Mark 1:2—How can Mark’s misquotation of this OT prophecy be justified?
Problem: Mark misquotes Malachi, as indicated by the italicized words:
Solution: First, it should be pointed out that, in spite of the change in words, the original sense is retained. In view of one of the fundamental principles of understanding difficult texts (see Introduction), “A NT citation need not be an exact quotation.” As long as the meaning is retained, the words can differ. Second, in this case, Mark simply draws out the meaning by adding “before Your face.” This is implied in the original passage, but made explicit by Mark. Third, the change from “Me” (first person) to “You” is necessitated because God is speaking in the Malachi passage, whereas Mark is speaking about God. Had he not changed the words he would have changed the meaning.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.