Tri-County church of Christ, Watertown, NY, North Country

January 15, 2003, Vol.3, No.2.
Two new articles every two weeks. Bible Question? E-mail us.
THIS ISSUE: "'Introduction to Mark" (see below)
and "
Partakers of the Divine Nature"

Overview of the Bible:
Introduction to Mark

by Keith Sharp

Gospel of Mark Overview, GospelsAuthor

Although the author of the second gospel account is not named in the book, the ancient, uninspired writers unanimously name Mark as its author. His more complete name was John Mark (Acts 12:12,25; 15:37). He was the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). He may have been the young man who fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested (14:51-52). Apparently Mark was converted by the apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:13). Disciples in Jerusalem met in the house of his mother, Mary, to pray for Peter when he was imprisoned by Herod (Acts 12:12).

When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch after taking the benevolent collection to the brethren in Judea, Mark went with them (Acts 11:27-30; 12:25). He accompanied them on Paul's first preaching journey to the Gentiles (Acts 13:5) but returned from Perga to Jerusalem for some reason (Acts 13:13).

When Paul and Barnabas decided to go on a second journey together, Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul refused (Acts 15:36-38). Their disagreement was so sharp that Paul and Barnabas parted company, and Paul took Silas with him, whereas Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus (Acts 15:39-41).

We do not hear of Mark again until Paul's imprisonment, where he was with Paul, having regained the apostle's confidence (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24). In fact, later Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark with him, for, the beloved apostle explained, "he is useful for me to ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11).


We do not know when Mark wrote his account of the life of Jesus.


Mark is the history of Christ directed to the Romans. He immediately presents Jesus as the Son of God (1:1), with no reference at all to his lineage, birth or childhood. Although Mark recognizes Christ as King (e.g., 15:2), he stresses Jesus' work as the Servant of the Lord and men (e.g., 10:42-45, the role foretold by Isaiah (Isaiah chapters 40-53).


Ancient writers state that Mark was the student of the apostle Peter and that his gospel account was a record of what Peter preached concerning Christ. Peter is mentioned in Mark in events in which his name is omitted by Matthew and Luke (1:36; 11:21; 13:3). In fact, Peter's sermon to the Roman centurion Cornelius provides a brief outline of Mark (Acts 10:34-43).

Many details of Mark reveal it was written to Gentiles. He explains Jewish customs (14:12; 15:42) and translates Aramaic (the language of common people in first century Palestine) expressions (3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 10:46; 14:36; 15:22). Mark quotes the Old Testament only once.

Other details show he specifically appealed to Romans. Mark reveals that Jesus forbid women to divorce and remarry (10:12), a right Jewish women did not have, but Roman women did. He translates a Greek term into Latin (12:42).

Mark is the gospel of deeds. He emphasizes the work of Jesus. Forty-two times Mark uses the term "immediately." Matthew employs the word only seven times and Luke but once. Fourteen of these occurrences in Mark refer to the work of Jesus. Mark records nineteen miracles of Jesus but only five parables. The Romans, a people of action, were impressed by a man of action.

More than any other gospel writer, Mark traces the events of Jesus' life in time order.

Mark's style is vivid, active, graphic. His is the shortest of the gospel accounts, but in the incidents related by all three synoptic writers, Mark gives the most detail (6:14-29; 7:1-23; 9:14-29; 12:28-34).


I. The Preparation of the Servant - 1:1-13
II. The Ministry of the Servant in Galilee - 1:14 - 7:23
III. The Ministry of the Servant in Gentile Regions - 7:24 - 9:50
IV. The Ministry of the Servant on the Way to Jerusalem - chapter 10
V. The Ministry of the Servant in Jerusalem - chapters 11 - 13
VI. The Submission of the Servant to Death - chapters 14 - 15
VII. The Triumph of the Servant - chapter 16

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