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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Mark Overview

 

 


STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

Using a Theme-based Approach

to Identify Literary Structures

By Gary H. Everett

THE GOPSEL OF MARK

January 2013Edition

All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.

All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.

Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.

Foundational Theme - Justification Through Faith in Jesus Christ

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Song of Solomon ,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Structural Theme - The Testimony of Miracles that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

But I have greater witness than that of John:

for the works which the Father hath given me to finish,

the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

John 5:36

Imperative Theme - The Office of the Evangelist

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,

and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:15

INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF MARK

Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

The Message of the Gospel of Mark - We can often identify the importance of a book in the Holy Bible by first identifying the most popular Scriptures used in the book. For example, we know that the 23rd Psalm supports the underlying theme of the entire book of Psalm. The Sermon on the Mount reveals the teaching and doctrinal emphasis that is woven within the Gospel of Matthew. A second way to identify a book's importance is to study Church history and look at what role its passages have played in shaping the hearts and minds of men. The epistle of Romans has certain played an important role in the lives of men like St. Augustine, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley as its passages were divinely used to spark revivals in the hearts of multitudes during their generations. This identifies Romans as an exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we evaluate the importance of the Gospel of Mark , we do not find anything that immediately jumps out at us as significant, until we look into the heart and passions of preaching evangelists that have become so numerous in the last century. Then we quickly notice how often they preach a Pentecostal and soul-winning message by referring to a number of popular passages, such as the Commission of Jesus Christ in its closing passage, which says, "these signs shall follow those who believer." We notice the frequently used Parable of the Sower, which describes the ways in which men respond to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this passion for the proclamation of the Gospel, we find the heart of the apostle Peter, whose ministry and message was almost certainly used to influence John Mark as he wrote his Gospel. Thus, we find within the Gospel of Mark an underlying emphasis upon the preaching of the Gospel with signs following. Although the emphasis upon evangelical preaching has increasing grown since the time of the Reformation, it has not been until the twentieth century that an emphasis in signs and miracles accompanying this preaching has become popular among the Pentecostal movement. This is why the Gospel of Mark has been used much more in these last days before the Second Coming of the Lord when mass communications and crusades have allowed the preaching of Jesus Christ with signs following to dominate the world arena of Christian evangelism. Now we have identified the theme of the Gospel of Mark.

Introductory Material- The introduction to the Gospel of Mark will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 1] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.

1] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).

HISTORICAL SETTING

"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture

if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."

(J. Hampton Keathley) 2]

2] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.

Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the Gospel of Mark will provide a discussion on its authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the early Church tradition that John Mark the Evangelist wrote his Gospel at an early date between A.D 64-68 while in Rome at the request of the believers in Rome to record the preaching of Peter the apostle.

I. Authorship and Canonicity

In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the Gospel of Mark: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1st and 2nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4th century).

A. Apostolic Authority- Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which "the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice." He says the "elements of the Catholic faith" were established during this period in Church history. 3] At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew ,, John , Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke , the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude , the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book's apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.

3] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, "The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time." (Fragments of Caius 33) (ANF 5); Corey Keating says, "In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority' was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing." See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ChurchHistory/Criteria%20for%20Development%20of%20the%20NT%20Canon%20in%20First%20Four%20Centuries.pdf; Internet.

Although the Gospel of Mark does not declare the author within its text, there is overwhelming evidence that John Mark , the assistant to Peter the apostle, wrote this book. The lack of identification within the body of its text does not detract from the strong evidence that supports Marcan authorship. In fact, none of the four Gospels states their authors. A further observation may be noted that, in contrast, some of the New Testament apocryphal gospels, which are recognized as merely imitations, frequently attribute themselves to apostolic authorship in the body of these writings, which helps to identify them as unauthentic in origin. Both internal and external evidence strongly support Marcan authorship. In fact, its authorship was never contested until modern times, when several radical schools of thought emerged, whose views are no longer taken seriously by evangelical Bible scholars today.

1. Internal Evidence- There are many witnesses within the text of this Gospel supporting Marcan authorship. We know that this author was familiar with Jewish culture and geography as well as the Aramaic language, so that there is clearly Aramaic influence within the text; thus, the author was a Palestinian Jew. We also know that this written account required the author to be an eyewitness of the events he recorded; thus, he lived during the time of the Apostles. There is one passage within the Gospel where the author makes a reference to himself. As we consider the life of John Mark in the book of Acts and his relationship to the New Testament apostles, we are drawn to a strong conclusion that Mark was the author of the second New Testament Gospel.

a) The Author's Acquaintance with Jewish Customs and Geography- As we examine the text of the Gospel, we realize that the author was well acquainted with Jewish customs as well as the geography of the land of Palestine. We can find examples of his familiarity with Jewish customs.

Mark 1:21, "And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught."

Mark 2:14, "And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him."

Mark 2:16, "And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?"

He even takes the time to explain these customs to his Gentile readers.

Mark 7:2-4, "And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables."

Mark 12:42, "And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing." (The mite was a Jewish coin. It is noted by Lane that the farthing was a Roman coin that was not in circulation in the east. Thus, this verse was intended for those of the west who were familiar with this coin.)

Mark 14:12, "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?"

Mark 15:42, "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that Isaiah , the day before the sabbath,"

He gives details as to the locations of a number of places.

Mark 11:1, "And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,"

Thus, the author apparently was a Jew who grew up in the land of Palestine.

b) The Author's Acquaintance with the Aramaic Language - The author demonstrates his ability to use the Aramaic language, which was spoken by the Palestinian Jews of the first century. Note:

Mark 3:17, "And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which Isaiah , The sons of thunder:"

Mark 5:41, "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which Isaiah , being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."

Mark 7:11, "But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free."

Mark 7:34, "And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that Isaiah , Be opened."

Mark 14:36, "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."

Mark 15:22, "And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which Isaiah , being interpreted, The place of a skull."

Mark 15:34, "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which Isaiah , being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

This is additional evidence that the author was a Palestinian Jew.

c) Evidence of Aramaic Influence Within the Greek Text - There is evidence of some Aramaic style in the Greek text of Mark's Gospel. Mark's Greek is considered rather rough and less grammatical than that of Luke. These characteristics may be the result of Mark's efforts to translate Peter's spoken Aramaic into the Greek language or it implies that the author spoke Aramaic as his native language.

d) The Author's Narratives Require an Eyewitness Account- It is apparent that the vividness of Mark's narratives required an eyewitness account. This could be explained by the fact that Mark was a close disciple of Peter and Hebrews , therefore, wrote his account from Peter's testimonies.

e) The Author's References to Himself- The passage in Mark 14:51-52 of the young man fleeing naked is only recorded in the Gospel of Mark. Many scholars believe that this young man was Mark , and that it was his modest signature applied to the text much the same way that John mentions himself in such a modest, non-discrete way.

f) References to Mark outside His Gospel: Luke's Account of John Mark - The fact that Luke takes into account the record of John Mark in his Acts of the Apostles is an indication that Mark played an important role in the early church, specifically the writing of the Gospel of Mark. Luke appears to be careful in identifying each person who played an important role in the establishment of the early church.

g) References to Mark outside His Gospel: Author's Relationship to Peter- The fact that the early church met in the house of John Mark's mother ( Acts 12:12) indicates that he was exposed to the preaching of Peter at an early age. This could have let to relationship between Peter and Mark.

Acts 12:12, "And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John , whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying."

h) References to Mark outside His Gospel: Mark in the Epistles - Because the epistles of Paul and Peter tell us about Mark's trips to and from Rome, we have an indication that Mark was acquainted with Peter's ministry in Rome, thus supporting the testimonies of the early Church fathers that Mark wrote down the preaching of Peter. We see that Paul instructs Timothy to bring Mark with him to Rome ( 2 Timothy 4:11). Paul dispatches Mark to the Colossians ( Colossians 4:10) and to Philemon ( Philemon 1:24). Mark was with Peter in Rome near the end of Paul's life ( 1 Peter 5:13). All of this evidence supports the testimonies that Mark was active in Rome with Paul and Peter and was a candidate to record his Gospel. It reveals that Mark had a relationship with Peter for at least twenty years, being also influenced by Paul and Barnabas, and was fully qualified to write his Gospel.

i) Luke's Description of Mark as "Assistant" - William Lane comments about the use of the Greek word ὑπηρέτης, which means, "servant, helper, assistant" (BDAG). Luke uses this word in his opening verses to describe those who had recorded testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:1-2, "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;"

Luke also describes Paul as a "minister" to deliver the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Acts 26:16, "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;"

Luke uses this same word to describe Mark as such a minister.

Acts 13:5, "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister."

These duties could have required that Mark keep written records and accounts for those he served. This connect could indicate that Luke is describing Mark as one of the sources that he used to compile his own Gospel. 4]

4] William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark , in The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), 22; cited by Daniel B. Wallace, "Mark: Introduction, Argument, and Outline," in Biblical Studies Press (1998) [on-line]; accessed 7 July 2010; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/ Mark -introduction-argument-and-outline; Internet.

2. Patristic Support of Marcan Authorship- The early Church fathers were in universal agreement that Mark was the author of his Gospel. Therefore, the external evidence for Mark's authorship is very strong.

a) Papias (A.D 60 to 130) - Perhaps the earliest reference to the authorship of the Gospel of Mark is given by Papias, the bishop of Heirapolis in Asia Minor, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp. In this quote, Papias refers to "the Presbyter," or "the elder," which is most likely a reference to John the apostle. He quotes John as saying that Mark received his information from Peter the apostle, being his interpreter and disciple:

"but now, to the extracts already made, we shall add, as being a matter of primary importance, a tradition regarding Mark who wrote the Gospel, which he [Papias] has given in the following words]: And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord"s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. [This is what is related by Papias regarding Mark…]" (Fragments of Papias: From The Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord 6) (see also Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 33915)

b) Justin Martyr (A.D 100 to 165) - Justin Martyr appears to have known about the four Gospels, as he frequently refers to the "memoirs of the apostles," and he tells us that they were also called "Gospels" as early as his time.

"For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them;" (First Apology of Justin 66)

"For in the memoirs which I say were drawn up by His apostles and those who followed them, [it is recorded] that His sweat fell down like drops of blood while He was praying, and saying, ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass:'" (Dialogue of Justin 103)

It appears that at one point, Justin Martyr describes one of the Gospels as the memoirs of Peter:

"And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of him that this so happened" (Dialogue of Justin 106)

Justin Martyr also tells us that the Gospels were read along with Old Testament books of the prophets. This tells us that the early Church had equaled the Gospels to divinely inspired Scripture.

"And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things." (First Apology of Justin 67)

c) Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) - The Muratorian fragment, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D 200, is considered the earliest attempt at listing the canonical books of the New Testament. It was discovered in the Ambrosian Library in Milan and formerly was kept in the monastery of Bobbio. Because of its condition, the first part of the fragment is missing. However, the first line reads, "…at which he was present so he wrote them down." Most scholars believe that the context of this statement means that the phrase "at which he was present" refers to Peter's preaching and "he" refers to Mark himself. Thus, it would have told us that Mark was present when Peter preached the Gospel and Mark took the occasion to write down Peter's messages.

d) Irenaeus (A.D 130 to 200) - Irenaeus tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel by relying upon the testimony of Peter the apostle:

"Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark , the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John , the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia." (Against Heresies 311)

"Wherefore also Mark , the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative…" (Against Heresies 3105)

e) The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark (A.D 160 to 180) - The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark tells us that Mark was the writer of his Gospel:

"…Mark recorded, who was called Colobodactylus [stumpy finger], because he had fingers that were too small for the height of the rest of his body.He himself was the interpreter of Peter.After the death of Peter himself, the same man wrote this gospel in the parts of Italy." 5]

5] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet. The translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, "Les plus anciens prologues latines des vangiles," Revue Bndictine, vol 40, (October 1928), 193-214. See also R. G. Heard, "The Old Gospel Prologues," Journal of Theological Studies n.s 6 (1955), 1-16. See also Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, c 1990).

f) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Clement of Alexandria tells us through Eusebius that Mark was the author of his Gospel:

"Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner: The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Marks had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark , who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John , perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel. This is the account of Clement." (Ecclesiastical History 6145-7)

"‘Marcus, my Song of Solomon , saluteth you.' Mark , the follower of Peter, while Peter publicly preached the Gospel at Rome before some of Caesar"s equites, and adduced many testimonies to Christ, in order that thereby they might be able to commit to memory what was spoken, of what was spoken by Peter wrote entirely what is called the Gospel according to Mark. As Luke also may be recognised by the style, both to have composed the Acts of the Apostles, and to have translated Paul"s Epistle to the Hebrews." (Fragments of Clemens Alexandrinus: 1. From the Latin Translation of Cassiodorus 1) (ANF 2)

g) Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225) - Tertullian, in his writing Against Marcion (A.D 207), makes one of the earliest and clearest references to the authors of the four Gospels. He refers to John and Matthew as apostles and calls Luke and Mark "apostolic men" in the context of the writings of the four Gospels:

"Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; whilst of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfil the law and the prophets. Never mind if there does occur some variation in the order of their narratives, provided that there be agreement in the essential matter of the faith, in which there is disagreement with Marcion. Marcion, on the other hand, you must know, ascribes no author to his Gospel, as if it could not be allowed him to affix a title to that from which it was no crime (in his eyes) to subvert the very body." (Against Marcion 42)

Again he affirms the Gospel of Mark to be his own work:

"The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage--I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew --whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter"s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke"s form of the Gospel men unsually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters. Well, then, Marcion ought to be called to a strict account concerning these (other Gospels) also, for having omitted them, and insisted in preference on Luke; as if they, too, had not had free course in the churches, as well as Luke"s Gospel, from the beginning. Nay, it is even more credible that they existed from the very beginning; for, being the work of apostles, they were prior, and coeval in origin with the churches themselves." (Against Marcion 45)

h) Hippolytus (A.D 170 to 236) - Hippolytus calls Mark one of the Evangelists.

"Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandria. Luke the evangelist- These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spoke, ‘Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me.' But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter"s instrumentality, and the other by Paul"s, they were honoured to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree." (Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus 49: The Same Hippolytus on the Seventy Apostles 14-15) (ANF 5)

i) Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Origen tells us through Eusebius that Mark wrote the second Gospel, being instructed to do so by Peter.

"Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew , who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a Song of Solomon , saying, "The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son." And the third by Luke , the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John." (Ecclesiastical History 6254-6)

j) Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius tells us that when the Gospels of Matthew , Mark and Luke were handed to John the apostle for his approval, he accepted them as authentic and truthful.

"And when Mark and Luke had already published their Gospels, they say that John , who had employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry." (Ecclesiastical History 3246)

k) Athanasius (A.D 296 to 373) - St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, supported Marcan authorship. He lists Mark among the four Evangelists.

"Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew ,, Mark ,, Luke , and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James , one; of Peter, two; of John , three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John" (Festal Letters 395)

Pseudo-Athanasius tells us that Peter dictated to Mark his Gospel while they were in Rome.

"And the Gospel according to Mark was dictated by Peter the apostle in Rome, and it was put out by Mark the blessed apostle, and it was preached by him in Alexandria and in Egypt and in Pentapoli and in Lybia." (Synopsis of the Sacred Scriptures) (PG 28 Colossians 433A) (author's translation)

l) Gregory Naziansen (A. D 329-389) - Gregory Naziansen, the Church theologian, says after listing the books of the Old Testament canon:

"And already for me, I have received all those of the New Testament. First, to the Hebrews Matthew the saint composed what was according to him the Gospel; second, in Italy Mark the divine; third, in Achaia Luke the all-wise; and John , thundering the heavenlies, indeed preached to all common men; after whom the miracles and deeds of the wise apostles, and Paul the divine herald fourteen epistles; and catholic seven, of which one is of James the brother of God, and two are of Peter the head, and of John again the evangelist, three, and seventh is Jude the Zealot. All are united and accepted; and if one of them is found outside, it is not placed among the genuine ones." (PG 38 Colossians 845) (author's translation) 6]

6] Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

He makes a similar statement again:

"Indeed Matthew wrote to the Hebrews (the) miracles of Christ, and Mark to Italy, Luke to Achaia, and above all, John , a great preacher who walked in heaven, then the Acts of the wise apostles, and fourteen epistles of Paul, and seven catholic epistles, being of James , one, and two of Peter, and three of John again, and Jude is seven. You have all. And if there is some (other than) these seven, not (are they) among the genuine ones." (Carminum 1) (PG 37 Colossians 474) (author's translation)

m) Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel at the request of the brethren, relying on the testimony of the apostle Peter.

"Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard this, he approved it and published it to the churches to be read by his authority as Clemens in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record. Peter also mentions this Mark in his first epistle, figuratively indicating Rome under the name of Babylon ‘She who is in Babylon elect together with you saluteth you and so doth Mark my son.' Song of Solomon , taking the gospel which he himself composed, he went to Egypt and first preaching Christ at Alexandria he formed a church so admirable in doctrine and continence of living that he constrained all followers of Christ to his example." (Lives of Illustrious Men 8)

n) Apostolic Constitutions (4th Century) - The Apostolic Constitutions, a collection of ecclesiastical law that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century, states that Mark was one of the Evangelist, that Isaiah , one of the authors of the four Gospels.

"Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these…Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist" (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7446)

o) Thomas Aquinas (A.D 1225 to 1274) - St. Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Catholic Church, in his commentary on the Gospel of Mark quotes Jerome as saying that Mark was one of the Evangelist, that Isaiah , one of the authors of the four Gospels.

"Jerome, in Prolog: Mark the Evangelist, who served the priesthood in Israel, according to the flesh a Levite, having been converted to the Lord, wrote his Gospel in Italy, shewing in it how even his family benefited Christ." 7]

7] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 2 (Oxford: John Henry, 1842), 5.

3. Manuscript Evidence of Marcan Authorship- The earliest Greek manuscripts of the third and fourth centuries contain the Gospels and Acts. The fact that the title of this Gospel bore Mark's name from the beginning of the early Church testifies to Marcan authorship. This title was never contested by the early Church fathers and no ancient manuscript that contains the Gospel of Mark gives it any other titles besides Mark. Daniel Wallace says some of the earliest fourth century manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark are entitled κατα ΄αρκον (according to Mark) (Codex Sinaiticus [ א], Codex Vaticanus [B]). The word "Gospel" was added to the title at a later date. For example, he says several fifth century manuscripts lengthen the title to εύαγγέλιον κατα ΄αρκον (the Gospel according to Matthew) (Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis [D], Freer Gospels [W]), while some later Byzantine manuscripts read, "The Holy Gospel According to Mark." 8] This title also tells us that other Gospels were known at the time the title was added. The word "saint" applied to Mark's name in the title of some Holy Bibles is of later Roman Catholic origin and lacks any ancient authority.

8] Daniel B. Wallace, Mark: Introduction, Argument, and Outline (Biblical Studies Foundation, Richardson, Texas) [on-line]; accessed 6 July 2010; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/ Luke -introduction-argument-and-outline; Internet.

Every existing early manuscript that contains the Gospel of Matthew ascribes the title to him in some form. Since these various titles ( κατα ΄αρκον) have the strong support of the early Greek manuscripts, they are of great value in the argument for Marcan authorship.

George Salmon notes that if the phrase "according to" only refers to the fact that these Gospels contain the traditions that emanated from the four Evangelists, but was not written by them, then it would follow that Mark's Gospel would be entitled "according to Peter" and Luke's Gospel "according to Paul." 9] Thus, much weight can to be placed upon these most ancient titles of the four Gospels to support authorship.

9] George Salmon, Matthew , in The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Pub. House, 1954), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2002), "Introduction: Titles of the Gospels."

Thus, we see an unbroken tradition beginning with the early Church fathers that is carried later through the centuries in support of Marcan authorship. This widespread support comes from many geographical regions of the known Christian world.

It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to Marcan authorship when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing's apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.

B. Church Orthodoxy- The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, "To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment." 10] The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church's Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth. 11] This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the Church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.

10] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 12.

11] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 331.

1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy- In addition to direct statements by the early Church fathers declaring Marcan authorship, patristic support for the authenticity and authority of the Gospel of Mark can be found in the form of direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book. The fact that the early Church fathers quote the Gospel of Mark along with other Holy Scriptures bears witness to the truth that they believed that this Gospel was authentic and thus carried apostolic authority. Louis Berkhof says, "It is quoted by at least two of the apostolic fathers, by Justin Martyr and by the three great witnesses of the end of the second century, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, and is referred to as a part of the Word of God by several others." 12] Thus, the Gospel of Mark was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.

12] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Mark , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 44.

Here are some examples of the earliest quotes of the Gospel of Mark: 13]

13] There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).

a) Clement of Rome (c. A.D 96) - Probably the earliest quote that may be associated with the Gospel of Mark is found in first epistle of Clement of Rome to the church at Corinth. In this epistle he quotes from Mark 7:6.

"Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." And again: "They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart."And again it saith, "They loved Him with their month, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, neither were they faithful in His covenant." "Let the deceitful lips become silent", [and "let the Lord destroy all the lying lips,] and the boastful tongue of those who have said, Let us magnify our tongue: our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, and for the sighing of the needy, will I now arise, saith the Lord: I will place him in safety; I will deal confidently with him." (1Clement 152)

Mark 7:6, "He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."

Note that the parallel passage in the Gospel of Matthew reads differently than Mark. Thus, Clement of Rome most likely quoted from Mark's Gospel and not from Matthew.

Matthew 15:8, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."

Clement of Rome also quotes from Matthew 18:6; Matthew 26:24, Mark 9:42, or Luke 17:1-2.

"Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how He said, "Woe to that man [by whom offences come]! It were better for him that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yea, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung about [his neck], and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones. Your schism has subverted [the faith of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continueth." (1Clement 46)

b) The Didache (A.D 80 to 100) - The Didache, or The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles, was a short early Christian manual on morals and Church practice. The Gospel of Matthew is used extensively throughout the sixteen chapters of this ancient manual, particularly from the Sermon on the Mount. There are several possible allusions to the Gospel of Mark (See The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations) (ANF 7). Note the following examples:

"The way of life, then, is this: First, thou shalt love God who made thee; second, thy neighbour as thyself;" (The Didache 1)

Mark 12:30-31, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

"We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant," (The Didache 9)

Mark 14:25, "Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

"And every prophet that speaketh in the Spirit ye shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven." (The Didache 11)

Mark 3:29, "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:"

c) Polycarp (A.D 69 to 155) - The epistle of Polycarp contains numerous quotes and allusions from the Gospels, revealing the fact that he was acquainted with them.

"…or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching: Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again; and once more, Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God." (The Epistle of to the Philippians 2) ( Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 7:1-2; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 6:14, Luke 6:20; Luke 6:36-38)

"…but temperate in all things, compassionate, industrious, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who was the servant of all. " (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 5) ( Matthew 20:28)

"If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive;" (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 6) ( Matthew 6:12-14)

"…beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing God ‘not to lead us into temptation,' as the Lord has said: ‘The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.'" (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 7) ( Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38)

"Pray also for kings, and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you," (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 12) ( Matthew 5:44)

d) Justin Martyr (A.D 100 to 165) - Justin Martyr alludes to Mark 16:19-20. 14]

14] A. Lukyn Williams tells us that Justin Martyr quotes the last two verses of this Gospel. See A. Lukyn Williams and Benjamin C. Caffin, John , in The Pulpit Commentary, ed. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction: External Evidences of the Early Existence of the Four Gospels 3."

"And that God the Father of all would bring Christ to heaven after He had raised Him from the dead… These are his words: ‘The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool…'…which His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere..." (First Apology 45)

Mark 16:19-20, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

Justin Martyr uses the phrases "Boanerges," and "sons of thunder," which are unique to the Gospel of Mark.

"…and when it is written in the memoirs of Him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder…" (Dialogue of Justin 106)

Mark 3:17, "And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which Isaiah , The sons of thunder:"

Justin Martyr tells us that Jesus was a carpenter by trade, which is unique to the Gospel of Mark.

"And when Jesus came to the Jordan, He was considered to be the son of Joseph the carpenter; and He appeared without comeliness, as the Scriptures declared; and He was deemed a carpenter (for He was in the habit of working as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes; by which He taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life)…" (Dialogue of Justin 88)

Mark 6:3, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James , and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."

e) Titian' edition of the Diatessaron (A.D 150 to 160) - The Diatessaron is an edition of the four Gospels compiles as a Harmony and written as one continuous narrative. It was compiled by Titian, a pupil of Justin Martyr, about A.D 150-60. Eusebius tells us that it began to circulate at an early date in the Syriac-speaking churches and became the standard text of the Gospels down to the fifth century, before it was finally replaced by four separate Gospels.

"But their original founder, Tatian, formed a certain combination and collection of the Gospels, I know not how, to which he gave the title Diatessaron, and which is still in the hands of some." (Ecclesiastical History 4296)

f) The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (2nd century) - The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (ANF 8), generally believed to be an early Church writing of the second century, contains many New Testament thoughts and expressions as well as quotes. It makes a possible allusion to the Gospel of Mark.

"…and every sacrifice thou shalt salt with salt." (The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: III The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance 9)

Mark 9:49, "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."

g) Treatise On the Resurrection (late 2nd Century) - In a fragment of a second century Gnostic writing called Treatise On the Resurrection, there is a reference made to one of the Gospels where it records the appearance of Elijah and Moses ( Matthew 17:3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30). It reads, "For if you remember reading in the Gospel that Elijah appeared and Moses with him, do not think the resurrection is an illusion." 15] This writing also discusses the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and His appearance to His disciples prior to His Ascension, which reflects the Gospels. 16]

15] "The Treatise on the Resurrection," trans. Malcom L. Peel, in The Nag Hammadi Library, in The Gnostic Society Library [on-line]; accessed 29 March 2010; available from http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/res.html; Internet.

16] "The Treatise on the Resurrection," trans. Malcolm L. Peel, in The Nag Hammadi Library in English, revised edition, ed. James M. Robinson (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, c 1977, 1996), 52-57.

h) Irenaeus (A.D 130 to 200) - Irenaeus quotes the opening and closing passages of Mark's Gospel.

"Wherefore also Mark , the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative: ‘The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make the paths straight before our God.' Plainly does the commencement of the Gospel quote the words of the holy prophets, and point out Him at once, whom they confessed as God and Lord; Him, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had also made promise to Him, that He would send His messenger before His face, who was John , crying in the wilderness, in "the spirit and power of Elias,' ‘Prepare ye the way of me Lord, make straight paths before our God.' For the prophets did not announce one and mother God, but one and the same; under rations aspects, however, and many titles. For varied and rich in attribute is the Father, as I have already shown in the book preceding this; and I shall show [the same truth] from the prophets themselves in the further course of this work. Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;' confirming what had been spoken by the prophet: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.' Thus God and the Father are truly one and the same; He who was announced by the prophets, and handed down by the true Gospel; whom we Christians worship and love with the whole heart, as the Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things therein.'" (Against Heresies 3105)

The Gnostic literature in the New Testament Apocrypha, written largely during the second century after Christ, and the refutations of heresies by the early Church fathers, reveal to us that the Christian Gnostic heretics largely supported the canonicity of the New Testament and their apostolic authority in an attempt to identify themselves with Christianity. 17] For example, the heretic Marcion (d.c 160) compiled his own version of the New Testament canon, which Tertullian refutes in his work Against Marcion. Philip Schaff says, "The Gnostics of the second century, especially the Valentinians and Basilidians, made abundant use of the fourth Gospel, which alternately offended them by its historical realism, and attracted them by its idealism and mysticism. Heracleon, a pupil of Valentinus, wrote a commentary on it, of which Origen has preserved large extracts; Valentinus himself (according to Tertullian) tried to explain it away, or he put his own meaning into it. 18] Basilides, who flourished about A.D 125, quoted from the Gospel of John such passages as the ‘true light, which enlighteneth every man was coming into the world' ( John 1:9), and, ‘my hour is not yet come.'( John 2:4)….Celsius, in his book against Christianity, written about A.D 178, he refers to several details which are peculiar to John , as, among others, the blood which flowed from the body of Jesus at his crucifixion ( John 19:34), and the fact that Christ ‘after his death arose and showed the marks of his punishment, and how his hands had been pierced' ( John 20:25; John 20:27)." 19] Philip Schaff tells us that a disciple of Valentinus named Heracleon (A.D 145 to 180), a Gnostic heretic, went so far as to write a commentary on the Gospels of Luke and John. 20] Others wrote Gnostic Gospels and Acts.

17] Philip Schaff writes, "The Old Testament they [the Gnostics] generally rejected, either entirely, as in the case of the Marcionites and the Manichseans, or at least in great part; and in the New Testament they preferred certain books or portions, such as the Gospel of John , with its profound spiritual intuitions, and either rejected the other books, or wrested them to suit their ideas." Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 2 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922), 451-452.

18] See Tertullian's work On the Flesh of Christ 15.

19] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 707.

20] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 707; "Herecleon," in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised, eds. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 637.

The fact that the early Church fathers quoted from the Gospel of Mark along with other Holy Scriptures bears witness to the truth that they believed that this Gospel was authentic.

2. Early Versions- In addition, the earliest translations of the New Testament included the four Gospels; Tatian's Diatessaron (c 170) (a harmony of the four Gospels) (ANF 9), the Old Latin (2nd to 4th c), the Coptic (3rd to 4th c), the Old Syriac and Peshitta (4th c), the Armenian (5th c), the Georgian (5th c), and the Ethiopic (6th c). 21] Mark's Gospel would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large.

21] The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts , Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis ( Acts , Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome's Vulgate (beginning A. D 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c 1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.

C. Catholicity- The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, "The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church." 22] This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.

22] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 12.

1. Early Church Canons- Every major canon of the early Church lists four Gospels as an authentic writings. Although the Muratorian Canon does not begin its damaged text until the Gospel of Luke , Matthew and Mark can be assumed to be a part of this early canon (A.D 180) (Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 2) (ANF 5). Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) includes them in his list of "acknowledged books." 23] The four Gospels are listed in the Cheltenham List (A.D 359). 24] Athanasius gives us a canonical list that includes them (c 367). 25] Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D 315-386) includes them in his list. 26] The Apostolic Constitutions includes all but the book of Revelation (late 4th c.). 27] Inclusion into these canons indicates that the Gospels were universally accepted by the Church at large.

23] See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 331-7; 324-25.

24] W. Sanday, The Cheltenham List of the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament and the Writings of Cyprian, in Studia Biblica ed Ecclesiastica: Essays Chiefly in Biblical and Patristic Criticism, vol 3 (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1891) 217-303.

25] See Athansius, Festal Letters 395 (Easter, 367) (NPF 2 4).

26] See Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 436 (NPF 2 7).

27] See The Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles 4785 (ANF 7).

2. Early Church Councils- The earliest major Church councils named the four Gospels as authentic writings; Nicea (c 325-40), Hippo (393), Carthage (397), and Carthage (419). This would not have been done unless the church at large believed them to be canonical.

During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures. 28] The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.

28] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 422-426.

D. John Mark's Biography - John Mark's biography discusses (1) John Mark's Names, (2) John Mark's Identity, and (3) John Mark's Life and Ministry.

1. John Mark's Names - John Mark carried both a Jewish name and a Roman name. His Jewish name was "John" ( ἰωάννης) (G 2491), which some scholars say is a contraction of the Hebrew name "Jehohanan" or "Johanan" ( יְהוֹחָנָן) (H 3076), or ( ιωαναν) (LXX), meaning, "whom Jehovah gave" (Gesenius), "Jehovah-endowed" (Strong), or "Jehovah hath been gracious" (BDB). This Hebrew name is found six times in the Old Testament ( 1 Chronicles 26:3, 2 Chronicles 17:15; 2 Chronicles 23:1, Ezra 10:28, Nehemiah 12:13; Nehemiah 12:42).

Since we know that John the Baptist was of this priestly tribe, and because tradition tells us that John Mark was also a Levite, it is easy to suggest that the Jews of the tribe of Levi used this name often for their children. The Roman name that he took upon himself was "Mark" ( ΄άρκος) (G 3138) ( Acts 12:12). Albert Barnes suggests that John probably received the surname "Mark" when he began to visit and work with the Gentile churches, which he says was a common practice of that day. 29] The fact that he is said to be Peter's interpreter in a Gentile world gives weight to Mark's need to adopt his surname.

29] Albert Barnes, The Gospel According to Mark , in Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), "Introduction."

Acts 12:12, "And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John , whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying."

2. John Mark's Identity - The Scriptures provide some biographical information about the author of this Gospel, whom it calls John Mark. The mother of Mark was named Mary.

Acts 12:11-12, "And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John , whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying."

He was either the biological or the spiritual son of Peter, the apostle.

1 Peter 5:13, "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son."

He was the nephew of Barnabas.

Colossians 4:10, "Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister"s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

He was a Jew.

Colossians 4:11, "And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me."

It is very likely that his mother was wealthy, since she allowed the believers to congregate in her house.

Acts 12:12, "And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John , whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying."

Isho'dad of Merv (c. A.D 850), the Syriac bishop of Hadatha, records the tradition that Mark was the son of Peter, noting that Mary, the mother of John Mark in Acts 12:11-12, was believed to be his wife. 30]

30] Margaret Dunlop Gibson, ed. and trans, The Commentaries of Isho'dad of Merv Bishop of Hadatha (c 850 A.D.) in Syriac and English, in Horae Semiticae, vol 5 (Cambridge: The University Press, 1911), 123-125.

3. John Mark's Life and Ministry- Mark traveled with Barnabas and Saul before they were sent out on their missionary journeys by the church at Antioch.

Acts 12:25, "And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John , whose surname was Mark."

This is perhaps why Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them on their first missionary journey.

Acts 13:5, "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister."

John Mark turned back from this first journey, to Paul"s disappointment.

Acts 13:13, "Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem."

Therefore, Paul refused to take him on another journey. This brought a separation between Paul and Barnabas.

Acts 15:37-39, "And Barnabas determined to take with them John , whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark , and sailed unto Cyprus;"

However, later in his prison epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon , Paul makes a reference to the fact that Mark was with him, and calls him a fellowlabourer.

Colossians 4:10, "Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister"s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)"

Philemon 1:24, "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers."

By the end of Paul's life, he had developed a warm heart for Mark calling him by his surname.

2 Timothy 4:11, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark , and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."

Peter also testifies that Mark was with him and Paul in Rome during the latter part of their ministries.

1 Peter 5:13, "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son."

The early Church fathers also discuss John Mark. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) says Mark was sent to Egypt, where he established churches in Alexandria, and that his ministry produced a large amount of converts.

"And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worthwhile to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life." (Ecclesiastical History 2161-2)

Eusebius also tells us that Mark continued as the bishop of the church at Alexandria until the eighth year of Nero's reign, which would have been around A.D 62to 64.

"When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of Alexandria." (Ecclesiastical History 2241)

The Apostolic Constitutions (4th Century), a collection of ecclesiastical laws that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century, states that Mark the Evangelist was ordained the first bishop of Alexandria (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7446). This supports Mark's presence in that city.

Jerome (A.D 342to 420) gives us a brief insight into the life of Mark and the writing of his Gospel. He tells us that Mark was a disciple of Peter the apostle. After writing his Gospel, he took it to Alexandria and started a church in that Egyptian city. Jerome says that Mark died the eighth year of Nero, which would have been around A.D 62to 64.

"Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard this, he approved it and published it to the churches to be read by his authority as Clemens in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record. Peter also mentions this Mark in his first epistle, figuratively indicating Rome under the name of Babylon ‘She who is in Babylon elect together with you saluteth you and so doth Mark my son.' Song of Solomon , taking the gospel which he himself composed, he went to Egypt and first preaching Christ at Alexandria he formed a church so admirable in doctrine and continence of living that he constrained all followers of Christ to his example. Philo most learned of the Jews seeing the first church at Alexandria still Jewish in a degree, wrote a book on their manner of life as something creditable to his nation telling how, as Luke says, the believers had all things in common at Jerusalem, so he recorded what he saw was done at Alexandria, under the learned Mark. He died in the eighth year of Nero and was buried at Alexandria, Annianus succeeding him." (Lives of Illustrious Men 8)

Sophronius (A.D 560 to 638), patriarch of Jerusalem, follows the tradition of Jerome.

"Taking with him the Gospel which he himself had written, Mark went to Egypt, and was the first to preach Jesus Christ in Alexandria, where he established the Church. So highly did he excel both in teaching and in a life of steadfast endurance, that all those who came to believe in Christ, followed his example. And Philo [an Alexandrian Jewish philosopher of the first century AD], the most eloquent of the Jews, was so impressed when he saw the first church in Alexandria while it was still made up primarily of Jews, that he wrote a book about the life of those Christians, praising, as it were, his own race. Luke relates that the believers in Jerusalem held everything in common; likewise Philo preserved the memory of what he had seen occurring in Alexandria under the guidance of Mark. Mark reposed in the eighth year of Nero's reign 63 A.D.]. He was buried in Alexandria, where Ananias succeeded him as bishop." (The Life of the Evangelist Mark) (PG 123col 437) 31]

31] Sophronius, The Life of the Evangelist Mark , in Orthodox Classics in English (House Springs, MO: The Chrysostom Press) [on-line]; accessed 1December 2010; available from http://www.chrysostompress.org/the-four-evangelists; Internet.

Nathaniel Lardner says Bede (A.D 673to 735) alone of the early Church writers describes Mark as being a descendent of the priestly lineage (sacerdotali ortum prosapia) (see Bede's Prologue to Mark 32]). 33]

32] J. A. Giles, trans, The Complete Works of Venerable Bede, in the Original Latin, Collated with the Manuscripts, and Various Printed Editions, vol 10 (London: Whittaker and Co, 1844), 2.

33] The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 3 (London: T. Bensley, 1815), 176.

Isho'dad of Merv (c. A.D 850), the Syriac bishop of Hadatha, says Mark was one of the Seventy that Jesus sent out. After writing the book of Mark under Peter's unction, Mark went to Alexandria and founded a church.

"Matthew and John were of the Twelve, but Mark and Luke of the Seventy." 34]

34] Margaret Dunlop Gibson, ed. and trans, The Commentaries of Isho'dad of Merv Bishop of Hadatha (c 850 A.D.) in Syriac and English, in Horae Semiticae, vol 5 (Cambridge: The University Press, 1911), 123.

After this [after writing the Gospel of Mark] he went first to Egypt, and preached there, and founded the church at Alexandria." 35]

35] Margaret Dunlop Gibson, ed. and trans, The Commentaries of Isho'dad of Merv Bishop of Hadatha (c 850 A.D.) in Syriac and English, in Horae Semiticae, vol 5 (Cambridge: The University Press, 1911), 125.

Severus, Bishop of Al-Ushmunain (fl. ca. AD 955 - 987), records the life of the apostle Mark. In this work, a great deal of detail is given about the life of Mark. He tells us that two brothers named Aristobulus and Barnabas fled from their native city of Cyrene into the land of the Jews. Aristobulus had a son named John , who was surnamed Mark. They settled near the city of Jerusalem. This writing claims that Mark was one of the seventy disciples that followed Jesus, and that he was one who poured out the water that turned to wine at the wedding feast. 36] If the young man who fled naked in Mark 14:51-52 is the author, as many have suggested, then Mark was in fact a follower of Jesus.) Severus also tells of the miracles that Mark wrought by his hands and how he was persecuted for his faith in the Lord Jesus. It says that Peter and Mark were sent to Rome by a dream and Peter later sent Mark to Alexandria in the fifteenth year of the Lord's ascension. It gives a lengthy story on Mark's ministry and martyrdom in this Egyptian city, from which the Coptic Church was founded. It says that Mark was thrown in prison and later dragged to a place from which he was burnt. 37]

36] This statement contradicts Papias who said, "For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter." (Fragments of Papias: From The Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord 6) (ANF 1)

37] Severus of Al-Ushmunain, History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria: Part 1Chapter 1Saint Mark, trans. B. Evetts, in Patrologia Orientalis, first series, tomus primus, eds. R. Graffin and F. Nau (Librairie de Paris), 135-148.

Theophylact (11th century) describes Mark as one of the seventy in his preface to the Gospel of Matthew. 38]

38] PG 123col 145C.

Thomas Aquinas (A.D 1225 to 1274), in his Catena Aurea of the Gospels, quotes Jerome as saying that Mark was a Levite by birth.

"Jerome, in Prolog: Mark the Evangelist, who served the priesthood in Israel, according to the flesh a Levite, having been converted to the Lord, wrote his Gospel in Italy, shewing in it how even his family benefited Christ." 39]

39] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 2 (Oxford: John Henry, 1842), 5.

Nicephorus Callistus (A.D 1256 to 1335) describes Mark as one of the seventy in his biography concerning Mark. 40]

40] Nicephorus writes the following heading when introducing a brief biography of Mark and Luke , "Concerning the holy apostles and evangelists Mark and Luke who were of the seventy." (Ecclesiastical History 242) (PG 145 Colossians 876A) (author's translation)

Philip Schaff tells us that in A.D 827 John Mark's "relics were removed from Egypt to Venice, which built him a magnificent five-domed cathedral on the Place of St. Mark , near the Doge's palace, and chose him with his symbol, the Lion, for the patron saint of the republic." 41]

41] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 629.

