The Greek that is translated into English as “(this) generation” is translated as “the people now” into Chol, “those who are in space now” into Tzeltal or “you people” into Tlahuitoltepec Mixe. (Source: Bratcher / Nida; Mixe: Robert Bascom)

Generic terms for the Greek that is translated as “generation” include “(people of one) layer” (Ekari, Toraja-Sa’dan, Batak Toba), or “one storey of growing” (Highland Totonac, using a term also denoting a storey or floor of a building). (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

See also generations and all generations.

Jesus heals a boy (image)

Image taken from the Wiedmann Bible. For more information about the images and ways to adopt them, see here .

For other images of Willy Wiedmann paintings in TIPs, see here.

complete verse (Mark 9:19)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 9:19:

  • Uma: “Yesus said: ‘No kidding you! [this is all plural] You still don’t believe! How much longer do you think I will be with you, how much longer will I put up with your weak faith! Bring [singular] the child here!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Isa said to the people, ‘Oy, you people of nowadays. You really have no trust in God. Until when shall I still be here with you? Until when shall I still endure your customs before you believe? Bring the child here to me.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Then Jesus spoke, he said, ‘You people today, you really don’t believe God. Evidently I am going to have to stay you a long time. Evidently I am going to have to endure you a long time before you will believe. Bring the child here.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “‘You that don’t believe!’ said Jesus answering. ‘It certainly seems as if my remaining-with you has been extremely-long! How much longer must I put up with you (lit. how repeatedly-much yet is my endurance to you)?’ Then he said to the father of the child, ‘OK, bring your (sing.) child here.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When Jesus heard, he said, ‘You people today, your belief really is lacking. Whenever are you really going to believe/obey since I’ve been with you a long time already? Till when must I endure this nature of yours? Bring that child here to me.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing his disciples and common people

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Tuvan uses a formal vs. informal 2nd person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Unlike other languages that have this feature, however, the translators of the Tuvan Bible have attempted to be very consistent in using the different forms of address in every case a 2nd person pronoun has to be used in the translation of the biblical text.

As Voinov shows in Pronominal Theology in Translating the Gospels (in: The Bible Translator 2002, p. 210ff.), the choice to use either of the pronouns many times involved theological judgment. While the formal pronoun can signal personal distance or a social/power distance between the speaker and addressee, the informal pronoun can indicate familiarity or social/power equality between speaker and addressee.

Here, Jesus is addressing his disciples, individuals and/or crowds with the formal pronoun, showing respect.

In most Dutch translations, Jesus addresses his disciples and common people with the informal pronoun, whereas they address him with the formal form.

Translation commentary on Mark 9:19


Instead of autois ‘them’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has autō ‘him.’


genea (cf. 8.12) ‘generation’: here also refers to the contemporaries of Jesus.

apistos (only here in Mark) ‘unbelieving,’ ‘not having faith,’ ‘faithless’ (rather than ‘unfaithful’).

heōs pote ‘until when?’ ‘how long?’

heōs (6.23; 13.19, 27; 14.25, 34, 54; 15.33, 38) ‘until,’ ‘till.’

pote (13.4, 33, 35) ‘when.’

anexomai (only here in Mark) ‘I will endure,’ ‘bear,’ ‘put up with.’


For generation see 8.12.

Faithless is to be understood in an active sense ‘you people who do not believe’ (Copainalá Zoque, Highland Puebla Nahuatl). For faith see 1.15.

How long am I to be with you is equivalent in some languages to ‘how long must I remain with you,’ in the sense of how long must I remain with you in order for you to have faith.

Bring should be translated by the same word as brought of verse 17.

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 .