When I was looking Mark 4:40 I was little confused for the word "οὕτω" translation and meaning. For it was translated in many English translations as "so", "So" in English may means:

  • Thus, like this.
  • So much, very, too, greatly.

The word "οὕτω" in Greek has the two meanings also, i.e: thus and so much. Beside other meanings not required here.

Mark 4:40;

  1. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· τί δειλοί ἐστε οὕτω; πῶς οὐκ ἔχετε πίστιν; And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? KJV.

Some English translations don't mention "so". All Arabic translations I had read have the translation "هكذا" which means the English "thus","like this".

So, what is the accurate translation of "οὕτω" in the phrase of Mark 4:40?

2 Answers 2


One can understand so here in the King James Bible (in 17th century English) to be synonymous with thus - i.e. in this manner.* It is not, I believe, an expression of extreme degree (e.g. "so hot" or "so cold"). I think modern translations that see it this way miss the mark. Take for an extreme example the ISV: Why are you such cowards?

A very literal version - the Orthodox New Testament - translates the verse:

Why are ye cowardly in this manner?

More modern translation have retained the choice of so as well as its place in the English word order, which strikes a modern reader as implying "so much" and not "thus", as you indicate. The confusion here is not in the Greek but in the English, I think.

* See, e.g., The Complete Oxford English Dictionary (1971 ed.), p.344ff.


‘So’ according to the footnote in NET version is quite clear. It is the greek translation ‘kai’ that agrees to the previous narrative.

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