II. Date and Place of Writing

The best evidence we have regarding the date and place of writing of Mark's Gospel is to date in around 64to A.D 68 in the city of Rome.

A. Date- Regarding the date of writing of Mark's Gospel, scholars seem to be divided into two major camps. Either this Gospel was written prior to the death of the apostle Peter (before A.D 64to 68) or after the death of Peter. The early Church fathers give us some clues as to dating Mark's Gospel.

1. The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark (A.D 160 to 180) - The Anti-Marcionite Prologue tells us that Mark was the writer of his Gospel, having authored this work shortly after the death of Peter the apostle. This would have been the mid or late 60's.

"Mark recorded, who was called Colobodactylus [stumpy finger], because he had fingers that were too small for the height of the rest of his body.He himself was the interpreter of Peter.After the death of Peter himself, the same man wrote this gospel in the parts of Italy." 42]

42] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet. The translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, "Les plus anciens prologues latines des vangiles," Revue Bndictine, vol 40, (October 1928), 193-214. See also R. G. Heard, "The Old Gospel Prologues," Journal of Theological Studies n.s 6 (1955), 1-16. See also Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, c 1990).

2. Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150-215) - Clement of Alexandria tells us through Eusebius that Peter was alive when Mark wrote his Gospel, "And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it." (Ecclesiastical History 6146-7)

3. Origen (A.D 185-254) - Origen tells us through Eusebius that Mark wrote the second Gospel being instructed to do so by Peter, "The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter…" (Ecclesiastical History 6255)

4. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius, quoting Irenaeus, gives to us the period in history in which Mark wrote his Gospel as shortly after the death of Peter and Paul.

"Since, in the beginning of this work, we promised to give, when needful, the words of the ancient presbyters and writers of the Church, in which they have declared those traditions which came down to them concerning the canonical books, and since Irenaeus was one of them, we will now give his words and, first, what he says of the sacred Gospels: ‘Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark , the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke , the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John , the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia.' He states these things in the third book of his above-mentioned work." (Ecclesiastical History 581-5) (See also Irenaeus, Against Heresies 311)

5. Jerome (A.D 342-420) - In contrast to the Anti-Marcionite Prologue and Irenaeus' comments, Jerome says that Peter was alive at the writing of Mark's Gospel.

"Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard this, he approved it and published it to the churches to be read by his authority as Clemens in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record." (Lives of Illustrious Men 8)

6. Sophronius (A.D 560 to 638) - Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, follows the tradition handed down by Jerome.

"Mark was the disciple and interpreter of Peter, and, at the urging of the brethren in Rome, Mark wrote his short Gospel, following exactly what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter saw it, he gave it his approval, and directed that it be read in the Church, as Clement says in Book VI of his Outline. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, makes mention of this same Mark. Peter, in his first Epistle, refers to Rome metaphorically by the name ‘Babylon': The church that is at Babylon, chosen together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Mark my son."(The Life of the Evangelist Mark) (PG 123col 487) 43]

43] Sophronius, The Life of the Evangelist Mark , in Orthodox Classics in English (House Springs, MO: The Chrysostom Press) [on-line]; accessed 1December 2010; available from http://www.chrysostompress.org/the-four-evangelists; Internet.

Thus, there have been differences of opinion in the date of writing of Mark's Gospel since the early church fathers. We can also use the statement made by Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 581-5) regarding the order of the writing of the Gospels as a witness in dating Mark.

6. The Order of Writing of the Gospels- Eusebius refers to the writings of Clement of Alexandria in attempting to give an order to the writings of the four Gospels. Matthew and Luke would have been written first, followed by Mark , and finally John.

"Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner: The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark's had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark , who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John , perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel. This is the account of Clement." (Ecclesiastical History 6145-7)

Eusebius then quotes Origen, who gives us a slightly different order of the writing of the four Gospels. They are given by him as Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John.

"In his [Origen's] first book on Matthew"s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: ‘Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew , who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a Song of Solomon , saying, "The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son." And the third by Luke , the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.'" (Ecclesiastical History 6253-6)

Thus, it seems that the early church fathers accepted the order of the writing of the four Gospels as Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John. This is same the order in which we find these writings in the New Testament. This tradition found its way through the medieval period.

7. Theophylact (11th c.) - Theophylact says:

"Hence, Matthew first of all wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew language to those who believed of the Hebrews eight years after the ascension of Christ, and this John translated it from the Hebrew tongue to the Greek, as they say; and Mark wrote ten years after the Ascension from the teachings of Peter; and Luke after fifteen years; and John the theologian after thirty-two [years]." (Preface to Matthew) (PG 123col 145C-D) (author's translation)

8. St. Thomas Aquinas (A.D 1225-1274) - In the 1200's, St. Thomas Aquinas, writing in his Catena Aurea on Matthew , quotes Remigius of Auzerre (c. A.D 841to c 908), a medieval philosopher, who also wrote a commentary on Matthew. In this quote, we see the thoughts of later centuries as to the dates and places of writings of the four Gospels.

"Matthew wrote in Judaea in the time of the Emperor Caius Caligula [A.D 37-41]; Mark in Italy, at Rome, in the time of Nero [A.D 54-68] or Claudius [A.D 41-54], according to Rabanus (referring to Rabanus Maurus [A.D 776 or 784to A.D 856]); Luke in the parts of Achaia and Baeotia, at the request of Theophilus; John at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, under Nerva [began rule A.D 96]." 44]

44] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 1, part 1, second edition (Oxford: John Henry, 1864), 5.

In this quote, we see that the traditional order of writing and dates of writing of the Gospels were generally believed by the Church for the first seventeen centuries to be those handed down by the early Church fathers, until higher criticism arose in Europe in the 1700's.

Some scholars suggest that Mark's frankness in telling of Peter's weaknesses suggest that it was written after Peter's death. Otherwise it would undermine Peter's authority. However, this is a weak argument for dating the epistle, for Peter himself would have declared many his person experiences with Christ Jesus during his preaching of the Gospel, especially the dramatic ones such as his denial of Jesus.

In summary, it is almost certain that Mark wrote his Gospel during the time of Nero (A.D 54-68). Most likely it was before the death of Peter and Paul (A.D 64to 67) in order to give allowance for Luke to write the book of Acts during Paul's imprisonment in Rome (A.D 63), which writing followed the Gospel of Mark. Since the Gospel of Mark makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D 70, its authorship precedes this event. Since Paul makes no reference to Peter or Mark in his epistle to the church at Rome (A.D 56-57), it is almost certain that Peter and Mark were not in Rome until after A.D 60 The most likely date for the writing of Mark's Gospel is before the death of Peter (A.D 64-65) and before the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D 70). In order to explain the conflicting statements by the early Church fathers as to whether Mark wrote before the deaths of Peter and Paul or shortly thereafter, it has been suggested that Mark began compiling his notes before Peter's death, and completed them for publication after Peter's death.

B. Place of Writing- We can be very comfortable from internal and external evidence to place the writing of Mark's Gospel in the city of Rome.

1. Internal Evidence- The fact that Mark used a larger number of Latin loan words than the other Gospel writers (words such as centurion, census, denarius, legion, and praetorium), suggests that the author's intended audience was the church at Rome. Walter Wessell tells us that Mark transliterates at least ten Latin words into Greek with some additional Latin constructions hidden within the Greek text. 45]

45] Walter W. Wessell, "Introduction," in Mark , in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 8, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), in "Section 7: Language and Style."

In addition, the fact that the Gospel uses his Latin name "Mark" ten times and his Jewish/Latin name "John Mark" only three times indicates that he was not in Palestine writing to Jewish converts. The only likely Gentile place where he would have emphasized his Latin name would be in Rome.

2. External Evidence- The earliest Christian writings tell us that Mark wrote his Gospel in the "regions of Italy."

a) The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark (A.D 160 to 180) - The Anti-Marcionite Prologue tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel while in Italy.

"Mark recorded, who was called Colobodactylus [stumpy finger], because he had fingers that were too small for the height of the rest of his body.He himself was the interpreter of Peter.After the death of Peter himself, the same man wrote this gospel in the parts of Italy." 46]

46] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet. The translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, "Les plus anciens prologues latines des vangiles," Revue Bndictine, vol 40, (October 1928), 193-214. See also R. G. Heard, "The Old Gospel Prologues," Journal of Theological Studies n.s 6 (1955), 1-16. See also Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, c 1990).

b) Irenaeus (A.D 130-200) - Irenaeus tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel by relying on the testimony of Peter the apostle, who preached and co-founded the church in Rome:

"After their departure, Mark , the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him." (Against Heresies 311)

"[we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul" (Against Heresies 332)

c) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150-215) - Clement of Alexandria also tells through Eusebius us that Mark wrote his Gospel at the request of the believers in Rome in order to preserve the message of Peter the apostle.

"The Gospel according to Mark's had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark , who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John , perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel. This is the account of Clement." (Ecclesiastical History 6146-7)

d) Eusebius (A.D 260-340) - Eusebius tells us clearly that Mark wrote his Gospel while in Rome:

"And Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome itself, as is indicated by him, when he calls the city, by a figure, Babylon, as he does in the following words: ‘The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.'" (Ecclesiastical History 2152)

e) Gregory Naziansen (A. D 329-389) - Gregory Naziansen the Church theologian, says after listing the books of the Old Testament canon, "And already for me, I have received all those of the New Testament. First, to the Hebrews Matthew the saint composed what was according to him the Gospel; second, in Italy Mark the divine; third, in Achaia Luke the all-wise; and John , thundering the heavenlies, indeed preached to all common men; after whom the miracles and deeds of the wise apostles, and Paul the divine herald fourteen epistles; and catholic seven, of which one is of James the brother of God, and two are of Peter the head, and of John again the evangelist, three, and seventh is Jude the Zealot. All are united and accepted; and if one of them is found outside, it is not placed among the genuine ones." (PG 38 Colossians 845) (author's translation) 47]

47] Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

f) St. John Chrysostom (A.D 347 to 407) - In contrast to these early testimonies, John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel while in Egypt.

And Mark too, in Egypt, is said to have done this self-same thing at the entreaty of the disciples." (Homilies on the Gospel According to St. Matthew 1:7)

However, Wessell suggests that Chrysostom has misunderstood a statement from Eusebius, which said, "And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written." (Ecclesiastical History 2161) 48]

48] Walter W. Wessell, Mark , in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 8, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), in "Introduction: Section 4 - Origin and Destination."

g) St. Thomas Aquinas (A.D 1225-1274) - As stated above, St. Thomas Aquinas, writing in his Catena Aurea on Matthew , quotes Remigius of Auzerre (c. A.D 841to c 908) as saying that Mark wrote his Gospel in Italy, at Rome, in the time of Nero (A.D 54-68) or Claudius (A.D 41-54).

h) Ebedjesu (d 1318) - Ebedjesu, the Syrian bishop, reflects medieval tradition saying Mark wrote His Gospel in Rome. 49]

49] Ebedjesu writes, "After him comes Mark , who wrote in Latin at Rome." See Nathaniel Lardner, The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 4 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 321; George Percy Badger, The Nestorians and their Rituals, vol 2 (London: Joseph Masters, 1852), 362.

In addition, church history tells us that Mark was closely association with Peter, who ministered in Rome during the later years of his life, which makes Rome the likely place of writing for the Gospel of Mark. Several Scriptures support the historical evidence of Mark's presence in Rome during these years. In Paul's last epistle before his death, he asks that Timothy bring Mark to Rome with him.

2 Timothy 4:11, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark , and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."

Also, Peter, writing his first epistle from Rome, tells us that Mark was with him.

1 Peter 5:13, "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son."

The overwhelming evidence leads to the conclusion that Mark wrote his Gospel while in Rome during the mid to late 60's.

III. Recipients

Both internal and external evidence strongly supports the view that Mark's primary recipients were the believers in Rome.

A. Internal Evidence- Because Mark wrote his Gospel while in Rome under the urging of the church at Rome, it is very likely that he wrote with this Gentile church in mind as the primary recipients of his Gospel. Internal evidence supports the idea of Mark writing to these Christians at Rome.

1. Explanations of Jewish Customs and Geography- We can see how Mark takes the opportunities to explain Jewish customs and geography to his readers. Note:

a) Customs- Note the following references to Jewish customs:

Mark 7:2-4, "And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables."

Mark 12:42, "And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing." (The mite was a Jewish coin. It is noted by Lane that the farthing was a Roman coin that was not in circulation in the east. Thus, this verse was intended for those of the west who were familiar with this coin.)

Mark 14:12, "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?"

Mark 15:42, "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that Isaiah , the day before the sabbath,"

b) Geography- In addition, Mark's Gospel first mention's Jordan as a river. His is the only Gospel to tell us that the Jordan is a river. All other Gospels simply use the word "Jordan." This phrase may have been introduced to make it clear to those who were not familiar with the geography of Palestine.

Mark 1:5, "And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins."

2. Fewer Quotes from the Old Testament- Mark quotes Old Testament passages must less frequently than the other three Gospels ( Mark 1:2-3, Mark 4:12, Mark 7:6-7; Mark 7:10, Mark 11:9-10, Mark 12:10-11, Mark 12:29-31; Mark 12:36, Mark 14:27). This may be because he knows that his Gentile readers are not that familiar with the Jewish Scriptures of the Old Testament.

3. Translation of Aramaic Words- Mark took the time to translate Aramaic words into Greek:

Mark 3:17, "And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which Isaiah , The sons of thunder:"

Mark 5:41, "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which Isaiah , being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."

Mark 7:11, "But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free."

Mark 7:34, "And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that Isaiah , Be opened."

Mark 14:36, "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."

Mark 15:22, "And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which Isaiah , being interpreted, The place of a skull."

Mark 15:34, "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which Isaiah , being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

4. Use of Many Latin Loan Words - Everett Harrison tells us that Mark uses a larger number of Latin loan words than the other three Gospel writers: nouns such as δηνά ριον - denarius [ Mark 12:15], κεντυρί ων - centurion [ Mark 15:39; Mark 15:44-45], κηνσος - tribute [ Mark 12:14], κοδρά ντης - farthing [ Mark 12:42], κρά βαττος bed [ Mark 2:11], λεγιώ ν - legion [ Mark 5:9], μό διος bushel [ Mark 4:21], ξέ στης - pot [ Mark 7:8], πραιτώ ριον - praetorium [ Mark 15:16], σπεκουλά τωρ - executioner [ Mark 6:27], and the verb φραγελλό ω - to scourge, [ Mark 15:15], and as well as a few Latinized phrases. 50]

50] Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1964, 1971), 183.

Mark 12:15, "Shall we give, or shall we not give? But Hebrews , knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it."

Mark 15:39, "And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God."

Mark 12:14, "And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?"

Mark 12:42, "And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing."

Mark 2:11, "I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house."

Mark 5:9, "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many."

Mark 4:21, "And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?"

Mark 7:8, "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do."

Mark 15:16, "And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band."

Mark 6:27, "And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,"

Mark 15:15, "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified."

In the case of Mark 12:42 and Mark 15:16, we see the writer using a Latin term in order to explain a Greek word.

Of these eleven Latin loan words, which are used 55 times in the New Testament, Mark uses them 21times, Matthew 14, John 10, Luke 5, Acts 3, Philippians 1, and Revelation 1. This many Latin loan words suggest that Mark's intended audience was Roman.

5. Omission of anti-Gentile References- In the story of Jesus sending out the twelve, Mark's story omits the warning of not preaching to the Gentiles and the Samaritans (note Mark 6:7-11 and Matthew 10:5-6).

6. Omission of Jewish Genealogy - The fact that Mark's Gospel omits a genealogy of Jesus Christ, in contrast to Matthew and Luke , implies that he was writing to a Gentile audience. For the Jews would have a keen interest in this issue, while this would have been a point of little consequence to the Romans.

7. Reference to a Roman Citizen named Rufus- James D. Stevens suggests that since Rufus was a citizen of Rome ( Romans 16:13) Mark takes the opportunity to mention this same Rufus in his Gospel ( Mark 15:21). 51] This suggests the possibility that Mark was in the same location as Rufus when he wrote his Gospel.

51] James D. Stevens, The Gospel According to Mark , in The KJV Bible Commentary, eds. Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow M. Kroll (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1994), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Introduction."

Mark 15:21, "And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross."

Romans 16:13, "Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine."

8. Emphasis Upon Persecutions- Mark's Gospel places much emphasis upon persecutions and sufferings, which would appeal to those Christians in Rome, where the earliest and most intense persecutions against the Christians by the Roman Empire began.

9. An Abrupt Beginning Implies a Christian Audience - The fact that Mark's Gospel begins so abruptly into the ministry of John the Baptist without being accompanied with explanations implies that the author was addressing Christians and not non-Christians. The author uses terms "baptize" ( Mark 1:4) and "Holy Ghost" ( Mark 1:8) without giving insight into their meaning.

10. No Description of Pilate's Identity - The fact that Mark gives no description to his readers as to the identity of Pontus Pilate implies that his readers were well acquainted with this Roman's leadership in Palestine.

Mark 15:1, "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate."

Matthew 27:1-2, "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor."

Luke 3:1, "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,"

11. A Message for "All Nations" - Mark's Gospel is the only one that declares that the Temple was a house of prayer for "all nations."

Mark 11:17, "And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves."

12. A Fast Moving, action-packed Gospel - Mark's Gospel is written as a condensed, action-packed eyewitness account of the deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ This would have appealed to the Romans , who were a very strenuous, active people.

In summary, internal evidence shows that the primary intended recipients were Roman Gentile Christians who were already familiar with the basic teachings of the Church.

B. External Evidence- The early Church fathers give us indications as to the intended recipients of Mark's Gospel. They are in agreement that Mark was writing to a Roman audience.

1. Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Eusebius quotes Clement of Alexandria as stating the Mark wrote his Gospel specifically to the church at Rome upon their request.

"As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark , who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it." (Ecclesiastical History 6146)

2. Gregory Nazianzen (A.D 329 to 389) - Gregory Naziansen (A. D 329-389), the theologian, gives us a list of the primary recipients of the four Gospels that reflects the traditions of his day, saying, "In the first place, Matthew wrote to the Hebrews of the miracles of Jesus, then Mark to Italy, Luke to those of Achaia, and John to all, a great herald who walked in heaven." (author's translation) (Gregorii Nazianzeni Carmen de Libris Canonicis 15]) (PG 38 cols 843-845). 52] This tradition has been interpreted modern scholars to say that Matthew wrote to the Hebrews , Mark to the Romans , Luke to the Greeks and John to Christians. 53] The three Synoptic Gospels addressed the three mindsets of the civilized world of their day. Matthew , Mark and Luke lived in a world where the Jewish mind took religion to the world's most ancient past. The Roman mind was focused on dominating and subduing nations. The Greek mindset sought the highest wisdom that man could find. Matthew wrote primarily to the Hebrews to establish Jesus as their Messiah. Mark addressed his Gospel to the Romans , who would bow before the Miracle-working power of the Jesus Christ. Luke gave attention to the Greek mind, where he spoke to logic and reason to convince his readers of the wisdom of believing in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Why would Matthew's Gospel come first? Perhaps because to the Jews first was the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ prepared.

52] Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

53] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

3. Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - However, Jerome suggests that the Gospel of Mark was published for all of the churches.

"Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard this, he approved it and published it to the churches to be read by his authority as Clemens in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record." (Lives of Illustrious Men 8)

In the nineteenth century, a popular view was to apply a four-fold scheme for the recipients of the Gospels, such as D. S. Gregory, who said Matthew wrote to Jews, Mark to the Romans , Luke to the Greeks, and John to Christians. 54]

54] D. S. Gregory, Why Four Gospels? Or, The Gospel for All the World (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1877), 346-347.

In summary, the internal and external evidence points largely to the belief that Mark initially wrote his Gospel to the church at Rome, from which it then received widespread circulation among the other churches.

IV. Occasion

The testimony of Eusebius and Jerome say that the believers asked John Mark to write his Gospel in order to record Peter's preaching. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) says that those who followed Peter"s teachings were so overwhelmed at the apostle"s death in Rome that they asked John Mark , who was also a close follower of Peter, to record the Gospel that Peter had taught them. They so prevailed upon John Mark that he consented and wrote his Gospel. Note:

"And thus when the divine word had made its home among them, the power of Simon was quenched and immediately destroyed, together with the man himself. And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter"s hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark , a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the Prayer of Manasseh , and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel, which bears the name of Mark. And they say that Peter when he had learned, through a revelation of the Spirit, of that which had been done, was pleased with the zeal of the men, and that the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches. Clement in the eighth book of his Hypotyposes gives this account, and with him agrees the bishop of Hierapolis named Papias. And Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome itself, as is indicated by him, when he calls the city, by a figure, Babylon, as he does in the following words: ‘The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.'" (Ecclesiastical History 2151-2)

Later in his work, Eusebius quotes Clement of Alexandria as saying that Mark wrote his Gospel at the request of the brethren.

