Saturday, November 15, 2014


Mark the shortest of the four gospels. The book is attributed to the Mark who became a point of contention between the apostle Paul and Barnabas as described in Acts (Mark and Paul were later reconciled, as indicated by Paul’s comments in 2 Timothy). It is widely thought that this gospel was written under the imprimatur of Peter, and reflects his style and viewpoint.

The first nine or ten chapters are a summary of the teachings, miracles, and events in the life of Jesus. It seems to me that Mark is much more loosely organized than the other gospel writers. Some of the major events are presented in what is probably a loose chronological order, though chronology does not seem to be the organizing theme.

It seems to me that a section on events will be followed by a section of Jesus’s miracles that is followed by a section on His teachings. Perhaps this is how Peter organized his own recollections or presented a series of sermons. Scenes or teachings in Mark tend to be short and to-the-point.  Perhaps the strength of the book of Mark is that it can be taken in bite-sized chunks. Because of the overall brevity of the book, it is also easy to take in the scope of Jesus’ earthly ministry in a few settings.

Where the first several chapters are a breathless run through the public ministry of Jesus, the last few chapters are a more leisurely stroll through the days leading to and through His crucifixion and resurrection. These events had a profound effect on Peter. Though still broken up by sections on Jesus’ teaching (probably during the period of the last chapters), this section seems to be a fairly chronological depiction of events.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in
the other Gospels (Matthew, Luke and John)

Mark. The Holy Bible. New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1982.