Book of Mark

Go To Mark Index

Ancient testimony names John Mark as the writer. Few have challenged this tradition; none has done so persuasively. The gospel itself may contain a cryptic allusion to its author (14:51-52), but no name is given. In Scripture Mark sometimes goes by the name John alone (Acts 13:5, 13; 15:37), sometimes by Mark alone (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 41; Philem. 24; 1 Pet. 5:13), and twice by both names (Acts 12:12). He was the son of Mary, a woman of some means in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).

John Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on Pauls’ first missionary journey (Acts 12:25; 13:5). But he deserted on the way in Perga and returned to Jerusalem (Acts. 13:13). When Barnabas wanted Paul to take John Mark on the second missionary journey, Paul refused.

The friction which resulted between Paul and Barnabas led to their separation (Acts 15:38-40). But John Mark’s earlier vacillation evidently gave way to greater strength and maturity, and in time he proved himself even to the Apostle Paul. When Paul wrote the Colossians, he instructed them that if John Mark came, they were to welcome him (Col. 4:10).

Paul even listed Mark as a fellow worker (Philemon 24). Later, Paul told Timothy to “Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service” (2 Tim. 4:11).

Paul regarded him as one of the few who were faithful to his ministry to the end (2 Tim. 4:11). All of this suggests that Mark was a seasoned veteran of the Christian walk. He was well versed in apostolic teaching; he had extensive missionary experience under wise guides. Most importantly, he learned firsthand that God gives penitent believers opportunity to recover from past failure. Mark not only heard redemption and new life proclaimed, he experienced it in his own life.

There is good evidence that this gospel reflects Peter’s contribution. Mark and Peter certainly had close ties (1 Pet. 5:13); perhaps Peter led him to Christ. The gospel was composed by one who had considerable skill in literary, historical, and theological presentation and this points to Mark’s own God-given insight. Yet comparison of the Gospel of Mark with Peter’s sermons in Acts and with other data, suggest we are listening to a version of a story told in part by the venerable apostle Peter himself.

Many scholars date Mark in the 60’s A.D. Some date it later, since Mark 13:2 predicts the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), and they deny that Jesus could have foretold the future. But predictive prophecy is quite within the ability of the Jesus of the New Testament. Mark has in fact been dated by some as early as the 40’s. The exact date is not crucial to a grasp of Mark’s message. In any case the book bears the stamp of an early and authentic written witness to Jesus’ ministry.

“Distinctive Outlook”: (1) There seems no reason to reject the ancient tradition that Mark wrote primarily for a largely Gentile audience resident in Rome. This might account for a number of Latin terms found in the Gospel of Mark. This would also explain the lack of a genealogy of Christ and less direct dependence on the Old Testament than we find in Matthew and Luke. On the other hand, non-Jewish converts to Christ were still quite aware of their Old Testament roots. We may conclude that Mark is Christocentric and action-oriented (immediately, or a synonym of this word, occurs over 40 times). Mark strives for conciseness and brevity. The other gospels serve to fill out the Marcan framework. However, Mark does contain many unique details.

(2) Mark seeks to involve the reader in the gospel’s witness to Jesus Christ. He does this through an uncomplicated and vivid literary style. He also writes in such a way that the discerning reader feels addressed or questioned, often by Jesus Himself. Mark does not aim merely to convey information. He seeks rather to furnish grounds for our decision to follow and keep following the main character of the gospel: Jesus Christ.

Well over a third of the book (chapters 11-16) deals with a tiny fraction of Jesus’ earthly lifetime: the last week. Chapter 10 gives an account of Jesus’ ministry as He moved slowly southward from Galilee to Jerusalem. This leaves 1:14-9:50 to cover His extensive work in Galilee, while the opening verses (1:1-13) vouch for the credentials of the Christ: His prophetic connections, His intimate kinship with God the Father and God the Spirit, and His bearing of the worst temptations that Satan could throw at Him

The Gospel of Mark does not admit of easy topical analysis. Many suggestions have been made. This outline seeks to relate Jesus’ actions and teaching to His geographical location.

Each of the chapters are done individually. Some due to length, have been shorten into "continued" sections. Each section contains a questionnaire which follows the section which has been done to aid in the learning process. Each section can be accessed by the simple menu found at the bottom of the file. (i.e., continue to next section or return to previous section.

Index
Mark Chapter 1 Mark Chapter 5 Mark Chapter 9 Continued Mark Chapter 13 Second Continued
Mark Chapter 1 Continued Mark Chapter 5 Continued Mark Chapter 10 Mark Chapter 14
Mark Chapter 1 Second Continued Mark Chapter 6 Mark Chapter 10 Continued Mark Chapter 14 Continued
Mark Chapter 2 Mark Chapter 6 Continued Mark Chapter 11 Mark Chapter 14 Second Continued
Mark Chapter 2 Continued Mark Chapter 7 Mark Chapter 11 Continued Mark Chapter 14 Third Continued
Mark Chapter 3 Mark Chapter 7 Continued Mark Chapter 12 Mark Chapter 15
Mark Chapter 3 Continued Mark Chapter 8 Mark Chapter 12 Continued Mark Chapter 15 Continued
Mark Chapter 4 Mark Chapter 8 Continued Mark Chapter 13 Mark Chapter 15 Second Continued
Mark Chapter 4 Continued Mark Chapter 9 Mark Chapter 13 Continued Mark Chapter 16

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