Complete Study Of The Gospel Of Mark


Who wrote Mark’s Gospel?

It was John whose surname was Mark, Acts 12:12 / Acts 12:25. Mark or Marcus, was his Roman name, which gradually came to supersede his Jewish name, John. He is called John in Acts 13:5 / Acts 13:13. But he is called Mark in Acts 15:39 / 2 Timothy 4:11.

He was the son of Mary, a woman apparently of some means and influence, and was probably born in Jerusalem, where his mother resided, Acts 12:12.

Of his father, we know nothing, but we know he was a cousin of Barnabas, Colossians 4:10. It was in his mother’s house that Peter found ‘many gathered together praying’ when he was released from prison and it is probable that it was here that he was converted by Peter, who calls him his ‘son’, 1 Peter 5:13.

It is probable that the ‘young man’ spoken of in Mark 14:51-52 was Mark himself.

He is first mentioned in Acts 12:25. He went with Paul and Barnabas on their first journey, about A.D. 47 as their ‘minister’, but from some cause turned back when they reached Perga in Pamphylia, Acts 12:25 / Acts 13:13.

Three years afterwards a ‘sharp dispute’ arose between Paul and Barnabas because Paul would not take Mark with him, Acts 15:36-40. He, however, was evidently at length reconciled to the apostle, for he was with him in his first imprisonment at Rome, Colossians 4:10 / Philemon 23-24.

At a later period, he was with Peter in Babylon, 1 Peter 5:13. Then, and for some centuries afterwards, one of the chief seats of Jewish learning; and he was with Timothy in Ephesus when Paul wrote him during his second imprisonment, 2 Timothy 4:11. He then disappears from view.


History says Mark went to Egypt and was the ‘Founder of the Coptic Church’, for which Rome made him a ‘saint’. The name ‘Copts’ denotes the native Egyptians, ‘Christians’ as distinct from Muslims and other invaders and settlers, who entered the land.

There are many stories and traditions concerning Mark one example is that he was martyred in 68 A.D., having been dragged through the streets of Alexandria, where his body was preserved until 828 A.D. In that year, it was smuggled out of the city by merchants from Venice, to protect it from the Muslims who had captured Alexandria.

The merchants successfully hid the body under a layer of pork, which, of course, no Muslim would touch, and it is still kept in a Venetian Cathedral, which is said to have been built on the site of the house in which the bones were originally kept. Mark’s head is still revered in Alexandria.

To whom was it written?

Some suggest that the four faces mentioned in Ezekiel 4:10 and Revelation 4:7, represent Jesus in the four Gospels.

Matthew represents the face of the lion which implies Jesus’ kingship, Jesus is from the line of Judah.

Luke, represents the face of the man, which implies humanity, Jesus is the Son of Man.

John represents the face of the eagle, which molies Jesus’ deity, Jesus is the Son of God.

Mark, represents the face of the ox, which implies the servant, service, the serving Jesus.

Matthew was written for Jews and he uses the words ‘as it is written’ throughout his Gospel. Note the genealogy goes back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. Matthew 1:1-17. His point is to remind the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah in fulfilment of the Jewish Law.

Luke is written for the Greeks and he uses the term, ‘Son of Man’ throughout his Gospel. Notice his genealogy goes back to Adam, his point is that Jesus is for the whole world. Luke 3:23-38.

John is writing to those in Asia and he uses the term ‘Son of God’ throughout his Gospel. His point is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ through signs, 8 miracles and 8 ‘I AM’ statements.

Mark is writing to Romans and he simply talks about what Jesus is doing and how busy He is, which is exactly what the Romans were doing building roads etc., they were busy people. It was intended primarily for Romans. This appears probable when it is considered that it makes no reference to the Jewish law and that the writer takes care to interpret words that a Gentile would be likely to misunderstand. Mark 3:17 / Mark 5:41 / Mark 7:11 / Mark 10:46 / Mark 14:36 / Mark 15:34.

Jewish usages are also explained, Mark 7:3 / Mark 14:3 / Mark 14:12 / Mark 15:42.

Mark also uses certain Latin words not found in any of the other Gospels, Mark 6:27  / Mark 7:4 / Mark 7:8 / Mark 12:42 / Mark 15:39 / Mark 15:44-45.

He only quotes from the Old Testament twice, Mark 1:2 / Mark 15:28.

The characteristics of Mark’s Gospel

1. The absence of the genealogy of our Lord.

2. Whom he represents as clothed with power, the ‘lion of the tribe of Judah.’

3. Mark also records with wonderful precision.

1. The explanation of words, Mark 3:17 / Mark 5:41 / Mark 7:11 / Mark 7:34 / Mark 14:36

2. The position, Mark 9:35.

3. The gestures of our Lord, Mark 3:5 / Mark 3:34 / Mark 5:32 / Mark 9:36 / Mark 10:16. 

He is also careful to record the following

1. Facts of people, Mark 1:29 / Mark 1:36 / Mark 3:6 / Mark 3:22.

2. Numbers, Mark 5:13 / Mark 6:7.

3. Places, Mark 2:13 / Mark 4:1/ Mark 7:31.

4. Times which the other evangelists omit, Mark 1:35 / Mark 2:1 / Mark 4:35.

The phrase ‘at once’ or ‘straightway’ as the KJV translates it occurs nearly forty times in Mark’s Gospel, while in Luke’s Gospel, which is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times. The word ‘immediately’ is used 12 times.

The leading principle running through this Gospel may be expressed in the motto, ‘Jesus came, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom’ Mark 1:14 ‘Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.’

Out of a total of 662 verses, Mark has 406 in common with Matthew and Luke, 145 with Matthew, 60 with Luke, and at most 51 peculiars to itself.

When was it written?

As to the time when it was written, the Gospel furnishes us with no definite information. Mark makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem; hence it must have been written before that event, and probably about A.D. 63 The place where it was written was probably Rome.

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Complete Study Of The Gospel Of Mark