Gospel of Mark: Introduction

Gospel of Mark:

Introduction

Mark is one of four gospels and one of three synoptic gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is evident that there are significant similarities between these three gospels and likely that both Matthew and Luke utilized Mark as a source in writing their own gospels. John is the only non-synoptic gospel, taking an entirely different approach to the life and teachings of Jesus.

Apparently, Mark was the nephew of Barnabas, one half of the famed Paul and Barnabas missionary duo. Mark would accompany Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but at some point abandoned the mission (Acts 13:5, 13).

Later, when Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another missionary journey they entered into a severe conflict over whether Mark should be allowed to accompany them. They could not resolve their differences and Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways – continuing missionary journeys, but not together (Acts 15:37-40).

While there is no Scriptural indication that Paul and Barnabas were ever reunited, Paul and Mark did eventually form a close friendship. Paul mentions Mark several times as a valued co-worker (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philemon 24).

But working with one apostle wasn’t enough for Mark, he also became deeply involved in the ministry of Peter (1 Pet. 5:13). When Peter was executed during a persecution of Christians in the 60’s AD, someone needed to record the gospel of Jesus in written form so it could continue on past Peter’s death. That someone was Mark, Peter’s close companion, who had listened to Peter preach and teach perhaps hundreds of times. So, while the Gospel of Mark bears Mark’s name, it contains more readily the accounts of Peter regarding Jesus.

Due to these circumstances, Mark’s gospel is not chronological in nature. Instead, Mark focuses on communicating the deeds and teachings of Jesus. The overarching structure of his narrative appears to be geographical. It starts off in Galilee (1:14-6:13), moves outside of Galilee (6:14-8:30), includes the journey to Jerusalem (8:31-10:52), and concludes with the events in and around Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-16:8).

Author: Dave Mackey

Revision: 1.1 4/19/13