Personal Questions | VBVM Staff | Aug-03-2012
Q. In Mark 11:13-14, my Bible says Jesus "answered" the fig tree by making it wither and die. What did the fig tree say to Jesus that caused Jesus to answer the tree in the way He did?
A. The BIble you are referencing is the King James Version of the Bible, which reads:
Unfortunately, the King James Version translates the original Greek of Mark 11:14 incorrectly. In the original Greek, Mark 11:14 opens with the Greek word apokrinomai, which means "to conclude for oneself" or "to respond." The word apokrinomai can mean "a response to a question," but it can also describe a response to a nonverbal cue like something seen or experienced.
The King James Bible translates apokrinomai in Mark 11:14 to mean Jesus replied to a verbal cue (hence, "Jesus answered"), but Jesus was not replying to a question from the tree. By the context of the passage, we know Jesus was responding to what He saw when He looked at the tree, not to something Jesus heard. Therefore, the correct translation of Mark 11:14 should be "Jesus responded..."
Interestingly, the New King James version corrects this error:
From the NKJV:
So, the fig tree in Mark 11 never spoke to Jesus, and neither was Jesus answering the tree when He spoke in v.14. Instead, Jesus saw that the tree had leaves but no fruit, and so He responded to what He saw in v.14.
To learn why Jesus caused the tree to wither, please read this article.