"The Gospel according to Marks had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark , who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it." (Ecclesiastical History 6146-7)

Eusebius again quotes Origen as telling us that Peter the apostle encouraged Mark to write his Gospel.

"The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a Song of Solomon , saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son.'" (Ecclesiastical History 6255)

Jerome agrees to the occasion of writing, as being at the request of Peter's followers in Rome.

"Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard this, he approved it and published it to the churches to be read by his authority as Clemens in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record." (Lives of Illustrious Men 8)

Isho'dad of Merv (c. A.D 850), the Syriac bishop of Hadatha, records the tradition that Peter compelled Mark to write a Gospel because his death was near and Peter wanted to record the humanity of Jesus Christ.

"But at the time that Peter ruled the church of Rome, he had a thought of going to the heavenly places; and the believers, being excited about this, begged him to make for them the teaching of the Gospel in a Book; and after they had entreated him further, he yielded to their persuasion; and because the Gospel of Matthew was previous, lest it should be supposed that he had done this because he was not pleased with that, he commanded Mark to describe to them in a Book the habits of our Lord, and His deeds and words, leaving many things out from it, and only endeavouring to write with great research the affairs of Peter s denial and such like. He incited him to do this; and because Simon had preached there that our Lord had not been incarnated, because of this, he endeavoured to write about what concerned His humanity." 55]

55] Margaret Dunlop Gibson, ed. and trans, The Commentaries of Isho'dad of Merv Bishop of Hadatha (c 850 A.D.) in Syriac and English, in Horae Semiticae, vol 5 (Cambridge: The University Press, 1911), 125.

LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)

"Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.

If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew."

(Thomas Schreiner) 56]

56] Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011), 11.

Within the historical setting of the early church, the authors of the four Gospels and Acts chose to write their accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ using a literary style similar to the Greco-Roman biographies; however, they adopted a unique aspect within their ancient biographies by including kerygmatic material consisting of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Gospels and Acts are given a distinct literary genre called a "gospel," which combines biographical narrative material and kerygmatic teachings. In the introductory section of literary style, a comparison of the Gospels will be made as well as a brief look at the grammar and syntax of the Gospel of Mark.

V. Comparison of the Gospels

A comparison of the Synoptic Gospels shows to us that there are many verses that are shared between the three Synoptic Gospels. Note these comment from Richard Heard:

"Of Mark's 661verses, some 430 are substantially reproduced in both Matthew and Luke. Of the remaining 231verses 176 occur in Matthew and the substance of 25 in Luke. Only 30 verses in Mark do not appear in some form in either Matthew or Luke. Moreover, both Matthew and Luke normally follow Mark's order of events, but, when one departs from the Marcan sequence, the other supports Mark's order." 57]

57] Richard Heard, An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950) [on-line]; accessed 7 July 2010; available from http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=531&C=551; Internet, "Chapter 7: The Gospel of Mark."

Thomas Constable tells us that about ninety percent of Mark's content is found in the Gospel of Matthew and about forty percent of its material is found in Luke. 58] However, there are many differences between the Gospels despite their common material. The unique characteristics of the Gospel of Mark reflect its purposes and themes.

58] Thomas L. Constable, Notes on Mark (Garland, Texas: Sonic Light, 2008) [on-line]; accessed 28 December 2008; available from http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes.htm; Internet, 4.

A. Comparison of Usage of the Old Testament- H. Berkhof says there are 613direct quotes and 1640 allusions to the Old Testament found within the books of the New Testament. 59] The index of the UBS3 lists Old Testament citations for each New Testament book: Matthew (61), Mark (30), Luke (26), and John (16). Allusions to the Old Testament are also cited in the footnotes of the UBS3, of which I count the following number: Matthew (138), Mark (47), Luke (161), and John (73). 60]

59] H. Berkhof, "Hoe leest het Nieuwe Testament het Oude?," in Homiletica en Biblica, vol 22, no 11 (Dec 1963), 242.

60] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, 1975), 900.

B. Comparison of Discourses and Narrative Material- When we compare the Gospel of Matthew to that of Mark , we see that the narratives in Matthew are generally more concise. Mark places more emphasis upon the narrative material than he does in the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is because the emphasis of Matthew is on the teachings of Christ, while Mark emphasizes the works of the Savior. For example, in the account of the Gadarene demoniac, Mark uses twenty verses to tell that story, while Luke uses fourteen and Matthew writes seven. Other lengthy descriptions include:

1. the death of John the Baptist ( Mark 6:14-29)

2. eating with unwashed hands ( Mark 7:1-23)

3. the demon-possessed boy ( Mark 9:14-29)

4. the question of the greatest commandment ( Mark 12:28-34)

Mark places more emphasis upon the importance of the miracles that are recorded in the narrative material. He has very little discourse material.

In addition, Mark also tends to give his narrative descriptions in living color with more minute details than do the other Evangelists. For example, only Mark mentions the anger of the Lord as he looked about the synagogue.

Mark 3:5, "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the Prayer of Manasseh , Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."

Luke 6:10, "And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the Prayer of Manasseh , Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other."

Only Mark mentions the love that Jesus had for the rich young ruler.

Mark 10:21, "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."

Matthew 19:21, "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

Luke 18:22, "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."

Only Mark mentions how Jesus took a little child into His arms.

Mark 9:36, "And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,"

Matthew 18:2, "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,"

Luke 9:47, "And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,"

Only Mark mentions how Jesus held the little children and blessed them.

Mark 10:16, "And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

Matthew 19:15, "And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

Luke 18:16-17, "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."

C. Comparison of Unique Material - The passages that are unique to Mark can be found in:

1. The Parable of the Growing Seed ( Mark 4:26-29)

2. Healing of Blind Man at Bethsaida ( Mark 8:22-26)

3. Healing of Deaf Mute ( Mark 7:32-37

4. Exhortation to be Alert ( Mark 13:33-37)

5. Several individual verses ( Mark 3:21, Mark 14:51)

D. Comparison of Common Material: Jesus' Public Ministry After John the Baptist's Imprisonment- The Synoptic Gospels begin their account of Jesus' public ministry after the imprisonment of John the Baptist ( Matthew 4:12. Mark 1:14, Luke 3:19-21).

Matthew 4:12, "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;"

Mark 1:14, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,"

Luke 3:19-21, "But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip"s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,"

This implies that Jesus did the majority of His public miracles after John's imprisonment. In contrast, John's Gospel begins at the beginning of Jesus' water baptism and records Jesus' earliest miracles. With the growing resentment of the Pharisees and the imprisonment of John the Baptist in Judea ( Matthew 4:12), Jesus moves His residence into Galilee to the city of Capernaum in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy ( Matthew 4:13). The Gospels do not tell us at which time during Jesus' public ministry that John was imprisoned. Jerome says the Gospels of Matthew , Mark and Luke reveal to us only one year of Jesus' earthly ministry, beginning after the imprisonment of John the Baptist:

"But there is said to be yet another reason for this work, in that when he (John) had read Matthew ,, Mark , and Luke , he approved indeed the substance of the history and declared that the things they said were true, but that they had given the history of only one year, the one, that Isaiah , which follows the imprisonment of John and in which he was put to death." (Lives of Illustrious Men 9)

However, the Gospel of John suggests that the imprisonment of John the Baptist took place between the First Passover ( John 2:13) and the Second Passover ( John 6:4) of Jesus' ministry, because He departed into Galilee when the Pharisees noticed the increased influence of Jesus' public ministry in Judea above that of John the Baptist ( John 4:1-3). 61] Reading further in the Gospel of John , the author refers to the public ministry of John in the past tense ( John 5:33).

61] William Duncan says, "The easiest and most satisfactory expedient which we can adopt, is evidently to suppose that it was not the first journey to Galilee (Jno 1: 44. ff.), but the second (Jno .) which was prompted by the imprisonment of the Baptist; in favor of which view in particular is the fact that John himself (4:1.) assigns as the reason of this second journey the knowledge which Jesus had that the Pharisees had. heard that he was making more disciples than the Baptist." See William C. Duncan, The Life, Character, and Acts of John the Baptist: and the Relationship of His Ministry to the Christian Dispensation (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1860), 225

John 2:13, "And the Jews" passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,"

John 6:4, "And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh."

John 4:1-3, "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John , (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee."

John 5:33, "Ye sent unto John , and he bare witness unto the truth."

E. Comparison of Common Material: Jesus' Passion and Resurrection- We know that each of the four Gospels devotes about one third of their story to the passion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that this event was the central and dominant theme of the early preaching by the Church. So naturally, it formed the most important event of Jesus' earthly ministry, and thus dominated the other events recorded in the Gospels.

VI. Various Motifs Emphasized in the Gospel of Mark

F. Emphasis Upon Swift Moving Action- Although Mark's Gospel is the briefest of the four Gospels, it is written as a condensed, action-packed eyewitness account of the deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ with many unique characteristics. It becomes clear from a casual reading of the Gospel of Mark that he is presenting to his readers a story of swift moving action. 62] In fact, according to ancient tradition, Mark has placed within his writing a collection of sermons that were preached by Peter the apostle. We can see his unique style of storytelling not found in the other Gospels by looking as several repeated words and constructions. First, Mark uses the Greek construction called the "historical present" over one hundred and fifty times, more than any other Gospel. For example, when Jesus came to Jerusalem, Mark says, "Jesus comes to Jerusalem," thus giving us the sense that we are there witnessing the events of the story. In addition, Mark uses the adverb ευθέ ως (immediately) about forty times, thus showing a preacher's style of keeping his listeners attentive.

62] B. F. Westcott says, "St Mark stands out as one whom the facts of the Gospel had moved by their simple force to look over and beyond varieties of doctrine in the vivid realization of the actions of the Son of God. For him teaching was subordinate to action." See Brooke Foss Westcott, An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels (London: MacMillan and Co, 1875), 231.

This writing style of Mark reflects the impulsive, emotional personality of Peter. It reflects the message of Jesus Christ in a story telling, sermon format as would be told by Peter. It is likely that Peter preached many of his sermons using this style of language, which Mark simply captured in writing. Therefore, it is an action-packed story, such as an eyewitness reporter would present to an audience.

G. Emphasis Upon the Miracles of Jesus- It is obvious that Mark's Gospel focuses more on the activities and miracles of our Lord Jesus than on his teachings. Although this is the shortest Gospel, Mark omits much of Jesus' teaching discourses in order to give detail to His miracles. Louis Berkhof says, " Mark , though considerably smaller than Matthew , contains all the miracles narrated by the latter except five, and besides has three that are not found in Matthew. Of the eighteen miracles in Luke , Mark has twelve and four others above this number." 63] J. Hampton Keathley quotes Wilkinson by saying that only eighteen out of Christ's seventy parables are found in Mark (some of these are only one sentence in length) but he lists seventeen of Christ's thirty-five miracles, the highest proportion in the four Gospels. 64] M. F. Sadler says that Mark's Gospel gives only four parables, while Matthew gives us fourteen. 65] Although we can find some parallel passages of Matthew's teachings in Luke's Gospel, there is not a single example of such teaching material in Mark's Gospel. Mark's Gospel is so lacking in didactic material that it must have been deliberately omitted in order to make room for other material.

63] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Mark , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 39.

64] Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru The Bible (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1983),321; sited in J. Hampton Keathley III, "Concise New Testament Survey," in The Biblical Studies Foundation, 1998 [on-line]; accessed 12August 2010; available from http://bible.org/series/concise-new-testament-survey; Internet, 12.

65] M. F. Sadler, Mark , in The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Pub. House, 1954), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2002), "Introduction: II. Incidences."

Mark was writing this Gospel to the believers at Rome, to those who lived under the very shadow of the most powerful person on earth at this time, the Emperor of Rome, who declared himself deity. News of the Emperor must have entered into their homes daily and affected their way of thinking. The Roman Empire was man's greatest effort to build a civilization using human might and human wisdom. Those who lived under the rule of the Romans were forced to do so because of their sheer military power. Therefore, in this Gospel, Mark declares that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is mightier than the Roman Empire and even Caesar himself. Thus, the emphasis on miracles proves this Gospel as a message of greater power than that of Caesar. The Roman would have admired such a man of action as Jesus Christ who fulfilled great accomplishments.

In the same way, Paul, in writing to the church at Rome, began his lengthy epistle by stating a similar declaration when he said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek," ( Romans 1:16). Paul said that he was not ashamed to declare the Gospel openly. To resist this system of Roman dominion proved fatal during these days. It was Paul's bold declaration that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was above the power of the Emperor that cost him his life at the hands of a Roman court.

Therefore, unlike the Gospels of Matthew and Luke , which declare the genealogies of the Lord Jesus, and unlike John , who reveals the divine genealogy of Jesus, Mark had no need to present a genealogy to the Romans , as they were looking for a man of power, and not a man of royal birth. Therefore, Mark's narratives are generally fuller than the other Gospels. In other words, when the three Synoptic Gospels are placed together in harmony, Mark tends to give more detail to the narrative story, as would be typical of an eyewitness account. As a result, Mark has the largest number of recorded miracles of the four Gospels.

H. Emphasis upon the Proclamation of the Gospel- Of the four Evangelists, Mark places the most emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel with signs and miracles following.

1. Preaching and Miracles are Combined- The theme of Mark's Gospel centers on the testimony of the miracles of our Lord through the preaching of the Gospel. Therefore, many of the events recorded in this Gospel show how Jesus preached and taught the people while working miracles in their midst. For example, in Mark 1:21-28, we see how Jesus cast out a demon while teaching in a synagogue. Note:

Mark 3:14, "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:"

2. Preaching and Calling are Combined- When Jesus called His first disciples, He was preaching and teaching ( Mark 1:14-20, Mark 2:13-14). The emphasis on the calling of His disciples was an important part of Mark's Gospel perhaps because Peter often reflected upon and testified of his personal calling into the ministry.

I. Emphasis Given to the Reader- There appear to be several verses that Mark inserts into his Gospel which are directly addressing the reader.

Mark 2:10, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)"

Mark 7:19, "Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?"

Mark 13:37, "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."

This writing style involves the reader with the story and is also used as a tool to call the reader himself to a decision about Christ Jesus.

VII. External Influences Upon the Gospel of Mark

J. External Influences: Petrine Influence - If Mark truly captured the preaching of the apostle Peter as the early Church fathers say, then we should be able to see Peter's perspective of the events in the life of Jesus.

1. Peter's Name Heads Each List of Names- First, we see often how Peter's name leads the list of apostles throughout the narrative material of the Gospel of Mark. This may be explained by the fact that Mark's Gospel is the recorded testimony of Peter himself. Peter takes the center stage in many of the narratives. Note the following verses that illustrate this point:

Mark 1:16, "Now as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers."

Mark 1:29, "And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John."

Mark 1:36, "And Simon and they that were with him followed after him."

Mark 3:16, "And Simon he surnamed Peter;"

Mark 8:29, "And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ."

Mark 8:32, "And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him."

Mark 9:5, "And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."

Mark 10:28, "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee."

Mark 11:21, "And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away."

Mark 13:3, "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,"

Mark 14:29, "But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I."

Mark 14:37, "And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?"

Mark 14:54, "And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire."

Mark 16:7, "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."

2. Some Narrative Material Focuses upon the "Inner Circle of Disciples" - Second, there are narratives told in the Gospel of Mark where only the "inner circle of disciples" were eyewitnesses. Here are a few examples:

a) Peter's conversion Mark 1:14-20

b) Peter's mother-in-law healed Mark 1:29-34

c) The healing of Jarius' daughter Mark 5:21-43

d) The mount of transfiguration Mark 9:1-13

e) Jesus' teaching on the destruction of Jerusalem Mark 13:3-37

f) The agony in Gethsemane Mark 14:32-42

These particular narratives seem to give Peter a little more emphasis in Mark's Gospel than in the other Gospels.

3. Mark's Gospel Omits Peter's Name When Referring to His House- Mark's Gospel carefully states that Peter's house is the "house of Simon and Andrew," while Matthew and Luke state that it was Peter's house. This omission of Peter's name implies Petrine influence.

Mark 1:29, "And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John."

Matthew 8:14, "And when Jesus was come into Peter"s house, he saw his wife"s mother laid, and sick of a fever."

Luke 4:38, "And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon"s house. And Simon"s wife"s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her."

4. Mark's Gospel Opens and Closes with Narrative Material Regarding Peter - Philip Schaff notes that Mark begins the public ministry of Christ with the calling of Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother ( Mark 1:16) and ends his Gospel with a message from Jesus Christ to Peter ( Mark 16:7). 66] Thus, this Gospel opens and closes with comments about Peter the apostle.

66] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 632.

Mark 1:16, "Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers."

Mark 16:7, "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."

5. The Closing Words of Mark Parallel Peter's Epistle- The final words of Mark's Gospel parallel the words found in Peter's epistle.

Mark 16:19, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."

1 Peter 3:22, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

6. Mark Provides More Detail of Peter's Betrayal- Mark's Gospel gives a little more detail in the account of Peter's betrayal than the other three Gospels.

7. Mark's Narrative Material Gives More Detail, as From Eyewitnesses- Mark's Gospel gives greater detail of many events in its narrative, such detail that only an eyewitness could have described. This indicates that Mark was recording an eyewitness account of someone like Peter. For example, only Mark's Gospel describes Jesus' garments on the Mount of Transfiguration as "shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them." ( Mark 9:3) The casting out of the demon in the synagogue ( Mark 1:23-28), the healing of Simon's mother-in-law ( Mark 1:29-31) and the healing of the sick of the palsy ( Mark 2:1-12) all give more eyewitness detail than does Matthew's Gospel. Mark even gives a better description of the gestures and feelings of our Lord Jesus Christ, as by an eyewitness.

Edward Bickersteth and John Thomson suggest 2 Peter 1:15 reveals Peter's efforts to put his preaching into writing, such as is found in the Gospel of Mark. 67]

67] Edward Bickersteth and John Radford Thomson, Mark , in The Pulpit Commentary, eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction."

2 Peter 1:15, "Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."

Louis Berkhof says, "Some things found in the other Synoptics are unexpectedly omitted by Mark , as Peter's walking on the water, Matthew 14:29; his appearance in the incident of the tribute money, Matthew 17:24-27; the statement of Christ that He prayed for Peter individually, Luke 22:32; the significant word spoken to him as the Rock, Matthew 16:18. In other cases his name is suppressed, where it is used by Matthew or Luke , as Mark 7:17 cf. Matthew 15:15; Matthew 14:13 cf. Luke 22:8." 68]

68] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Mark , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 41.

In summary, we have an enormous amount of material that suggests Petrine influence.

K. External Influences: Latin Influence- Mark uses a larger number of Latin loan words than the other Gospel writers as I have discussed under the section entitled "Recipients."

VIII. Grammar and Syntax

A. Grammar and Syntax: Limited Vocabulary- Mark's Gospel uses a relatively limited vocabulary compared to the other Synoptic Gospels. Thomas Constable tells us that Mark uses about eighty (80) words that are unique to his Gospel while Luke uses about two hundred fifty (250) such words. Mark's Greek is considered rather rough and less grammatical than Luke's Greek. These characteristics may be the result of Mark's efforts to translate Peter's Aramaic into the Greek language.

THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

"Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework."

(Andreas Ksenberger) 69]

69] Andreas J. Ksenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.

Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the Gospel of Mark , an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or periscopes within the Gospel of Mark for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.

IX. Purpose

The Gospels and Acts served a number of purposes for the early Church. They were written primarily to establish and defend the foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church; thus, there was a doctrinal and apologetic purpose. However, the authors chose to frame their work within a historical biography of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and each Gospel writer selected historical material that emphasized his own particular didactic purpose. Finally, the Gospels and Acts served a practical and kerygmatic purpose in calling the reader to believe in Jesus Christ and to proclaim the Gospel to the nations.

A. Doctrinal and Apologetic: To Establish and Defend the Foundational Doctrines of the New Testament Church - The primary purpose of the Gospels was to establish and defend the claim that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, which was the foundational doctrine of the New Testament Church. The Gospel of Mark offers an apologetic defense of the deity of Jesus Christ using the testimony of His works.

Conclusion- The doctrinal and apologetic purpose of the Gospel of Mark reflects the foundational theme of the Gospels claiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

B. Historical and Didactic: To Record the Testimony of the Preaching and Miracles of Jesus Christ that Prove He was the Son of God- The Historical-Didactic Nature of the Gospels- While the early Church used the Gospels to defend the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the authors of the Gospels chose to present this testimony within a historical biography of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the writings of the four Gospels, the characteristic of selectivity is clearly seen. They all have the common thread as a biography of record of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, each Gospel arranges these events in a way that teaches us a particular lesson. For example, the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures. He arranges his Gospel in a format that presents Jesus as the coming King, who delivers the laws of the kingdom of heaven to His people, how He performs the work of the kingdom, how man responds to this ministry, how to handle offences and persecution, and the departure of the King. Matthew's Gospel is packaged with the message of the coming King being woven within the major theme that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Messiah. Matthew closes his Gospel with the message of Jesus giving the commission to His disciples to teach all nations the laws of the kingdom of heaven. The Gospel of Mark also tells us of the events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, Mark's intent is to testify that Jesus Christ was the Son of God because of His many miracles that accompanied His preaching. Mark presents his material by following the outline of Peter's proclamation of the Gospel message to Cornelius in Acts 10:34-43. His Gospel shows John the Baptist's commission and proclamation, then shows Jesus' commission and preaching ministry, first in Galilee, then the regions round about. Jesus then made His way to Judea and into Jerusalem to face the Cross. Mark closes his Gospel with a commission to the disciples to preach the Gospel with these same signs and miracles following. The Gospel of Luke serves to give testimony from men. It gives the most extensive story on the birth, life and testimony of John the Baptist. It also gives the testimonies of many others, such as Zacharias, Elisabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna. Thus, Luke tells us the life of our Lord Jesus Christ in a format of testimonies that were compiled by those who were eyewitnesses of our Lord and Saviour. The Gospel of John emphasizes the events in the life of Christ that confirm His deity. John weaves within his Gospel seven divine names that Jesus declares about Himself, seven miracles that show His deity, seven Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus fulfilled. John closes His Gospel with Jesus calling His disciples to follow Him. Thus, we see in the book of Acts that it is not just a chronology of the history of the early church. Rather, Luke selected particular people and events in order to reveal most accurately the situations that Christians lived in during this part of history. The book of Acts is then able to explain why the Holy Spirit was able to move so mightily in the hearts and lives of certain men. The book of Acts becomes more than a history book. It provides a moral foundation for the establishment of the doctrines of the New Testament church in the midst of persecution from all established religions. It provides a defense for the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as defending the ethics of these Christians who were accused by their adversaries of committing evil atrocities. Finally, an additional theme can be found woven within all four Gospels and Acts , which is the lesson that persecutions always accompany those who choose to follow Christ. Thus, we see that these five books not only give us a biography of the life of Christ and of a history of the early Church, but they each weave within their collections of events a unique theme and a lesson to be learned.

The Historical and Didactic Purpose of the Gospel of Mark - When Mark opens his Gospel with the words "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God," he reveals the purpose in writing this Gospel, which was to his readers a historical, written account of the preaching of the Gospel as it was delivered to the apostles by Jesus Christ. The tradition of the early Church says Mark recorded these historical events from the eye-witness testimony of Peter the apostle. 70]

70] See Irenaeus (Against Heresies 311), Clement of Alexandria (Fragments of Clemens Alexandrinus: 1. From the Latin Translation of Cassiodorus 1) (ANF 2), Pseudo-Athanasius (Synopsis of the Sacred Scriptures) (PG 28 Colossians 433A), Jerome (Lives of Illustrious Men 8).

Conclusion- The historical and didactic purpose of the Gospel of Mark reflects the secondary theme, which is the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Although the doctrinal and apologetic purpose are primary, they are less apparent than the historical and didactic because the historical material the heavier weight of content within the Gospel.

C. Practical and Kerygmatic: To Proclaim the Gospel to the Nations through the Office of the Evangelist - The Gospel of Mark serves a practical purpose as the readers are called to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as the Son of God in faith and obedience to Him. The book of Acts reveals that the early disciples of the Church "continued stedfastly in the apostles" doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." ( Acts 2:42) Alongside this practical application, the Gospels serve a kerygmatic purpose. The book of Acts reveals that these early believers were scattered abroad beginning with the persecutions in Jerusalem and "went everywhere preaching the word." ( Acts 8:1-4) In addition, the commissions of Jesus Christ at the close of each of the Gospels call believers to go forth and proclaim the Gospel to the nations. The commission in the Gospel of Mark ( Mark 16:14-18) commands believers to preach the Gospel with signs and miracles following, which reflects the office of the evangelist.

Acts 5:28, "Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man"s blood upon us."

Acts 8:4, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."

Certainly, the historical setting in Rome during this period was one of growing persecutions for the Christians. As we examine the Gospel of Mark , we do see numerous references to the sufferings of those who follow Christ. For example, the Gospel opens with the imprisonment of John the Baptist ( Mark 1:14). Jesus warns those who follow Him of the cost of discipleship ( Mark 8:34-38). Jesus again warns that persecutions await those who forsake all and follow him ( Mark 10:28-30). Jesus warns his followers of His intense suffers and sacrificial death ( Mark 10:33-34; Mark 10:45). Jesus warns His disciples again of intense persecutions and death for those who follow Him ( Mark 13:9-13). One third of the Gospel is dedicated to the Passion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the atmosphere of impending persecutions is certainly woven within this Gospel. Mark's readers clearly see the triumph and conflict in Jesus' ministry as a reminder that they face the same challenges as followers of Christ. This purpose is affirmed by several verses that appear to address the reader directly ( Mark 2:10, Mark 7:19, Mark 13:37). This writing style involves the reader with the story and is used as a tool to call the reader himself to a decision to follow Christ Jesus amidst persecution.

Conclusion- The practical and kerygmatic purpose of the Gospel of Mark reflects the third, imperative theme, which is a call to faith and obedience to Jesus Christ from the testimony of the miracles of Jesus Christ, which claiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This third purpose is clearly seen within sermons using the text of the Gospels as the preacher calls believers to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to their daily lives.

D. Conclusion of Three-fold Purpose of the Gospels and Acts - Having identified three purposes to the Gospels and Acts , it is logical to conclude that there are three themes embedded within these writings, with each theme supporting a particular purpose. Therefore, the three-fold thematic schemes of these books will be discussed next.

X. Thematic Scheme

Introduction- Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. 71] The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader's response.

71] For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).

The Three-fold Thematic Scheme of the Gospel of Mark - There are three major themes woven throughout the framework of the Gospel of Mark. The primary theme serves as a foundation, while the secondary theme builds it structure upon this foundation, and the third theme gives support to this entire work. These three fit together in much the same way that a house is built.

The primary theme of the four Gospels declares that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This theme lays a foundation within the Gospel upon which the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is built. The secondary theme of the Gospel of Mark is the testimony of Jesus Christ as confirmed through His miracles, which takes place by the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with signs and miracles following. This secondary theme serves as the framework of the Gospel. Thus, it is possible to outline the Gospel of Mark using the order of Peter's proclamation to Cornelius in Acts 10:34-43. The third theme found within Mark is a responsive, or imperative theme that calls us to take up our cross and follow Him, and all those who follow Him will suffer persecution as their Saviour suffered; for this is the message of the Cross, which gives muscle, or power, to the proclamation of Jesus Christ. Mark's Gospel reveals how we serve the Lord by fulfilling the office and ministry of the evangelist, which is one of the five-fold offices of the New Testament Church. In Mark's Gospel the crucified life is seen in our obedience to His final commission to preach the Gospel with signs and wonders following; for the plan of fulfilling this final command of Jesus Christ is laid out in Mark. This work best reflects the office and ministry of the evangelist in the five-fold ministry. Thus, we see the concept of how the early apostles saw themselves as building a house that is founded upon the Lord Jesus Christ, whose house are we ( 1 Corinthians 3:10-11). The apostles took this concept of building a house from the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ ( Matthew 16:18).

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Note a further explanation of the three-fold structure to the Gospel of Mark:

A. The Primary Theme of the Gospels and Acts (Foundational): The Claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God - The Gospels and Acts share the primary theme presenting the claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Each of the Gospels offers unique supporting evidence to this central claim. This emphasis continues through the book of Acts , where the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit also begins to merge with the Gospel theme, making a theme transitional from regeneration to sanctification.

1. The Primary Theme of the Holy Scriptures- The central theme of the Holy Bible is God's plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God's divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD," to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." ( Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures. This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.

2. Why Four Gospels? - The New Testament opens with the four Gospels and the book of Acts. The Gospels of Matthew ,, Mark ,, Luke , and John , and the book of Acts serve primarily as testimonies, or witnesses, of the deity of Lord Jesus Christ. 72] God could have included dozens of Gospels into the Holy Bible, but He only chose four. Why is this so? One reason is that a matter, or truth, is confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses ( 2 Corinthians 13:1). Two or three Gospels were enough to establish the validity of Jesus' ministry. Skeptics would not believe in the Savior even if there were dozens of Gospels. In essence, there was no need for additional Gospels. The question arises as to why there are four Gospels, and not three or five records of Jesus' life and ministry. The answer can be found clearly in the witnesses that Jesus lists of Himself in John 5:1-47. In this passage of Scripture Jesus tells us there are four witnesses to His Deity beside Himself: the testimonies of the Father ( Mark 5:19-30), of John the Baptist ( Mark 5:31-35), of the works of Jesus ( Mark 5:36-38), and of the Old Testament Scriptures ( Mark 5:39-43). The structure of the Gospel of John is built around these four witnesses. The Synoptic Gospels emphasis one of these particular witnesses: Matthew emphasizes the testimony of the Scriptures; Mark emphasizes the testimony of Jesus' works and miracles; Luke emphasizes the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses; John emphasizes primarily the witness of the God the Father. Although each of the four Gospels emphasizes one particular witness, the testimonies of the other three witnesses are also found in each Gospel.

72] Ernest Burton expresses a distinction between the primary and secondary themes of the Gospels, saying, "To us today the highest value of our gospels is in the testimony they bring us concerning the deeds, words, and character of our Lord Jesus. The ideas and purpose of the author, and even his personal identity, are to us matters of secondary consideration." See Ernest De Witt Burton, "The Purpose and Plan of the Gospel of Matthew ," in The Biblical World 111 (January 1898): 37.

2 Corinthians 13:1, "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

The four Gospels and the book of Acts reveal man's need for salvation, or the redemptive plan of regeneration, through faith in Jesus Christ, as He shed His blood on Calvary and made a way for man to be restored back into fellowship with the Heavenly Father through faith and obedience to His Word. Man's response to this claim results in his salvation, or regeneration, so that he becomes a child of God, which serves as the third, imperative, theme of the Gospels and Acts.

B. Secondary Theme of the Gospel of Mark (Structural): The Testimony of the Miracles of Jesus - Introduction- The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind's depravity and God's plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.

The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews ,, James , and 1Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God's Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.

The Apocalypse of John , though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.

1. The Secondary Theme of the Gospel of John - The secondary theme of the Gospel of John is the five-fold testimony that supports the primary claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, 73] which is the fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. This explains why many new believers are asked to read this Gospel early in their conversion experience. Such a declaration of Christ's deity requires evidence. When a testimony is given in a court of law, it is accompanied by all of the available evidence. This is how John the apostle presents his case of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 5:1-47, Jesus tells us there are four witnesses to confirm His Deity, which are the testimonies of the Father, of John the Baptist, of the works and miracles of Jesus, and of the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus declares Himself as a fifth witness in John 8:18.

73] The emphasis on the deity of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John is widely recognized by scholars. For example, Louis Berkhof says, "The gospel of John emphasizes more than any of the others the Divinity of Christ." See Louis Berkhof, New Testament Introduction (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans-Sevensma Co, 1915), 104.

The secondary theme of John , which provides the structure to this Gospel, is built upon this five-fold testimony. John's Gospel relies on the testimonies of these five sources in order to declare the deity of the Savior. These five witnesses of Christ's deity support the primary theme of the Gospel of John , which is the declaration that Jesus is the Son of God. This is why John ends his testimony of witnesses with the declaration, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." ( John 20:31). The secondary theme of John's Gospel states that all available, supporting witnesses confirm that Jesus is truly God manifested in the flesh, the Son of God. Therefore, John's Gospel is a collection of five testimonies which are use to witness to this fact. The Gospel of John opens with the testimony of the Father declaring Jesus' eternal Sonship ( John 1:1-18). This is followed by the testimony of John the Baptist and his disciples ( John 1:19-45), the testimony of six of His miracles, the seventh being His resurrection ( John 2:1 to John 11:54), the testimony of seven Old Testament passages ( John 11:55 to John 20:31), and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself ( John 21:1-23). Together these five witnesses support the claim that Jesus is the Son of God. John's Gospel also emphasizes Jesus' relationship with the Father much more than the other Gospels.

2. The Secondary Themes of the Synoptic Gospels- An examination of the secondary themes of the Synoptic Gospels find that they serve as additional witnesses to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing one of these five witnesses stated in John. Thus, the Gospel of John will serve as the foundational book of the Gospels, and of the entire New Testament. In fact, a person can simply believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and be saved, whether or not he has a deeper and fuller revelation our Saviour and the other New Testament books. Faith in Christ Jesus as the Son of God is the foundational message of the John's Gospel, while the other Gospels support this message. The Gospel of Matthew portrays Jesus Christ as the Messiah who fulfilled the prophecies of Old Testament Scripture. Matthew testifies from the Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the King of the Jews to support His claim as the Messiah; for in this Gospel is a chronological list of Scriptures that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Matthew serves as the testimony from Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah sent to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel of Mark testifies of the many miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing the preaching of the Gospel as the way in which these miracles take place. The Gospel of Mark centers it theme on the miracles of our Lord and Savior. Thus, the witness of Jesus' works and miracles is revealed by Mark. The Gospel of Luke serves to give testimony from men who were eye-witnesses of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It gives the most extensive story on the birth, life and testimony of John the Baptist. It also gives the testimonies of many others, such as Zacharias, Elisabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna. Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world that was under the authority of Roman rule, and he was writing to a Roman official who was able to exercise his authority over men. Thus, Luke was able to contrast Jesus' divine authority and power to that of the Roman rule. Jesus rightfully held the title as the Saviour of the world because of the fact that He had authority over mankind as well as the rest of God's creation. Someone who saves and delivers a person does it because he has the authority and power over that which oppresses the person. Finally, the book of Acts gives the testimonies of the Apostles and early Church. In summary, Matthew represents the testimony of the Scriptures, which sees Jesus Christ as the Messiah and coming King of the Jews. Mark represents the works and miracles of Jesus, and sees Him as the Preacher of the Gospel with signs and wonders following. Luke represents John the Baptist and other eyewitnesses, who testify of Jesus as the Saviour of the World. It is important to note that although each of the four Gospels emphasizes one particular witness, the testimonies of the other three witnesses can be found within the framework of each Gospel, but only one has a major emphasis. Finally, the book of Acts gives us the testimony of the early disciples, which builds upon Luke's theme, as they testify of Jesus as the Saviour of the World ( John 15:26-27).

John 15:26-27, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."

In fact, every book of the Holy Bible serves as some form of a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus stated this in John 5:39.

John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Although each of the four Gospels emphasizes one particular witness, the testimonies of the other three witnesses are also woven within the framework of each Gospel.

3. The Secondary Theme of the Gospel of Mark - The secondary theme of Mark supports its primary theme by revealing the way in which the miracles testify of the deity of Jesus Christ, which is by the proclamation of the Gospel. The secondary theme also gives the book its structure, or outline. The primary and secondary themes are woven together in order to present a narrative of how Jesus preached the Gospel with signs and miracles following.

The Gospel of Mark centers it secondary theme on the miracles of our Lord and Savior, thus the witness of Jesus' works and miracles is revealed by Mark. This is evidenced by the fact that Mark records nineteen miracles and only four parables. In other words, there is more emphasis placed upon the works and miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ than upon His teaching. 74] The Gospel of Mark makes use of the adverb "immediately" ( εὐ θέ ως) (G 2112) forty times, more often than the other Gospels ( Matthew 15, Luke 8, John 4). Mark uses this word on eleven occasions to describe the miracle that takes place ( Mark 1:31; Mark 1:42; Mark 2:12; Mark 5:13; Mark 5:29-30; Mark 5:42; Mark 7:35; Mark 9:20; Mark 9:24; Mark 10:52); this is because a miracle often must transcend the realm of time and takes place immediately, when it otherwise would take place over an extended period of time. 75]

74] The emphasis upon the works and miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark is widely recognized by scholars. Philip Schaff says, "…the second Gospel as the mighty conqueror and worker of miracles who excites our astonishment." See Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582; Anthony Deane says, "Mark is more concerned to record his deeds than his words." See Anthony C. Deane, How to Understand the Gospels, in Hodder and Stoughton's People's Library, ed. Sidney Dark (London: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 38. James Moffatt writes, "Mark's gospel is the story of Jesus as a supernatural figure, compelling homage from the invisible world of demons, and exercising the powders of divine forgiveness and authority on earth as Son of God and Son of man." See James Moffatt, The Theology of the Gospels, in Studies in Theology (London: Duckworth and Co, 1912), 12. Henry Sheldon says, "The writing of the second evangelist is essentially a descriptive Gospel. Its aim is a vivid reproduction of the life of Christ, a picture of the Master in His deeds…In the exercise of its pictorial art it passes rapidly from scene to secne…" See Henry S. Sheldon, New Testament Theology (New York: The Macmillian Company, 1922), 44.

75] For example, Louis Berkhof says, "This Gospel [Mark] contains comparatively little of the teaching of Jesus; it rather brings out the greatness of our Lord by pointing to his mighty works, and in doing this does not follow the exact chronological order. Teaching is subordinate to action, though we cannot maintain that it is ignored altogether. Mark , though considerably smaller than Matthew , contains all the miracles narrated by the latter except five, and besides has three that are not found in Matthew. Of the eighteen miracles in Luke , Mark has twelve and four others above this number." See Louis Berkhof, New Testament Introduction (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans-Sevensma Co, 1915), 77.

As the apostles continued to teach the people how that Jesus Christ was the Messiah (seen in the Gospel of Matthew), their message was accompanied with signs and miracles.

Acts 4:33, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

The need to explain why miracles accompanied the preaching of the apostles brought the need for a Gospel that taught on the miracles of Jesus. Thus, the need for the Gospel of Mark. We see these miracles frequently in the early chapters of the book of Acts as the apostles began to proclaim the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. The evidence that Mark's Gospel is a record of the preaching of the apostle Peter is seen by the fact that the style is fast-moving and full of energy. Its narratives are relatively longer than are those of Matthew , such as would be delivered by an energetic sermon.

4. Comparison of the Great Commissions of the Four Gospels- We can clearly see the themes of the four Gospels clearly emphasized in each of their Great Commissions. When Matthew's Great Commission is compared to the one in Mark , the distinction is obvious. The Great Commission ending the Gospel of Matthew serves as a final commission to the Church to build itself upon the foundational doctrines laid down in these five discourses through the teaching ministry. Mark's Gospel emphasizes the preaching of the Gospel with signs following. This supports the major themes of each Gospel. Matthew's underlying theme is to testify of Jesus through Scriptures, which lays the foundation for doctrine. Mark's theme is the testimony of Jesus through His miracles, which Gospel He delivers to His disciples. The structural theme of Luke's Gospel is the collection of verifiable eyewitness accounts as to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, Jesus commands His disciples to be witnesses of these events by preaching the Gospel to all nations beginning at Jerusalem ( Luke 24:47), and to tarry in Jerusalem unto they be endued with power on high ( Luke 24:49). Thus, he is making a clear reference to the contents of the book of Acts; and thus, he establishes its theme. The structural theme of John's Gospel is the five-fold testimony of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. John's Gospel reveals His deity with the testimony of the Father, of John the Baptist, of Jesus' miracles, by the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures and finally in the last chapter by the testimony of Jesus Himself. This is why John's commission is simply, "Come, follow Me."

C. Third Theme (Imperative): The Proclamation of the Cross and the Persecution of the Church (The Office of the Evangelist: Preaching the Gospel with Signs Following) - Introduction- The third theme of each book of the Holy Scriptures is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one's Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God's children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves ( Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.

1. The Third Theme of the Gospel of Mark - The third theme of the Gospel of Mark involves the response of the recipient to God's divine calling revealed in its primary and secondary themes, which state that the miracles Jesus wrought through the preaching of the Kingdom of God testifies that He is the Son of God. As believers, we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus ( Romans 8:29). In order to go through this process of transformation, we, too, must live a crucified life daily through obedience to the divine calling given in this book in proclaiming the Cross. Jesus endured the Cross for the sins of mankind and we must take up our cross daily to follow Him. This means that we must endure persecution just as our Saviour endured. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews and acceptance by the Gentiles is played out in many passages of this Gospel as an underlying theme. This third theme involves the message that the Gospel of Jesus has been hidden from the Jews, and is understood only by those who have ears to hear. This theme rests upon the first two themes. In explaining the parables Jesus tells his disciples that unto them has been given the ability to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others this mystery is hidden. Jesus refers to this message throughout the Gospel of Mark ( Mark 4:11-12; Mark 4:33-34, Mark 7:6-7; Mark 7:18, Mark 8:17-18, Mark 9:19; Mark 9:35, Mark 10:14-15; Mark 10:23-31, Mark 12:10-11; Mark 12:24, Mark 13:5, Mark 16:16). This theme is strengthened by the numerous references to the sufferings of those who choose to follow Christ. Thus, this Gospel creates an atmosphere of impending persecutions for all who will follow Christ. This was the historical setting for the church in Rome in the early 60's that Mark was addressing.

The Preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ- The third theme of Mark supports its secondary theme by revealing the way in which the miracles testify of the deity of Jesus Christ, which is by the proclamation of the Gospel. The second and third themes are woven together in order to present a narrative of how Jesus preached the Gospel with signs and miracles following.

Mark testifies of the many miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing the preaching of the Gospel as the way in which these miracles take place. In a similar way, Matthew portrays Jesus Christ as the Messiah who fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Matthew's presentation of Jesus as the King of the Jews supports His claim as the Messiah. Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world that was under the authority of Roman rule. He was writing to a Roman official who was able to exercise his authority over men. Thus, Luke was able to contrast Jesus' divine authority and power to that of the Roman rule. Jesus rightfully held the title as the Saviour of the world because of the fact that He had authority over mankind as well as the rest of God's creation. Someone who saves and delivers a person does it because he has the authority and power over that which oppresses the person. John gives us the testimony of God the Father, who says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. John uses the additional testimonies of John the Baptist, of His miracles, of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and of Jesus Himself to support this claim.

It is important to note that the early Church fathers Papias and Eusebius tell us that Mark's Gospel is written from the eyewitness accounts of Peter the apostle. Although Mark was careful to give an accurate record of what Peter said, it was not necessarily written in chronological order.

"And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord"s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. [This is what is related by Papias regarding Mark…]" (Fragments of Papias: From The Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord 6) (ANF 1) (See also Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 33915)

Thus, it is important to note that Mark wrote his Gospel around the sermons of Peter in a way that met the needs of the early Christian church. It was not intended to be an accurate chronological account of the life of Jesus Christ. Luke seemed to be keener on such accuracy. But Mark's Gospel seems to hold the most important events in the life of Jesus Christ that were needed in the earliest forms of the preaching of the Gospel. Therefore, the theme of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus through the witness of His miracles can easily be seen woven throughout Mark's Gospel. This is perhaps why most of the narrative material in Mark covers His Galilean ministry. It was here that many people received the Gospel and Jesus was able to do many miracles among them. The first nine chapters cover Jesus' Galilean ministry. The tenth chapter covers Jesus' ministry on His way to Jerusalem. Chapters eleven through thirteen cover Jesus' ministry immediately before His Passion.

In addition, references to preaching the Gospel open and close the Gospel, as well as the miracles that accompany this Proclamation. Note the many verses that refer to the proclamation of the Gospel:

Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"

Mark 1:4, "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

Mark 1:14, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,"

Mark 2:13, "And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them."

Mark 3:14, "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,"

Mark 4:1, "And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land."

Mark 6:6, "And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching."

Mark 9:31, "For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day."

Mark 10:1, "And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again."

Mark 12:35, "And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?"

Mark 14:9, "Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."

Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

Mark 16:20, "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

Note some verses that refer to the miracles that accompany the proclamation of the Gospel:

Mark 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Mark 16:20, "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

With this emphasis upon the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with signs and miracles following there is also woven the emphasis upon the "calling" of those individuals who have been chosen to speak forth this proclamation. The calling of John the Baptist is confirmed in Mark 1:2-3 by quoting two Old Testament prophecies. After John delivers his proclamation in Mark 1:4-8, Mark records the calling and anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ ( Mark 1:9-13). Also woven within the first two chapters of Mark's Gospel is the calling of His disciples. Simon and Andrew are first called ( Mark 1:14-18), followed by James and John ( Mark 1:19-20) and then Levi ( Mark 2:13-14). In chapter three, Mark records the calling of the twelve apostles ( Mark 3:13-19). These disciples are commissioned and sent forth with the proclamation in Mark 6:7-13. The Gospel of Mark closes with Jesus giving His disciples the commission to go forth and preach the Gospel with signs following ( Mark 16:14-20). Thus, Mark's Gospel is a go-and-tell Gospel. It emphasizes the part of Matthew's commission that states, "Lo, I am with you always (confirming My Word with signs following)."

In Mark's Gospel the crucified life is seen in our obedience to His final commission to preach the Gospel with signs and wonders following; for the plan of fulfilling this final command of Jesus Christ is laid out in Mark. If we will follow Jesus' example in Mark as He preached the Gospel, we will be able to do the same. Jesus was first justified through water baptism, then He preached a Gospel of (1) forgiveness and healing, of (2) God's doctrine as opposed to the traditions of men, of (3) enduring persecutions and avoiding offence, and (4) of His Second Coming. If we will follow His example and preach these aspects of the Gospel, we, too, will see the same miracles. This work best reflects the office and ministry of the evangelist in the five-fold ministry of the Church. Thus, according to Mark's Gospel the Kingdom of God is established upon earth through the preaching of the Gospel with signs following. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). Mark's Gospel emphasizes one aspect of this conformity through the crucified life of faith and obedience in Him.

XI. Literary Structure

The literary structure of the Gospel of Mark must follow the thematic scheme of the book. It is important to note that such a breakdown of this book of the Holy Bible was not necessarily intended by the original author, but it is being used as a means of making the interpretation easier. It is hoped that this summary and outline can identify the underlying themes of the book, as well as the themes of its major divisions, sections and subsections. Then individual verses can more easily be understood in light of the emphasis of the immediate passages in which they are found.

A. Identifying the Structure of the Gospel of Mark - Before we can give a summary of the Gospel of Matthew , we must decide upon its structure. There are a number of different ways that scholars have chosen to outline the Gospel of Mark. I have listed a few of the more common outlines.

1. Geographical Outline - A very popular way to outline the Gospel of Mark is to base its structure upon the different geographical locations of Jesus' ministry. There is no doubt that a clear outline of Mark can be made using Jesus' geographical ministry. However, this structure does not reveal the major theme of the Gospel of Mark.

The Prologue

The Galilean Ministry to Mark 7:23

Ministry Beyond Galilee to Mark 9:50

The Judean Ministry

The Jerusalem Ministry to Mark 13:37

The Passion & Resurrection to Mark 16:20

2. Peter's Sermon Outline - If this Gospel was in fact Peter's recollection of Christ's sermons, then it should follow that the format of Peter's sermons imitates those of Christ in this Gospel. We have one such sermon of Peter's recorded in Acts 10:34-43 where he first preaches to the Gentiles. Many scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark follows the outline of Peter's sermon to Cornelius. An examination of the structure of Mark's Gospel reveals that it is similar to the structure of Peter's sermon to the household of Cornelius. Peter's sermon in Acts 10:34-43 tells how Jesus began to preach, beginning in Galilee after the baptism of John , how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed with the devil, which word was published throughout all Judea, how the Jews slew Jesus on the cross, how God raised Him from the dead, and how He commanded His disciples to preach.

Peter's statement in Acts 10:37, "That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached," refers to the preaching of John the Baptist, which parallels Mark 1:1-8.

Peter's statement in Acts 10:38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him," refers to the preaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ, which parallels Mark 1:14 to Mark 13:37.

Peter's statement in Acts 10:39-40, "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly," refers to the Passion of Christ, which parallels Mark 14:1 to Mark 16:13.

Peter's statement in Acts 10:42, "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead," refers to the commission of Christ Jesus, which parallels Mark 16:14-20.

3. The Proclamation of God's Plan of Redemption Outline - There can be no denial that the Gospel of Mark and Peter's sermon in Acts 10:34-43 are similar in structure. However, there is a much more accurate way to outline Mark's Gospel that clearly reflects its theme, which is based upon the preaching of the Gospel with signs and miracles accompanying it. The preaching of the Gospel is based upon God's plan of redemption for mankind, which begins with God's foreknowledge and is manifested to us as we are justified and indoctrinated to persevere and be glorified. Thus, we can find the major divisions of Mark's Gospel under the themes of God's foreknowledge ( Mark 1:2-13), our justification ( Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34), our indoctrination ( Mark 4:35 to Mark 7:23), our perseverance ( Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:50), and ultimate glorification ( Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37). The Gospel of Mark ends with Christ's passion and resurrection ( Mark 14:1 to Mark 16:20). In addition, the four divisions that emphasize justification, indoctrination, perseverance and glorification each reflect narrative material followed by a sermon related to the same topic emphasized within that division of material.

In summary, the Proclamation of God's Plan of Redemption Outline best supports the themes of the Gospel of Mark.

B. A Summary of the Gospel of Mark Using the Proclamation of God's Plan of Redemption Outline - Here is a proposed summary of the Gospel of Mark following the Proclamation of God's Plan of Redemption Outline.

I. Foreknowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( Mark 1:1-3) - The opening verses of the Gospel of Mark declare the institution of the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon earth as predicted in Old Testament prophecy through the divine foreknowledge of God the Father. Two Old Testament prophecies of the coming of John the Baptist are used to open the Gospel of Mark ( Mark 1:2-3), serving a two-fold emphasis. First, they refer to the coming of John the Baptist to preach the Gospel of the coming of the Messiah, and second, they speak figuratively of him turning the hearts of the people to God, using the words "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." These prophetic passages establish John's ministry as a part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These verses also reflect the foundational theme of the four Gospels, which is the claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. These verses also reflect Mark's secondary theme, which is the witness to Jesus' deity through the preaching of the Gospel, beginning with John the Baptist, who claimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of God. He preached the mystery of godliness, of how God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world and how He was received up into glory ( 1 Timothy 3:16).

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

II. Justification- Public Ministry of John the Baptist ( Mark 1:4-13) - Mark 1:4-13 emphasizes the justification of Jesus Christ as the Son of God through the public ministry of John the Baptist, whose ministry was prophesied in the Old Testament through the foreknowledge of God the Father ( Mark 1:1-3). According to Mark's Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. Thus, Mark makes no reference to the nativity of Jesus Christ the Saviour as does Matthew and Luke , but goes right into the events surrounding the preaching of the Gospel. Mark opens His Gospel by explaining how John the Baptist was sent before Jesus' arrival in order to prepare the hearts of the Jewish people to receive Him. His ministry culminated with the baptism of Jesus Christ as God used this event to present the Messiah to His people using the preaching testimony of John the Baptist, the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the Father from Heaven, which served as three testimonies to the Jewish people to justify Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

After quoting the Old Testament prophecies in Mark 1:1-3, Mark explains in Mark 1:4-8 how John fulfilled them both as he preached ( Mark 1:4) and as the people repented ( Mark 1:5). Then Mark describes the culmination of John's ministry with the account of Jesus' water baptism ( Mark 1:9-11) and temptation ( Mark 1:12-13). Note the proposed outline of the public ministry of John the Baptist:

A. John the Baptist's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness ( Mark 1:4-8) - Mark 1:4-8 serves as a testimony of the fulfillment of two Old Testament prophecies found in Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 through the public ministry of John the Baptist, whose message justifying Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah prophesied in Old Testament Scripture. The first part of Malachi's prophecy "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face" is fulfilled in John's appearance ( Mark 1:4-8) prior to that of the Messiah in Mark 1:9-13. The second part of Malachi's prophecy "which shall prepare thy way before thee" is fulfilled in John's public ministry of water baptism and the people confessing their sins ( Mark 1:4-5). The first part of Isaiah's prophecy "the voice of one crying in the wilderness" is fulfilled in John's public ministry of preaching in the wilderness ( Mark 1:4). The second part of Isaiah's prophecy "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" is fulfilled in the content of John's message of repentance. Thus, every aspect of Mark 1:4-8 is designed to testify of the fulfillment of every aspect of these opening prophecies. 76] Because Mark does not explicitly say that John the Baptist fulfilled the two opening prophecies of Mark 1:1-3, (unlike Matthew's Gospel that says, "that it might be fulfilled"), he introduces John in a way that makes its fulfillment vividly clear to the reader. 77]

76] Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1993), 36.

77] Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1993), 47.

B. God the Father's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness ( Mark 1:9-11) - Mark 1:9-11 gives us the account of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. There were three people at this baptism to testify to the Jews that Jesus was the Son of God: John the Baptist ( Mark 1:9), the Holy Spirit ( Mark 1:10), and the Heavenly Father ( Mark 1:11). Mark 1:9-11 emphasizes the testimony from God the Father justifying Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

C. Jesus' Testimony of His Righteousness ( Mark 1:12-13) - Mark 1:12-13 gives us the account of the temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilderness. Of the three Synoptic Gospels, Mark gives the shortest account. This passage of Scripture justifies Jesus Christ as the sinless Son of God during His temptation by associating Him in conflict with Satan and the wild beasts, and joined by heavenly angels.

Mark 1:14 to Mark 13:37 describes the preaching ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the miracles that accompanying the proclamation of the Gospel. His public ministry can be divided into sections that reflect God's divine plan of redemption being fulfilled in Jesus's life. Note the proposed outline:

1. Indoctrination- The Preaching of Jesus Christ in Galilee to Mark 4:34

2. Divine Service - Training the Twelve in Galilee to Mark 6:13

3. Perseverance: Preaching against Man's Traditions to Mark 7:23

4. Perseverance- Beyond Galilee to Mark 9:50

5. Glorification- In Route to and in Jerusalem to Mark 13:37

Here is a summary of the preaching ministry of Jesus Christ:

III. Indoctrination Through Preaching and Healing ( Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34) - In Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34 Jesus begins to indoctrinate those who believe in Him through His public ministry of preaching and healing. This section of Mark can be divided into narrative material ( Mark 1:14 to Mark 3:35) and sermon material ( Mark 4:1-34).

A. Narrative: Indoctrination Through Preaching and Healing ( Mark 1:14 to Mark 3:35) - The message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God within Mark's Gospel is two-fold: to repent and to believe ( Mark 1:4-7; Mark 1:15), which is the basis of our justification. When the people humbly repented, they also experienced the manifold healings that accompany the preaching of the Gospel because of their faith in God, as listed in Mark 16:17-18. When some of the Jews confronted Jesus with their doubt and unbelief, Jesus responded by teaching them and working miracles through the gifts of the Holy Spirit as a testimony that His message was truly from God. Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:20 that the Father would work miracles through Him so that they may marvel. Thus, miracles are primarily for the unbelievers as a witness to the truth that is being preached.

John 5:20, "For the Father loveth the Song of Solomon , and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."

As we examine Mark's Gospel, which emphasizes the proclamation of the Gospel with signs following, we find many verses where the people marveled or feared after witnessing the miracles of Jesus Christ ( Mark 1:22; Mark 1:27; Mark 2:12; Mark 4:41; Mark 5:15; Mark 5:20; Mark 5:42; Mark 6:2; Mark 6:6; Mark 6:51; Mark 7:37).

Each book of the Holy Bible is structured in a way that reflects one aspect of our spiritual journey. The book of Mark is structured to reveal to us a journey that will take us into a lifestyle of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ with signs and wonders accompanying it, just as Jesus preached and miracles followed. This is the promise that Jesus made to His disciples in the closing verses of Mark's Gospel when Jesus said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe…" ( Mark 16:17)

Thus, upon closer examination, we see that the narrative material of Mark's Gospel alternates between Jesus preaching or teaching and with signs following. This is because the theme of Mark's Gospel is the testimony of Jesus' miracles through the preaching of the Gospel. Every evangelist desires to see miracles accompanying the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; for this is the passion of an evangelist, to see lives transformed and people healed. In fact, Mark closes his Gospel by saying, "And these signs shall follow them that believe." ( Mark 16:17) Thus, the ministry of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark is structured in this same way.

Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Begins His Preaching ( Mark 1:14-20) - Mark 1:14-20 records the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry in the office of an evangelist as He travels throughout the region of Galilee preaching the Gospel of the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven ( Mark 1:14-15). At this time early in His ministry, Jesus begins to call young men to forsake all and to follow Him ( Mark 1:16-20).

a) The Beginning of Jesus' Galilean Ministry ( Mark 1:14-15) - Mark 1:14-15 gives us the account of the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry. Mark's Gospel introduces Jesus' ministry with Him preaching the Gospel, and this emphasis on the proclamation of the Gospel fits the theme of this Gospel. The opening verse of Mark declares his Gospel as the "beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" ( Mark 1:1). Thus, the message of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ in Mark's Gospel was the proclamation of the Gospel, which was two-fold: (1) repent and (2) believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

b) Jesus Calls His Disciples ( Mark 1:16-20) - Mark 1:16-20 gives us the account of Jesus calling four of His disciples by the Sea of Galilee, Peter and his brother Andrew, and John and his brother James. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus had already been introduced to three of these disciples immediately after His water baptism and public presentation by John the Baptist ( John 1:37-42). At this encounter by the Sea of Galilee Jesus calls these four men to forsake all and follow Him.

2. Jesus Preaches in Capernaum ( Mark 1:21-34) - During Jesus' first public ministry in Capernaum, Mark records a series of miracles that He performed that accompanied His preaching.

a) Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Demon ( Mark 1:21-28) - Mark 1:21-28 gives us the account of Jesus casting out an unclean spirit from a man in the synagogue. In the midst of Jesus' teaching, a miracle is performed. This event fits the theme of Mark's Gospel, which is the testimony of Jesus' miracles. These testimonies of the miracles of Jesus are presented in the context of Mark's record of Peter's preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

b) Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-law ( Mark 1:29-31) - Mark 1:29-31 gives us the account of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law.

c) Jesus Heals the Multitudes ( Mark 1:32-34) - Mark 1:32-34 gives us the account of Jesus healing the multitudes.

3. Jesus Preaches Throughout Galilee ( Mark 1:35 to Mark 2:12) - After calling His disciples ( Mark 1:16-20), Jesus began His public ministry in Capernaum ( Mark 1:21-34). He now expands His preaching ministry to other cities in Galilee.

a) Jesus Preaches and Works Miracles in Galilee ( Mark 1:35-39) - Mark 1:35-39 gives us the account of Jesus preaching the Gospel in the regions of Galilee with signs and miracles accompanying His ministry.

b) Jesus Heals a Leper ( Mark 1:40-45) - Mark 1:40-45 gives us the account of Jesus cleansing a leper.

c) Jesus Heals a Paralytic ( Mark 2:1-12) - Mark 2:1-12 gives us the account of Jesus healing a paralytic. When comparing this narrative material in the Synoptic Gospels, their individual themes are clearly reflected. Mark makes the unique statement that He was preaching the Word unto them ( Mark 2:2), reflecting the office of the evangelist. Luke makes the unique statement that He was teaching the people and the power of the Lord was present to heal them ( Luke 5:17), reflecting the office and anointing of the prophet. Thus, we can see a clear emphasis in Mark's version of an evangelist preaching of the Gospel with signs following, which is the foundation theme of this Gospel. Luke's parallel passage emphasizes Jesus' power and anointing in the office of the prophet; and within the context of Luke's literary structure, Jesus is demonstrating to His disciples His authority over sin. Matthew makes no such comments, but rather places emphasis in this section of narrative material on His healing all manner of sickness and disease in order to demonstrate the healing ministry to which He was about to commission His disciples.

4. Jesus Faces Opposition ( Mark 2:13 to Mark 3:1-6) - As Jesus' public ministry expanded from Capernaum to other cities throughout Galilee, the Jewish leaders began to publically question His actions. Jesus took these opportunities to teach on the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven.

a) Jesus Calls Levi ( Mark 2:13-17) - Mark 2:13-17 gives us the account of Jesus calling Levi or Matthew , one of the twelve apostles, to forsake all and follow Him. Mark places emphasis upon the calling of the disciples as well as Jesus' ministry of preaching the Gospel with signs following.

b) Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting ( Mark 2:18-22) - Mark 2:18-22 gives us the account of Jesus being questioned by the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees regarding fasting.

c) Jesus Is Questioned About the Sabbath Day ( Mark 2:23-28) - In Mark 2:23-28 Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees about the Sabbath day.

d) Jesus Heals a Man With a Withered Hand on the Sabbath ( Mark 3:1-6) - Mark 3:1-6 gives us the account of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day.

