Mark is a fast-paced gospel that portrays Jesus as the powerful, suffering servant of God.
Mark shows that Jesus taught with authority, as affirmed by the miracles He performed. Jesus' life of service was completed when He sacrificed Himself on the cross.
- Key Verse: Mark 10:45
- Key Words: Immediately, Authority
- Key Dates: Written between 40-65 A.D.
- Time Period: From 28-30 A.D. (early) or 30-33 A.D. (late).
Mark traveled with his cousin Barnabus and with Paul. Peter and Paul favorably mentioned him. He was known as Mark (Latin) and John (Hebrew).
The book of Mark was probably written for Roman readers. Mark often explained Jewish words, customs, and places. He used Roman time rather than Hebrew time. And he translated some words into Latin.
Mark is a compact, action-oriented gospel. Mark omits the birth and genealogy of Jesus, and moves straight into His baptism and ministry.
The teaching passages in Mark seem condensed when compared to other gospels.
The visual gospel
Mark is a visual gospel, full of colorful descriptions. For example, when Jesus fed the 5000, the people sat on "green grass" (Mark 6:39).
Mark has a modern, factual reporting style. He writes in the present tense, and often uses the word "immediately."
Gospel of emotion
Along with visual details, Mark recorded emotions and gestures.
For example, Jesus was "moved with compassion" and "touched" a leper (Mark 1:41). The rich young ruler "ran" and "knelt" before Jesus who "loved" him (Mark 10:17-22).
Did you know?
Early Christian scholars believed that Peter influenced Mark's account. In scripture, Peter referred to Mark as "my son" (1st Peter 5:13).
According to Papias, "Mark, who became Peter's interpreter, wrote accurately, though not in order, all that he remembered of the things said or done by the Lord."3
And Irenaeus wrote, "Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself also handed down to us in writing the things preached by Peter."4
3 Papias. Exegesis of the Lord's Oracles via Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15 (circa 140 A.D.).
4 Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses 3.1.1 (circa 180-199 A.D.).