Mark 3:20-30 in Russian Sign Language

Following is the translation of Mark 3:20-30 into Russian Sign Language with a back-translation underneath:

Source: Russian Bible Society / Российское Библейское Общество

Peter’s house. This is where Jesus wanted to come with the disciples to eat. As they approached the house they saw a crowd of people. They did not get to eat in the house. Jesus’ mother, brothers and sisters also came there. They said that Jesus had gone crazy, so they decided to take Jesus home. Also the teachers of the Law from Jerusalem came to that place. They began to say to the people:

— Behold you marvel that Jesus casts demons out of people. But in fact the most important demon sits in him, and he gives orders to small demons, and they obey him.

Jesus heard this and turned to the teachers of the Law:

— I will tell you a parable. You say that one demon orders another demon to come out of a man. But is such a thing possible? The first example. There is a kingdom, and in it people fight with each other. Do you think such a kingdom can stand? No, this kingdom will collapse. The second example. If a husband and wife hate each other in a family, will such a family be strong? No, that family will fall apart. Third example. If demons cast each other out, then Satan’s kingdom would have been destroyed long ago. Do you think demons can cast each other out? No, they can’t!

If a very strong man lives in a certain house, and a burglar comes to the house. Would the robber be able to take things from that house? Of course not, because the strong master will drive the robber away. If only the robber succeeds in tying up the master, only then can he rob the house.

People are sinful, they do evil deeds, but God forgives their bad deeds. The spirit of God is in me, it works miracles, heals, casts out demons, but you slander that it is a demon — God will never forgive such lies.

Original Russian back-translation (click or tap here):

Дом Петра. Сюда Иисус хотел прийти с учениками, чтобы поесть там. Когда они подходили к дому, они увидели толпу народа. Им не удалось поесть в доме. Также туда пришли мать, братья и сестры Иисуса. Они говорили, что Иисус сошел с ума, и они решили забрать Иисуса домой. Также в то место пришли учителя Закона из Иерусалима. Они начала говорить народу:

— Вот вы восхищаетесь, что Иисус изгоняет бесов из людей. А на самом деле в нем самый главный бес сидит, и он отдает приказы мелким бесам, и те его слушаются.

Иисус услышал это и обратился к учителям Закона:

— Я расскажу вам притчу. Вот вы говорите, что один бес приказывает другому выйти из человека. Но разве такое возможно? Первый пример. Царство, а в нем люди враждуют друг с другом. Как вы думаете, устоит такое царство? Нет, это царство разрушится. Второй пример. Если в семье муж и жена ненавидят друг друга, такая семья будет крепкой? Нет, эта семья распадется. Третий пример. Если бесы изгоняют друг друга, тогда бы царство Сатаны давно бы разрушилось. Как вы думаете, могут ли бесы друг друга изгонять? Нет, такого не бывает!

Если в некотором доме живет очень сильный человек, и пришел в этот дом грабитель. Разве грабитель сможет спокойно забирать себе вещи из этого дома? Конечно, нет, потому что сильный хозяин, прогонит грабителя. Если только грабителю удастся связать хозяина, только тогда он сможет ограбить дом.

Люди грешны, делают злые дела, но Бог прощает им плохие дела. Во мне дух Божий, он творит чудеса, дает исцеление, изгоняет бесов, а вы клевещете, что это бес — вот такой лжи Бог никогда не простит.

Back-translation by Luka Manevich

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Mark 3:31-35 in Russian Sign Language >>


The Greek that is typically transliterated in English as “Satan” is transliterated in Kipsigis as “Setani.” This is interesting because it is not only a transliteration that approximates the Greek sound but it is also an existing Kipsigis word with the meaning of “ugly” and “sneaking.” (Source: Earl Anderson in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 85ff. )

In Morelos Nahuatl it is translated as “envious one” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.) and in Tibetan: bdud (བདུད།), lit. “chief devil” (except in Rev. 20:2, where it is transliterated) (source: gSungrab website ).