5. Jesus' Ministry Grows ( Mark 3:7-35) - Jesus has preached in Capernaum, then throughout Galilee, and faced questions and opposition regarding His preaching and healing. His ministry begins to grow as He now ministers to multitudes in the midst of increasing persecution.

a) Jesus Heals the Multitudes ( Mark 3:7-12) - Mark 3:7-12 gives us the account of Jesus healing the multitudes. We see Him speaking from a ship in this story ( Mark 3:9) as He did in Luke 5:1-11. We see Him healing the multitudes in a similar way to the account of Luke 6:17-19.

b) Jesus Calls His Twelve Disciples to be Apostles ( Mark 3:13-19) - Mark 3:13-19 gives us the account of Jesus choosing twelve disciples to become His apostles. When comparing this passage to the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke , it becomes clear that each Gospel account mentions a different aspect of this event in order to reflect the underlying theme of each Gospel For example, Mark's account places emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel with miracles accompanying their preaching. Luke's account makes no reference to the twelve apostles preaching of the Gospel or miracles, but rather to Jesus' time in prayer in order to choose the twelve and their appointment, for prayer is the prerequisite of the prophetic utterance. Matthew's account states that Jesus gave them authority to cast out devils and to heal the sick. This statement emphasizes the theme of this division of Matthew's Gospel, which is the sending out of the twelve to do the work of the ministry. However, Mark's account says, "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:" ( Mark 3:14-15) These verses sound similar to the commission of Jesus Christ that closes Mark's Gospel. Thus, Mark places emphasis upon the preaching of the Gospel with signs following, which is the underlying theme of his Gospel.

c) The Ministry of Jesus Is Challenged ( Mark 3:20-30) - In Mark 3:20-30 we have the account of Jesus' ministry being challenged by the scribes and His own friends. They claimed that He was preaching under the power of Satan.

d) The Family of Jesus Sends for Him ( Mark 3:31-35) - Mark 3:31-35 gives us the account of the mother and brothers of Jesus sending for Him as their response to His preaching and healing ministry.

B. Sermon: Jesus Teaches on the Kingdom of Heaven ( Mark 4:1-34) - The sermon that follows the narrative material on indoctrination through the proclamation of the Gospel is found in Mark 4:1-34, which gives us the Parable of the Sower along with three related parables. The Parable of the Sower explains the principle of justification as the Gospel is sown into the hearts of men through preaching, explaining how different hearts respond to the proclamation of the Gospel. The other three parables explain to us the other, progressive aspects of sowing through the proclamation of the Gospel, which is indoctrination, perseverance, and glorification.

1. The Parable of the Sower— Mark 4:1-20——Justification

2. The Light Under the Bushel— Mark 4:21-25—Indoctrination

3. The Parable of the Growing Seed— Mark 4:26-29—Service-Perseverance

4. The Parable of the Mustard Seed— Mark 4:30-32—Glorification

5. Conclusion: The Use of Parables— Mark 4:33-34

As we reflect upon the four Gospels, we can note how each one of them has a popular passage. When we think of the Gospel of Matthew , we are reminded of the Sermon on the Mount. The most popular passage in Mark is the Parable of the Sower. A popular passage in Luke's narrative is Jesus' first teaching in His home town of Nazareth and the rejection that followed. John's Gospel opens with the popular poetic passage of Jesus as the Word of God, which was made flesh and dwelt among us. We can understand the significance of each of these popular passages by evaluating their structure in relation to the overall structure of their respective Gospels. The parabolic scheme of these four parables in Mark's Gospel foreshadows the structure of the rest of Mark's Gospel, with the Parable of the Sower being the central passage of the Gospel.

1. Parable of the Sower ( Mark 4:1-20) Mark 1:4-13 on Justification

2. The Light Under the Bushel ( Mark 4:21-25) Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34 on Indoctrination

3. The Growing Seed ( Mark 4:26-29) Mark 4:35 to Mark 9:50 on Service & Perseverance

4. The Mustard Seed ( Mark 4:30-32) Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37 on Glorification

Here is a summary of the thematic scheme of the parables in Mark 4:1-34 :

1. The Parable of the Sower ( Mark 4:1-20) (Justification) - The Parable of the Sower reflects the underlying theme of Mark's Gospel, which is the testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God through the preaching of the Gospel. The Parable of the Sower reveals how the proclamation of the Gospel produces justification with God in the hearts of men, and this reflects the emphasis of justification embedded within Mark 1:4-13.

2. The Parable of the Light Under the Bushel ( Mark 4:21-25) (Indoctrination) - The Parable of the Light Under the Bushel teaches us that as the light of the Gospel shines forth into our hearts through the preaching of the Gospel, we become indoctrinated with God's Word, and this reflects the emphasis of indoctrination embedded within Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34.

3. The Parable of the Growing Seed ( Mark 4:26-29) (Divine Service and Perseverance) - The Parable of the Growing Seed explains how God causes the seeds that we sow to grow and produce a harvest when we are faithful to serve the Lord and persevere in proclaiming the Gospel, and this reflects the emphasis of divine service and perseverance embedded within Mark 4:35 to Mark 9:50.

4. The Parable of the Mustard Seed ( Mark 4:30-32) (Glorification) - The Parable of the Mustard Seed tells us the end result of our faithfulness to preach the Gospel as the Kingdom of God grows into the greatest kingdom upon the earth, and this reflects the emphasis of glorification embedded within Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37.

5. Conclusion: The Use of Parables ( Mark 4:33-34) - Mark 4:33-34 explains how Jesus taught the multitudes with parables. Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes so that they would not understand the ways of God and become accountable to live by them. Instead, He revealed the meaning of these parables to those who sought Him, to those who stayed around after the crowds left. So it is today, we must pursue wisdom before God will give it to us.

Thus, we find in Mark's Gospel that the proclamation of the Gospel goes further than a message of repentance unto justification by faith. The message that Jesus preached in Mark also teaches us about becoming indoctrinated into God's Word, about persevering against the world, and finally, about the believer's glorification into Heaven, through preaching. These aspects of the Gospel can be found in the three parables that Jesus told after the Parable of the Sower.

The Parable of the Sower is the fundamental passage in the Gospel of Mark , upon which the structure of the book is framed. Its fundamental characteristic is reflected in the fact that it is also the most popular passage in Mark , just as the Sermon on the Mount is the most popular passage in Matthew and serves the same fundamental role. An example of the popularity of The Parable of the Sower is seen in Edwin Rice's commentary on Mark , where he makes an effort to sum up the message of Mark's Gospel by placing a picture of a man sowing seed adjacent to the title page of his commentary. 78] Another example of its popularity is noted when Joseph Church refers to this parable when teaching out of the Gospel of Mark to the native Africans. 79]

78] Edwin W. Rice, People's Commentary on the Gospel According to Mark (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The American Sunday-School Union, 1892).

79] Joseph E. Church, Quest for the Highest (Exeter, UK: The Paternoster Press, 1981), 58.

IV. Divine Service ( Mark 4:35 to Mark 6:13) - In Mark 4:35 to Mark 6:13 the emphasis moves from indoctrination through preaching the Word of God to preparing the Twelve for divine service, where Jesus begins to train to His disciples about the Kingdom of God. Jesus first trains the Twelve by example ( Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:43), then He sends them out preach and heal for themselves ( Mark 6:1-13).

A. Narrative: Demonstrating Preaching and Miracles ( Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:43) - In Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:43 Jesus trains His disciples for divine service by example. After seeing how Jesus' ministry grew and increased through the preaching of the Gospel with signs following ( Mark 1:14 to Mark 3:35), and after hearing Jesus teach in parables about the characteristics of the Kingdom of God when the Word of God is preached ( Mark 4:1-34), we then have three examples of the power of faith in God's Word demonstrated: over nature by calming the storm ( Mark 4:35-41), over the spirit realm by casting out demons ( Mark 5:1-20), and over man's physical bodies by healing a young girl and a woman with an issue of blood ( Mark 5:21-43). When we examine the miracles that Jesus performed, we see him calming the storm to demonstrate the power of having faith in God's Word and rebuking His disciples for their lack of faith. We see Him telling the woman with the issue of blood that her faith made her whole. He told the ruler of the synagogue not to doubt, but to believe His Word. He takes three disciples with Him into the room to heal Jarius' daughter.

Again, we refer to the closing passage of Mark's Gospel in order to understand the purpose of these miraculous accounts. Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Thus, the preaching of the Gospel is accompanied with casting out devils and laying hand on the sick, as well as calming the storms.

1. Jesus Calms the Storm ( Mark 4:35-41) - Mark 4:35-41 gives us the account of Jesus calming the storm, in which Jesus demonstrates His authority over nature.

2. The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniac ( Mark 5:1-20) - Mark 5:1-20 tells us the remarkable story of the healing of the Gadarene demoniac as a testimony of Jesus' authority over the spirit realm. I believe Mark and the other Synoptic Gospels record this particular miracle because it showed how Jesus was able to heal the worst cases of demonic bondage. Jesus cast out many demons on many occasions, but probably few stories were as dramatic as the healing of the Gadarene demoniac.

3. Jarius' Daughter and the Woman with the Issue of Blood ( Mark 5:21-43) - Mark 5:21-43 gives us the moving account of the healing of Jarius' daughter and of the woman with the issue of blood as a testimony of Jesus' authority over sickness and sin. It becomes obvious when reading this story that both Jarius and the woman had heard of the fame of Jesus and His marvelous healing power and had come to seek healing because of these reports.

B. Sermon: Jesus Sends Forth His Disciples to Preach ( Mark 6:1-13) - In Mark 6:1-6 Jesus could do no mighty works in His hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith in His Word. He then sends forth His disciples in Mark 6:7-13 to preach as He has demonstrated to them.

1. Jesus is Rejected at Nazareth ( Mark 6:1-6) - Mark 6:1-6 tells us the story of how Jesus Christ was rejected at His hometown of Nazareth. We find this story in Luke's Gospel placed at the beginning of His Galilean ministry. This is because Luke's Gospel uses this story to show the authority and anointing of His teaching ministry. Mark's Gospel records this same story in the midst of Jesus' Galilean ministry and places emphasis upon how Jesus preached the Gospel and because His message was rejected He was unable to perform miracles; thus, Mark emphasizes preaching and miracles. Matthew's Gospel is the most brief as it simply emphasizes how Jesus faced offences and how He handled it.

2. Jesus Sends Forth His Disciples to Preach ( Mark 6:7-13) - Mark 6:7-13 gives us the account of Jesus sending out the twelve apostles to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.

V. Perseverance: Preaching in the Midst of Persecutions ( Mark 6:14 to Mark 7:23) - In Mark 6:14 to Mark 7:23 the emphasis moves from divine service through preaching the Word of God to perseverance in the midst of persecutions, where Jesus begins to train to His disciples in the midst of rising unrest among the Jews.

A. Narrative: Persecutions Arise ( Mark 6:14-56) - In Mark 6:14-29 Herod becomes concerned because of the rising popularity of Jesus' public ministry, so that Jesus retreats with His disciples. Jesus uses His disciples to distribute the loaves and fishes to the five thousand, and He walks on the water so that His disciples marvel, and heals the multitudes.

1. Herod's Reaction to the Spread of the Gospel ( Mark 6:14-29) - Mark 6:14-29 records the reaction of King Herod to the spread of the Gospel as Jesus sends forth His twelve disciples to preach with signs and miracles accompanying them.

2. Jesus Trains His Disciples to Work Miracles ( Mark 6:30-56) - In Mark 6:30-56 Jesus trains His disciples to work miracles. Here is a proposed outline:

a) Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand ( Mark 6:30-44) - Mark 6:30-44 gives us the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand men besides women and children. The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand shows that His ministry had reached a peak in the region of Galilee (chapters 1-6). He could no longer enter into the cities because of these crowds. At this point, Jesus begins to move out to nearby regions, such as Tyre and Sidon, Decapolis, Dalmanutha, Bethsaida, and Caesarea Philippi (chapters 7-9). His ministry in Galilee was only as He was passing through to regions that were more distant. Then Jesus leaves Galilee permanently and travels to the coasts of Judea (chapter 10) and finally into Jerusalem (chapter 11-13) to face Calvary (14-15).

b) Jesus Walks on the Water ( Mark 6:45-52) - Mark 6:45-52 gives us the account of Jesus walking on the water. We find an interesting statement in Mark 6:48 when the Evangelist tells us that Jesus was intending on passing by His disciples who were in the boat and continuing His walk on the water. However, He turned and came to them to comfort them when they became fearful. We must remember that the context of this story is during a phase of Jesus' ministry when He was training His disciples how to walk in faith for divine miracles. As with the feeding of the five thousand ( Mark 6:30-44), which had just taken place, Jesus was giving His disciples an opportunity to overcome their doubt and fear and to walk in faith. Thus, this story of Jesus walking on the water ends by referring to the miracle of the loaves and the hardness of their hearts ( Mark 6:52), which reflects their process of training for the ministry.

c) Jesus Heals the Multitudes in the Land of Gennesaret ( Mark 6:53-56) - Mark 6:53-56 gives us the account of Jesus healing the multitudes in the land of Gennesaret.

B. Sermon: Jesus Rebukes the Pharisees and Scribes for their Traditions ( Mark 7:1-23) - In Mark 7:1-23 Jesus rebukes the Jews demonstrating His resistance to the traditions of the Jews and their increasing persecutions.

VI. Perseverance: Preaching and Offences ( Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:50) - In Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:50 the emphasis continues with the emphasis upon perseverance, where Jesus teaches His disciples the need to continue in the lifestyle of preaching and healing.

A. Narrative ( Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:32) - When we examine the miracles that Jesus performed for the people we see the persistence and determination of the Syro-Phoenician to receive her miracle. We see how some people from Decapolis begged Jesus to heal a deaf mute. We see how Jesus laid hands upon a blind man twice before his sight was fully restored. He also taught the people on the subject of taking up their cross and following Him, which refers to a lifestyle of perseverance.

When we examine Jesus' ministry to His disciples, we find Him warning them about the doctrine of the Pharisees making their faith weak. We see how they could not cast out a demon because they had not persisted in a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. We also see Jesus rebuking Peter for his speaking again the purpose and plans of Christ's death on Calvary.

1. The Faith of the Syrophoenician Woman ( Mark 7:24-30) - Mark 7:24-30 gives us the account of how the Gentiles received the message of Jesus Christ when He recognized the strong faith of the Syrophoenician woman.

2. Jesus Heals a Deaf Mute ( Mark 7:31-37) - Mark 7:31-37 gives us the unique account of Jesus healing a deaf and dumb man. As in the previous story of Syrophoenician woman, this man was probably another Gentile.

3. Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand ( Mark 8:1-10) - Mark 8:1-10 gives us the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand men besides women and children.

4. The Pharisees Seek a Sign ( Mark 8:11-13) - Mark 8:11-13 gives us the account of how the Pharisees sought a sign from Jesus in order to test Him. Jesus will soon reveal Himself on the Mount of Transfiguration to His three closest disciples, Peter, James and John. God reveals Himself to those who seek Him.

5. Jesus Warns His Disciples of the Leaven of the Pharisees ( Mark 8:14-21) - Mark 8:14-21 gives us the account of Jesus warning His disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. Perhaps the Pharisees represented extreme Judaism while Herod represented extreme worldliness.

6. Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida ( Mark 8:22-26) - Mark 8:22-26 gives the unique account of Jesus healing a blind man at Bethsaida.

7. Peter's Great Confession at Caesarea Philippi ( Mark 8:27-30) - Mark 8:27-30 gives us the account of Peter's great confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God at Caesarea Philippi. According to Luke's Gospel, at this point in Jesus' earthly ministry, He turns His face towards Jerusalem and Calvary and no longer focuses upon His public ministry to the multitudes. He now begins to predict His death on Calvary to His disciples. But in Mark's Gospel Jesus continues to minister to the public.

8. Jesus' First Prediction of His Death and Resurrection ( Mark 8:31 to Mark 9:1) - Mark 8:31 to Mark 9:1 gives us the first account of Jesus predicting to His disciples how He will be killed and then resurrected from the dead.

9. Jesus On the Mount of Transfiguration ( Mark 9:2-13) - Mark 9:2-13 records the story of Jesus with of His three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.

10. Jesus Heals the Epileptic Boy ( Mark 9:14-29) - Mark 9:14-29 records the account of Jesus healing the young boy who had epileptic seizures. It is important to understand this story within the context of Mark's Gospel. Jesus began Him ministry by preaching the Gospel with signs following. He then appointed twelve apostles and sent them out to do the same. Now that they had been with Him for some time, Jesus expects them to have delivered this boy with epilepsy. Instead, they failed and received a rebuke from Jesus because of their unbelief.

11. Jesus' Second Prediction of His Death and Resurrection ( Mark 9:30-32) - Mark 9:30-32 gives us the second account of Jesus predicting to His disciples how He will be killed and then resurrected from the dead. We find the account of his first prediction in Mark 8:31 to Mark 9:1.

B. Sermon: Jesus Preaches on Humility and Offenses in the Kingdom of God ( Mark 9:33-50) - Mark 9:33-50 gives us the third sermon of Jesus Christ. This message emphasizes true greatness, as He uses a child to explain the need to receive others and serve them, being careful not to offend anyone. Jesus tells us that everyone will be seasoned with salt, which means that a person's faith will be tested.

VII. Glorification ( Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37) - In Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37 the emphasis moves from perseverance to glorification, where Jesus makes many references to His Second Coming.

A. Narrative ( Mark 10:1 to Mark 12:44) - When we examine Jesus' ministry to His disciples in Mark 10:1 to Mark 12:44, we find Him teaching the disciples on how to enter into the Kingdom of God. He warns them on the dangers of adultery ( Mark 10:1-12) and on covetousness towards riches for those who desire to inherit eternal life ( Mark 10:17-31) as hindrances to entering Heaven. Jesus teaches on humility by explaining that a person must become as a little child in order to enter Heaven ( Mark 10:12-16). Because the disciples thought that Jesus was about to be immediately glorified as king in Jerusalem, James and John asked for a share of this glorification ( Mark 10:35-45). He also replies to the request of James and John to be seated at His right and left hand in the Kingdom. In His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, the people praise and glorify Jesus as their king ( Mark 11:1-11). However, Jesus has tried to prepare His disciples for his Crucifixion by telling them the third time that He would not be crowned, but rather, be killed and rise the third day ( Mark 10:32-34).

The narrative material in Mark 10:1 to Mark 12:44 contains only one miraculous healing, when Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus ( Mark 10:46-52), and the miracle of the withered fig tree ( Mark 11:20-26). When Jesus cleanses the Temple, He calls it a house of prayer for all nations, which refers to the time during the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth when all nations will come and worship Him in Jerusalem ( Mark 11:15-19). He tells the people about the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers, which refers to His rejecting and crucifixion at the hand of the Jews and His Second Coming ( Mark 12:1-12).

1. Jesus in Judea ( Mark 10:1-52) - In Mark 10:1-52 Jesus leaves Galilee and travels into Judea prior to His Triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In light of His impending death and resurrection Jesus teaches about the principles of marriage and divorce and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven ( Mark 10:1-31), His death and resurrection ( Mark 10:32-34), and glorification in the Kingdom ( Mark 10:35-45). This passage ends with the healing of blind Bartimaeus in the city of Jericho ( Mark 10:46-52).

a) Jesus Teaches on Marriage and Divorce in the Kingdom of God ( Mark 10:1-12) - Mark 10:1-12 gives us the account of Jesus teaching on marriage and divorce in the Kingdom of God. John Nolland explains that many Jews of the first century were loose in their practice of divorce according to Deuteronomy 24:1, while some devout Jews were more rigid by limiting divorce only on the grounds of adultery. Although a Jewish man was allowed to divorce his wife under the Law with a bill of divorcement ( Deuteronomy 24:1), Nolland says the Jewish woman could not legally initiate a divorce. 80] In the Kingdom of Heaven the rules are not as flexible as they were in this first century Jewish society. Jesus clarifies the rules of adultery in the Kingdom for the Pharisees following the stricter view, stating that putting away one's wife and remarrying another, or marrying a wife who has been divorced, constituted adultery. In other words, Jesus made it clear to the Pharisees that the Law was still of utmost importance in the Kingdom of Heaven. However, it is important to note that in the Sermon on the Mount, when addressing the multitudes, Jesus allowed divorce on the unique grounds of adultery ( Matthew 5:31-32).

80] John Nolland, Luke 9:21-18:34, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 35B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), explanation on Luke 16:18.

Deuteronomy 24:1, "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house."

Matthew 5:31-32, "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

b) Jesus Blesses the Little Children ( Mark 10:13-16) - Mark 10:13-16 gives us the account of Jesus blessing the little children.

c) The Story of the Rich Young Ruler ( Mark 10:17-31) - Mark 10:17-31 tells us the story of the rich young ruler. He was a rich man and was so because he had been following the laws of God that bring prosperity. We know this because he said that he was keeping all of the Ten Commandments that Jesus listed before him. However, he was lacking in one important area, which was a liberal heart and he was not taking care of the poor. He had become covetous. When Jesus told him to give to the poor, He was trying to lead this young man into a higher realm of prosperity, but the rich young ruler saw it as a great financial loss. Therefore, he was grieved. Grief is the result of a feeling of loss. The rich man felt that he had to give up his possessions in order to serve God; but in fact, the rich man would have been "sowing" into the Kingdom of God in order to receive greater riches.

