and testimony of Jesus Christ.

Understanding the Scriptures

Mark 8

Compassion (v. 2)Feelings of love and concern 
Meat (v. 8)Food 
Generation (vv. 12, 38)Group of people living about the same time 
Charged (vv. 15, 30)Commanded 
Perceive (v. 17)Understand 
Fragments (vv. 19–20)Pieces 
Rebuke him (vv. 32–33)Disapprove of what was said 
Savourest (v. 33)Enjoy 

Mark 8:15—What Is Leaven?

Leaven (yeast) is a fungus. When a little leaven is mixed with bread dough it quickly affects all of the dough, creating bubbles and causing the bread to rise. Bread made with yeast (leavened bread) is lighter than unleavened bread, but it spoils more quickly. For this reason leaven, in scripture, is sometimes a symbol for corruption. That is what Jesus meant when he said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” At other times leaven refers to how a small amount of whatever is being spoken about can influence a large amount of something else for good or evil.

Mark 8:29–30—Why Did Jesus Not Want His Disciples to Tell Anyone He Was the Christ?

See “Understanding the Scriptures” for Matthew 16:20 (p. 24).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Mark 8.

Activity A iconSame and Different

  1. 1.

    List the ways the miracle described in Mark 8:22–26 is either the same as or different from other miracles you have read about in the New Testament (for example, compare Matthew 20:30–34).

  2. 2.

    What spiritual message could you learn from the miracle recorded in Mark 8:22–26?