Why does Mark use the term immediately so many times?


Why does Mark use the term immediately so many times?


The Greek word for the term “immediately” is “eutheos.” The term is used eighty-seven (87) times in the New Testament (NT) and forty-two (42) of those uses are observed in the book of Mark. Indeed, Mark does use the word “immediately” a lot.

The word translated as “immediately” means “at once” or “directly.” It is sometimes rendered as “straightway,” “forthwith,” “by and by,” or “shortly” in the NT. It is a term that implies that something is happening rapidity or quickly. There’s a sense of urgency to the term.

As compared to Matthew, Luke, and John, Mark wrote the shortest gospel account. At times, Mark gives us just the facts not using as many details as the other gospel writers did. Mark’s message is very simple. He desires to insure his audience understands the gospel - that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

There is an urgency to Mark’s gospel. In Mark 1:2-3 he writes, “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” The word “straight” above is translated from the Greek word “euthys,” which is closely related to “eutheos” meaning “straightway.” The word “straight” means free of curves, smooth, level, or in context a direct route. In that time, the phrase “paths straight” was used to prepare the way for nobility and their entourage. Their way had to be smooth, level, and direct. In his first chapter Mark says that Jesus’ way needs to be smooth, level, and direct. The heart needs to be ready as the King is coming!

So, Mark uses the “immediately” or “straightway” to build a sense of urgency for his readers to read and understand the gospel. He builds such urgency because Jesus did! Jesus says in Mark 1:15 NIV, ““The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”” Mark’s readers – including you and I - need to respond to the message of the gospel quickly (cf. 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:12-15). Throughout his gospel he emphasizes the need to respond to the gospel – that Jesus is God in the flesh who died for his people’s sin and then he rose from the dead. By the grace of God alone, prepare your hearts for the King right now!

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).