The Gospel of Mark is one of four Gospels that we find in our Bible. The others are Matthew, Luke and John. Each represents a different perspective and viewpoint of the same reality and person, Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Mark was written by a man named John Mark. This Gospel is centrally about God fulfilling his promise to send a Messiah and points directly and consistently to the good news of Jesus, the Son of God.
This is a verse-by-verse series going through the entire book of Mark.
The Gospel of Mark is one of four Gospels that we find in our Bible. The others are Matthew, Luke and John. Each represents a different perspective and viewpoint of the same reality and person, Jesus Christ.
Audience and Purpose
Whenever we engage a text in the Bible, it is important to have a basic understanding of the audience written to originally. This will help us better understand the themes and flow of the letter or book. Daniel Akin writes concerning the audience of Mark:
The Gospel of Matthew is written to Jews telling them that Jesus is the Messiah King who fulfills Old Testament prophecy. Mark is written to Romans telling them that Jesus is the Suffering Servant who actively ministers on our behalf and gives His life as a ransom for many. Luke is written to Greeks telling them that Jesus is the perfect Son of Man who came to save and minister to all people through the power of the Holy Spirit. John is written to the world, telling that Jesus is the fully human, fully divine Son of God in whom we must believe to receive eternal life.
(p. 3, Akin, Daniel. Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Mark. 2014)
The Gospel of Mark deals with the person of Jesus and is stated clearly from the beginning, with no room for mistake: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1). The book has many themes that parallel the life of Jesus. We see in this book the authority that Jesus carries with him. He was no ordinary teacher or leader, but had spiritual authority that was unparalleled. There are other moments in Mark where we see the true holiness of Jesus come into sight. One particular moment is when Jesus calms the storm and his disciples are shown the raw power of God in flesh. Mark records this moment saying: And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (Mark 4:41). At times, the reality of Jesus' purpose in coming was too much and in a moment when Jesus revealed to them that he would die, Peter rebukes Jesus. Jesus was the conquering Messiah, but not as those that followed had imagined. Jesus would not just liberate a nation from political tyranny. Jesus would rescue broken humanity from the sin and death that entered this world. That which separated man from God would be removed and Jesus would be the one to start this great work of ushering in God's Kingdom.
Mark spends a significant amount of time focusing on Jesus' progression to the cross in his final week leading up to the crucifixion. Starting in chapter 8, Mark sets our sights on the culmination of Jesus' work on this earth, pointing to his death. It is from this point that the lens of our thinking is focused on Jesus' journey to the cross and ultimately to the reality that Jesus is the Messiah that God had promised. Jesus is the One that the Israelites had been waiting for with eager expectation.
Resources / Bibliography
The following are resources that have been very beneficial in our study of the Gospel of Mark.
- Akin, Daniel L. - “Exalting Jesus in Mark (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary)"
- Barclay, William - “The Gospel of Mark, Revised Edition (The Daily Study Bible Series)”
- Cole, R. Alan - “TNTC Mark (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)”
- Cranfield, C. E. B. - “The Gospel according to St Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (Cambridge Greek Testament Commentaries)”
- Edwards, James R. - "The Gospel according to Mark (Pillar New Testament Commentary)"
- Ferguson, Sinclair B. - “Let's Study Mark”
- France, R. T. - “The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary)”
- Garland, David E. - “Mark (The NIV Application Commentary)”
- Lane, William L. - “The Gospel according to Mark: The English Text With Introduction, Exposition, and Notes (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)”
- Moloney, Francis J. - “Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist”
- Oden, Thomas C. - “The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition”
- Sproul, R. C. - “Mark: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary”
- Wessel, Walter W. & Strauss, Mark L. - “Matthew and Mark (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)”
- Wright, Tom - “Mark for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone)”