The Greek that is usually translated as “parable” in English is translated in other languages in a number of ways:

In British Sign Language it is translated with a sign that combines the signs for “tell-a-story” and “compare.” (Source: Anna Smith)

“Parable” in British Sign Language (source: Christian BSL, used with permission)

Scot McKnight (in The Second Testament, publ. 2023) translates it into English as analogy because “the Greek word has the sense of tossing down something alongside something else. Hence an analogy.”

See also image and figures of speech.

complete verse (Mark 3:23)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 3:23:

  • Uma: “That is why Yesus called them to come close to them, and he spoke to them with a few parables, he said: ‘How can demons expel their fellow demons?” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then Isa called those people and he spoke-in-parables to them. He said, ‘Na, how can a demon cast out a demon? It is as if he casts himself out. It is not possible.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And then Jesus told the people to come near, and there were parables which he taught them. He said, ‘It cannot be that Satan will drive away his companion demons.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “That being so, Jesus called them and said parabling, ‘How can Satan cause-himself -to-leave?” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When Jesus observed that, he caused the people to come close, for he spoke a few illustrations. He said, ‘How does Satanas drive out the evil spirits he rules over, which is like he is opposing his own self?” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

Translation commentary on Mark 3:23


proskalesamenos (cf. 3.13) ‘calling,’ ‘summoning,’ ‘calling to oneself.’

en parabolais ‘in parables,’ ‘by means of parables,’ ‘in figurative language’: the phrase indicates the manner in which he spoke to them.

parabolē ‘parable,’ ‘figure,’ ‘comparison,’ ‘analogy,’ ‘illustration’: in the Septuagint parabolē translates mashal which covers a whole range of figurative language: ‘parables,’ ‘proverbs,’ ‘figures’ and even ‘riddles.’ The word appears 13 times in Mark: 3.23; 4.2, 10, 11, 13 (twice), 30, 33, 34; 7.17; 12.1, 12; 13.28. As a technical Christian term designating (in the Synoptics) Jesus’ customary form of teaching, parable serves as a translation in all these passages with the exception of two: 7.17, where “figure” (Goodspeed) or even “lesson” (Berkeley) better fits the context, and 13.28 where “illustration” or “lesson” (Revised Standard Version, The Modern Speech New Testament, Goodspeed) is meant.

satanas (cf. 1.13) ‘Satan,’ the ruler of the demons. The meaning is not that of one satan driving out another, but of Satan driving out himself. That is what Satan would be doing were he to drive out the demons who compose his empire (cf. Lagrange).


Them is of uncertain reference in this passage, but taken literally in many languages it would mean only the scribes, the closest third person plural referent, other than the demons. Probably, however, one should make the reference more explicit by substituting ‘the people.’

In some languages there are quite good equivalents of parable, since such forms of expression are common. However, in other cases one must develop some type of expression which conveys the meaning implied by parable, without being too elaborate and detailed a definition. Such descriptive terms are of two types: (1) those which emphasize the nature of the parable as a comparison or illustration and (2) those which specify its use in teaching and instruction. The first type may be illustrated by ‘picture with words’ (Piro), ‘message in the manner of a comparison’ (Pamona), ‘comparison word’ (Highland Totonac, South Bolivian Quechua), ‘picture story’ (Tzeltal), ‘likeness word’ (Yucateco, Central Tarahumara), and ‘story which says like that’ (Cashibo-Cacataibo). The second type may be found in ‘story told for teaching’ (Chicahuaxtla Triqui, Goajiro), ‘story from which understanding comes’ (Navajo), ‘notice from which comes teaching’ (Conob).

In a number of languages a literal translation of Satan cast out Satan will imply that there are at least two Satans. In such a language one should translate ‘How can Satan cast himself out’ (Tzeltal, Huastec).

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on the Gospel of Mark. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1961. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .