Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | May 9, 2013

Gospel according to Mark

Welcome back to the Gospels “four” you blog series!  Today’s information was shared by guest writer, Sue Steege, and is on the Gospel according to Mark.

Gospel name: Mark

Who wrote this gospel and what was his relationship to Jesus/disciples?

  • John Mark
  • Most scholars think that John Mark was writing for Peter, who was one of the 12 disciples. This is the same John Mark that traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13).
  • He was not one of the 12 disciples.

What was significant about this particular author’s background and how it impacted his writing style?

  • John Mark was an attendant and scribe for Peter.
  • Although not a disciple, he was clearly in an inner circle of people and an eyewitness to Jesus.

When was this gospel written?

  • Around 50 – 60 AD. Most scholars believe Mark’s Gospel was written first because all but 31 verses of it appear in other Gospels.

What is unique about this gospel book?

  • Mark is the shortest Gospel (16 chapters).
  • Mark focuses more on Jesus’ actions (as opposed to His words) than any other Gospel.
  • There is an urgency in Mark’s Gospel. He uses the word “immediately” no less than 40 times.
  • Mark gives the least flattering picture of the disciples. They are often confused and hard of heart (Mark 4:13; Mark 7:14-19; Mark 8:1-10, etc.)
  • Mark’s Gospel has a very abrupt ending.
  • There is no birth story in Mark.
  • It was long thought that Mark’s Gospel was crudely written with little plan, but more recent scholarship has shown quite a sophisticated literary structure.

What is similar between this gospel book and the others?

  • Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the “synoptic” (“same eyes”) Gospels because they tell the story of Jesus’ life from a similar perspective. Many parables, sermons, and miracles are told about in all three. 
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