The Meaning of Mark 9:29 Explained

Mark 9:29

KJV: And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

YLT: And he said to them, 'This kind is able to come forth with nothing except with prayer and fasting.'

Darby: And he said to them, This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.

ASV: And he said unto them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.

What does Mark 9:29 Mean?

Study Notes

See, 1 Kings 18:42-45 ; Acts 13:2 The two best MSS. omit "and fasting." Cf. Matthew 17:21

Context Summary

Mark 9:2-29 - Rapture And Service
The Apostles had been gladdened by the promise of the coming Kingdom. The transfiguring light that shone from our Lord's face differed from the shining of Moses' face. With Moses the light was from without, and faded; but with Christ the light shone from within. Surely at that moment He might have stepped back into heaven by the open door, through which the representatives of the Law and the prophets had come; but He turned His back on the joy of the Father's home, and set His face to endure the cross, that He might become, not the example only, but the Redeemer of men. What a contrast between that scene on Hermon's slopes, where the glory of Jesus was brighter than the glistening snows about Him, and that below, where the demoniac child writhed in pain! Raphael does well to group these two incidents in one picture, for we are shown here that the duty of the Church is not to build tabernacles on the mount of vision, but to take her way into the haunts of crime and misery and cope with the power of Satan. Faith is the channel through which the divine power passes. Its quantity is of less importance than its quality. It may be minute as a mustard seed, but, like it, must contain the principle of life. [source]

Chapter Summary: Mark 9

1  Jesus is transfigured
11  He instructs his disciples concerning the coming of Elijah;
14  casts forth a deaf and mute spirit;
30  foretells his death and resurrection;
33  exhorts his disciples to humility;
38  bidding them not to prohibit such as are not against them,
42  nor to give offense to any of the faithful

Greek Commentary for Mark 9:29

Save by prayer [ei mē en proseuchēi)]
The addition of “and of fasting” does not appear in the two best Greek manuscripts (Aleph and B). It is clearly a late addition to help explain the failure. But it is needless and also untrue. Prayer is what the nine had failed to use. They were powerless because they were prayerless. Their self-complacency spelled defeat. Matthew 17:20 has “because of your little faith” That is true also. They had too much faith in themselves, too little in Christ. “They had trusted to the semi-magical power with which they thought themselves invested” (Swete). “Spirits of such malignity were quick to discern the lack of moral power and would yield to no other” (ibid.). [source]

What do the individual words in Mark 9:29 mean?

And He said to them This - kind by nothing is able to go out if not prayer
Καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μὴ προσευχῇ

εἶπεν  He  said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
αὐτοῖς  to  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
Τοῦτο  This 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
τὸ  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Neuter Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
γένος  kind 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: γένος  
Sense: race.
οὐδενὶ  nothing 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: οὐδείς 
Sense: no one, nothing.
δύναται  is  able 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δύναμαι  
Sense: to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.
ἐξελθεῖν  to  go  out 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἐξέρχομαι 
Sense: to go or come forth of.
προσευχῇ  prayer 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: προσευχή  
Sense: prayer addressed to God.