Jesus Christ loved him and wanted him to prosper. This is why Jesus says in Mark 10:29-30 when the man departed, "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel"s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." The rich man was not losing, but was rather sowing.

d) Jesus' Third Prediction of His Death and Resurrection ( Mark 10:32-34) - Mark 10:32-34 gives us the third account of Jesus predicting to His disciples how He will be killed and then resurrected from the dead. We find the account of his first prediction in Mark 8:31 to Mark 9:1 and of his second prediction in Mark 9:30-32.

Mark 8:31, "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."

Mark 9:31, "For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day."

e) Jesus Teaches on Greatness in the Kingdom of God ( Mark 10:35-45) - Mark 10:35-44 gives us the account of Jesus explaining to James and John about greatness in the Kingdom of God. These two close apostles of Jesus asked Him if they could sit at his right and left hand when He becomes king over Jerusalem and the Jewish people. It becomes clear that they were expecting Jesus to overthrown the Roman oppression off of their people and set up an earthly kingdom. His earthly ministry was at its highest popularity as they were approaching Jerusalem. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem would only reinforce their view of an earthly kingdom. Although Jesus has just revealed them about His impending death and suffering, it was necessary to teach them about servanthood.

f) Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus ( Mark 10:46-52) - Mark 10:46-52 gives us the account of Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus, who received his healing by prayed three times with three specific prayers. He did not choose his own way, but he chose Jesus' way.

2. Jesus in Jerusalem ( Mark 11:1 to Mark 12:44) - Mark 11:1 to Mark 12:44 records Jesus' final ministry in Jerusalem as He teaches in the Temple and is tempted by questions from religious leaders in front of the people.

a) The Triumphal Entry ( Mark 11:1-11) - Mark 11:1-11 gives us the account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The importance of this passage is seen in the fact that all four Gospels give a lengthy account of this event in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

b) Jesus Curses the Fig Tree ( Mark 11:12-14) - In Mark 11:12-14 we have the account of Jesus cursing the fig tree. One observation that can be made in this passage of Scripture is that Jesus did not know that the fig tree was barren until He inspected it. This passage testifies to the fact that when Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of a man and laid aside certain privileges and restricted Himself to certain human limitations, one of them being His omniscience; that Isaiah , He was not all-knowing while on this earth.

A second observation on this passage is the reason behind Jesus cursing a fig tree that was out of season and therefore, unable to offer figs at this time. There have been times when I went to sleep over something that troubled me, as Jesus did after observing all things in the Temple ( Mark 11:11). I would wake up the next day ready to confront someone and correct the situation, as Jesus apparently was preparing to confront the money changes in the Temple. If it seems that Jesus was too vengeful upon the fig tree, perhaps it was because He had judgment upon Him mind, since He was about to cleanse the Temple.

c) Jesus Cleanses the Temple ( Mark 11:15-19) - Mark 11:15-19 gives us the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple. All three Synoptic Gospels record this event at the end of Jesus' earthly ministry while John records it at the beginning ( John 2:13-22). This has caused many scholars to speculate that Jesus cleansed the Temple on two occasions, at the beginning and end of His earthly ministry.

d) Jesus Teaches a Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree ( Mark 11:20-26) - In Mark 11:20-26 we have the account of Jesus teaching His disciples a lesson from the withered fig tree. Note in this passage of Scripture how faith and forgiveness go hand in hand (see also Luke 17:3-10). The building of the Panama Canal began as an idea, impossible as it may seem, then a confession of faith and agreement. This was mountain-moving faith in action.

Mark's Gospel gives us a much more extensive description of Jesus teaching His disciples about having faith in God than the other Gospels. This is because Mark's Gospel places more emphasis upon the need to have faith in God to work miracles as the needed signs while preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in His commission to them ( Mark 16:14-18), which is the underlying theme of this Gospel.

e) Jesus Defends His Authority to Preach the Gospel and Heal the Sick ( Mark 11:27-33) - In Mark 11:27-33 we have the account of Jesus defending His authority to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

f) The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers ( Mark 12:1-12) - Mark 12:1-12 gives us the account of Jesus teaching the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers to those who were in the Temple.

g) The Pharisees and Herodians Tempt Jesus with a Question ( Mark 12:13-17) - In Mark 12:13 we have the account of the Pharisees and Herodians tempting Jesus with a question about paying taxes.

h) The Sadducees Tempt Jesus with a Question ( Mark 12:18-27) - In Mark 12:18-27 we have the account of Jesus being tempted by the Sadducees with a question on the resurrection.

i) The Scribes Tempt Jesus with a Question ( Mark 12:28-34) - In Mark 12:28-34 we have the account of the scribes tempting Jesus with a question about which is the greatest commandment. The scribes ask Jesus which is the greatest commandment. He answers by referring to the Ten Commandments, which he grouped into two sections. The first four commandments refer to our relationship to God, while the last six refer to our relationships with men. Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which was a very famous passage of Scripture referred to by the Jews as "The Shema."

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

The Shema was a passage of Scripture that every scribe knew by heart. Jesus was summarizing the first four commandments when He told the scribe to love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. The first commandment refers to serving the Lord with our heart. The second commandment refers to serving the Lord with all of our soul, where our emotions, feelings and will exist. The third commandment refers to serving the Lord with all of our mind, and deals with the words of our mouth. The fourth commandment refers to serving the Lord with all of our strength, or bodies. He then summarized the last six commandments when He said to love our neighbour as ourselves. Perhaps the difference between the soul and the mind would be that one emphasizes our thoughts and attitudes, while the other emphasizes our words that we speak. Thus, our soulish realm has a two-fold aspect of thoughts and confession.

j) Jesus Teaches the People in the Temple ( Mark 12:35-40) - In Mark 12:35-40 we have a record of Jesus teaching the people in the Temple and warning them about the hypocrisy of the scribes.

k) Jesus Teaches on the Widow's Mites ( Mark 12:41-44) - In Mark 12:41-44 we have the account of Jesus teaching in the Temple about the widow's two mites, which she gave sacrificially.

B. Sermon ( Mark 13:1-37) - Mark 13:1-37 gives us the fourth sermon of Jesus Christ. This message is eschatological in that He speaks of His Second Coming when the Church will be glorified with Him. The two longest sermons that Mark's Gospel records of our Lord and Saviour are His sermons on the Parable of the Sower and on the End Times. The fact that the other three Synoptic Gospels also devote lengthy passages to these two sermons support the view that they are some of the most important messages that Jesus gave to us during His earthly ministry.

VIII. The Passion and Resurrection of Christ ( Mark 14:1 to Mark 16:20) - Mark 14:1 to Mark 16:20 gives us the account the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This section concludes with Christ's commission to His disciples to preach the Gospel with signs following.

A. The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus ( Mark 14:1-52) - Mark 14:1-52 records the betrayal and arrest of Jesus Christ.

1. The Chief Priests and Scribes Plot to Kill Jesus ( Mark 14:1-2) - In Matthew 14:1-2 we have the account of the chief priests and scribes plotting to kill the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Jesus' Anointing at Bethany ( Mark 14:3-9) - In Mark 14:3-9 we have the account of Jesus being anointed at Bethany for His burial.

3. Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus ( Mark 14:10-11) - In Mark 14:10-11 we have the account of Judas meeting with chief priests and scribes in order to betray Jesus.

4. The Passover ( Mark 14:12-21) - Mark 14:12-21 gives us the account of Jesus making preparations with His disciples for the Passover meal and the prediction of His betrayal by one of the disciples.

5. The Institution of the Lord's Supper ( Mark 14:22-26) - In Mark 14:22-26 we have the account of Jesus instituting the Lord's Supper.

6. Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial ( Mark 14:27-31) - In Mark 14:27-31 we have the account of Jesus predicting Peter's denial of the Saviour during His trials.

7. Jesus Prays in Gethsemane ( Mark 14:32-42) - In Mark 14:32-42 we have the account of Jesus praying alone in the Garden of Gethsemane.

8. The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus ( Mark 14:43-50) - In Mark 14:43-50 we have the account of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus.

9. The Young Man Who Fled ( Mark 14:51-52) - In Mark 14:51-52 we have the unique account of a young man who fled naked during the arrest of Jesus. In an effort to understand the significance of this two-verse event inserted within one of the greatest events in history, some suggest that this person was John Mark , and that this was his modest signature applied to the text much the same way that John mentions himself in such a modest way that will not disclose his identity.

B. The Trial of Jesus ( Mark 14:53 to Mark 15:20) - Mark 14:53 to Mark 15:20 records the trial of Jesus Christ.

1. Jesus is Tried Before the Sanhedrin ( Mark 14:53-65) - In Mark 14:53-65 we have the account of Jesus standing trial before the Sanhedrin.

2. Peter's Denial of Jesus ( Mark 14:66-72) - In Mark 14:66-72 we have the account of Peter's three denials of the Lord Jesus.

3. Jesus Is Tried Before Pilate ( Mark 15:1-5) - In Mark 15:1-5 we have the account of Jesus standing before Pilate to be tried.

4. Jesus Is Sentenced to Die ( Mark 15:6-15) - In Mark 15:6-15 we have the account of Jesus being sentenced to die while the multitudes choose to release Barabbas.

5. Jesus Is Mocked by the Soldiers ( Mark 15:16-20) - In Mark 15:16-20 we have the account of Jesus being mocked by the soldiers.

C. The Crucifixion and Burial of Jesus ( Mark 15:21-47) - Mark 15:21-47 records the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ.

1. The Crucifixion of Jesus ( Mark 15:21-32) - In Mark 15:21-32 we have the story of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are no ancient records that tell us exactly how many Jews were crucified by Rome. It may have been thousands, or tens of thousands. But it was the most horrible form of punishment that Rome gave to its enemies.

2. The Death of Jesus ( Mark 15:33-41) - In Mark 15:33-41 we have the account of the death of Jesus Christ.

3. The Burial of Jesus ( Mark 15:42-47) - In Mark 15:42-47 we have the account of the burial of Jesus Christ.

D. The Resurrection and Appearance of Jesus Christ ( Mark 16:1-13) - Mark 16:1-13 records the resurrection and appearance of Jesus Christ.

1. The Resurrection of Jesus ( Mark 16:1-8) - In Mark 16:1-8 we have the account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene ( Mark 16:9-11) - In Mark 16:9-11 we have the account of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene.

3. Jesus Appears to Two Disciples ( Mark 16:12-13) - In Mark 16:12-13 we have the account of Jesus appearing to two of His disciples.

E. Mark's Version of the Great Commission ( Mark 16:14-18) - Mark 16:14-18 is Mark's version of the Great Commission. However, we find that each of the Evangelists ends his Gospel with a commission. A careful study reveals that each commission is based upon the structural theme of its particular Gospel. The theme of Matthew is the coming of the King to establish the Kingdom of Heaven and lay down the doctrine of the Kingdom. Jesus does this in Matthew's Gospel by delivering five major discourses, which establishes the structure of this Gospel. As a result, Jesus commissions His disciples to go and teach, or disciple, all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe His commandments, or doctrines, laid down in Matthew's Gospel. This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the teacher in the five-fold ministry.

In contrast, the commission that closes Mark's Gospel emphasizes the preaching of the Gospel with signs following. This is because Mark is structured around the proclamation of the Gospel with miracles accompanying it. Jesus tells His disciples in Mark to preach the Gospel and promised them that signs and miracles would accompany their preaching. This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the evangelist in the five-fold ministry.

The structural theme of Luke's Gospel is the collection of verifiable eyewitness accounts as to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, Jesus commands His disciples to be witnesses of these events by preaching the Gospel to all nations beginning at Jerusalem ( Luke 24:47), and to tarry in Jerusalem unto they be endued with power on high ( Luke 24:49). He is making a clear reference to the contents of the book of Acts and establishes its structural theme. Since the Gospel of Luke does not reach this goal of spreading the Gospel, (this is why Luke's commission seems incomplete) we must rely upon an additional volume to fulfill our Lord's commission. The book of Acts opens with the fulfillment of power coming from on high and closes with the fulfillment of the spread of the Gospel to Greco-Roman world. Thus, Luke clearly links these two writings in an unmistakable way through this commission. This link is necessary because the office of the prophet and apostle work together in the Church. This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the prophet (Luke) and apostle (Acts) in the five-fold ministry.

The structural theme of John's Gospel is the five-fold testimony of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. John's Gospel reveals His deity with the testimony of the Father, of John the Baptist, of Jesus' miracles, by the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures and finally in the last chapter by the testimony of Jesus Himself. This is why John's commission is simply, "Come, follow Me." This commission best reflects the office and ministry of the pastor in the five-fold ministry.

F. The Ascension of Jesus ( Mark 16:19-20) - In Mark 16:19-20 we have the account of Jesus' ascension into Heaven.

XII. Outline of Book

The following outline is a summary of the preceding literary structure; thus, it reflects the theological framework of the Gospel of Mark: its purpose, its three-fold thematic scheme, and its literary structure. As a result, this outline offers sermon sections that fit together into a single message that can be used by preachers and teachers to guide a congregation or class through the Gospel of Mark. This journey through Mark will lead believers into one aspect of conformity to the image of Christ Jesus that was intended by the Lord, which in this book of the Holy Scriptures is to prepare Christians to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with signs and miracles accompanying it.

I. Foreknowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ— Mark 1:1-3

II. Justification- Public Ministry of John the Baptist— Mark 1:4-13

A. John's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness— Mark 1:4-8

B. The Father's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness— Mark 1:9-11

C. Jesus' Testimony of His Righteousness— Mark 1:12-13

III. Indoctrination- The Preaching of Jesus Christ— Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34

A. Narrative: Preaching in Galilee— Mark 1:14 to Mark 3:35

1. Jesus Begins His Preaching— Mark 1:14-20

a) Jesus Preaches Repentance & Faith— Mark 1:14-15

b) Jesus Calls Disciples— Mark 1:16-20

2. Jesus Preaches in Capernaum— Mark 1:21-34

a) Jesus Casts Out a Demon— Mark 1:21-28

b) Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-Law— Mark 1:29-31

c) Jesus Heals the Sick & Casts Out Demons— Mark 1:32-34

3. Jesus Preaches Throughout Galilee— Mark 1:35 to Mark 2:12

a) Jesus Preaches in Galilee— Mark 1:35-39

b) Jesus Heals a Leper— Mark 1:40-45

c) Jesus Heals a Paralytic— Mark 2:1-12

4. Jesus Faces Opposition— Mark 2:13 to Mark 3:6-17

a) Jesus Calls Levi— Mark 2:13-17

b) Jesus Teachings On Fasting— Mark 2:18-22

c) Jesus Teaches About the Sabbath— Mark 2:23-28

d) Jesus Heals Man with Withered Hand— Mark 3:1-6

5. Jesus' Ministry Grows— Mark 3:7-35

a) Jesus Heals the Multitudes— Mark 3:7-12

b) Jesus Calls the Twelve— Mark 3:13-19

c) Jesus Faces More Persecutions— Mark 3:20-30

d) Jesus' Family Comes for Him— Mark 3:31-35

B. Sermon: Jesus Teaches on the Kingdom— Mark 4:1-34

1. The Parable of the Sower— Mark 4:1-20

2. The Light Under the Bushel— Mark 4:21-25

3. The Parable of the Growing Seed— Mark 4:26-29

4. The Parable of the Mustard Seed— Mark 4:30-32

5. Conclusion: The Use of Parables— Mark 4:33-34

IV. Divine Service - Training the Twelve in Galilee— Mark 4:35 to Mark 6:13

A. Narrative: Demonstrating Preaching & Miracles— Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:43

1. Jesus Calms the Storm— Mark 4:35-41

2. The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniac— Mark 5:1-20

3. Jarius' Daughter & Woman w/ Blood— Mark 5:21-43

B. Sermon: Jesus Sends Forth His Disciples to Preach— Mark 6:1-13

1. Jesus is Rejected at Nazareth— Mark 6:1-6

2. Jesus Commissions the Twelve— Mark 6:7-13

V. Perseverance: Preaching in the Midst of Persecutions— Mark 6:14 to Mark 7:23

A. Narrative: Persecutions Arise— Mark 6:14-56

1. Herod's Reaction to the Spread of the Gospel— Mark 6:14-29

2. Jesus Trains His Disciples to Work Miracles— Mark 6:30-56

a) Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand— Mark 6:30-44

b) Jesus Walks on the Water— Mark 6:45-52

c) Jesus Heals the Multitudes— Mark 6:53-56

B. Sermon- Jesus Preaches Against Tradition— — Mark 7:1-23

VI. Perseverance: Preaching & Offences— Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:50

A. Narrative— Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:32

1. The Faith of the Syro-Phoenician Woman— Mark 7:24-30

2. Jesus Heals a Deaf Mute— Mark 7:31-37

3. Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand— Mark 8:1-10

4. The Pharisees Seek a Sign— Mark 8:11-13

5. Jesus Warns His Disciples of the Pharisees— Mark 8:14-21

6. Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida— Mark 8:22-26

7. Peter's Great Confession at Caesarea Philippi— Mark 8:27-30

8. Jesus' 1st Prediction of His Death— Mark 8:31 to Mark 9:1

9. Jesus On the Mount of Transfiguration— Mark 9:2-13

10. Jesus Heals the Epileptic Boy— Mark 9:14-29

11. Jesus' 2nd Prediction of His Death— Mark 9:30-32

B. Sermon- Jesus Preaches on Humility and Offenses— Mark 9:33-50

VII. Glorification- In Route to Jerusalem— Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37

A. Narrative— Mark 10:1 to Mark 12:44

1. Jesus In Judea— Mark 10:1-52

a) Jesus Teaches on Marriage and Divorce— Mark 10:1-12

b) Jesus Blesses the Little Children— Mark 10:13-16

c) The Story of the Rich Young Ruler— Mark 10:17-31

d) Jesus' 3rd Prediction of His Death— Mark 10:32-34

e) Jesus Teaches on Greatness— Mark 10:35-45

f) Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus— Mark 10:46-52

2. Jesus In Jerusalem— Mark 11:1 to Mark 12:44

a) The Triumphal Entry— Mark 11:1-11

b) Jesus Curses the Fig Tree— Mark 11:12-14

c) Jesus Cleanses the Temple— Mark 11:15-19

d) Jesus Teaches About the Withered Fig Tree— Mark 11:20-26

e) Jesus Defends His Authority— Mark 11:27-33

f) The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers— Mark 12:1-12

g) The Pharisees and Herodians Tempt Jesus— Mark 12:13-17

h) The Sadducees Tempt Jesus— Mark 12:18-27

i) The Scribes Tempt Jesus— Mark 12:28-34

j) Jesus Teaches the People in the Temple— Mark 12:35-40

k) Jesus Teaches on the Widow's Mites— Mark 12:41-44

B. Sermon- Jesus Preaches on Eschatology— Mark 13:1-37

VIII. The Passion and Resurrection — Mark 14:1 to Mark 16:20

A. The Betrayal and Arrest— Mark 14:1-52

1. The Plot to Kill Jesus— Mark 14:1-2

2. Jesus' Anointing at Bethany— Mark 14:3-9

3. Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus— Mark 14:10-11

4. The Passover— Mark 14:12-21

5. The Institution of the Lord's Supper— Mark 14:22-26

6. Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial— Mark 14:27-31

7. Jesus Prays in Gethsemane— Mark 14:32-42

8. The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus— Mark 14:43-50

9. The Young Man Who Fled— Mark 14:51-52

B. The Trial— Mark 14:53 to Mark 15:20

1. Jesus is Tried Before the Sanhedrin— Mark 14:53-65

2. Peter's Denial of Jesus— Mark 14:66-72

3. Jesus Is Tried Before Pilate— Mark 15:1-5

4. Jesus Is Sentenced to Die— Mark 15:6-15

5. Jesus Is Mocked by the Soldiers— Mark 15:16-20

C. The Crucifixion and Burial— Mark 15:21-47

1. The Crucifixion of Jesus— Mark 15:21-32

2. The Death of Jesus— Mark 15:33-41

3. The Burial of Jesus— Mark 15:42-47

D. The Resurrection— Mark 16:1-13

1. The Resurrection of Jesus— Mark 16:1-8

2. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene— Mark 16:9-11

3. Jesus Appears to Two Disciples— Mark 16:12-13

E. The Commission to Preach— Mark 16:14-18

F. The Ascension of Jesus— Mark 16:19-20

BIBLIOGRAPHY

COMMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aquinas, Thomas. Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 1, part 1, second edition. Oxford: John Henry, 1864.

Aquinas, Thomas. Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 2. Oxford: John Henry, 1842.

Barnes, Albert. The Gospel According to Mark. In Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997. In P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000).

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Mark:4 Overview". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/mark-0.html. 2013.

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