1. Exposition

Is it better to translate the word as "messenger" or "angel"?

Mark 1:2 (ESV)

2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way,

Malachi 3:1 (ESV)

1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:1 clearly harks back to the angel during the time the people spent in the wilderness. In some Bible translations, this connection has been somewhat blurred. They speak of God’s messenger rather than angel. The translation of Mark 1:2 then follows this translation of messenger from Malachi (see also Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:27), departing from some of the older translations which uses the word Angel (with a capital letter) in all these places. This latter translation is certainly preferred. The Hebrew word in Malachi 3:1 (mal’ak) is the same as in Exodus 23:20 and other places and is translated there (also in newer translations) as angel (the Angel of the covenant). Moreover, the Greek word in Mark 1:2 (angelos) almost always means angel in the New Testament. Only once in a while is it used in the sense of messenger, and then the context makes clear that the reference is to a human messenger (Luke 7:24; Luke 9:52; James 2:25). However, Mark 1:2 speaks about a messenger who comes from God, and that in connection to Malachi 3:1, and therefore we should use the translation angel.1