Mark Background

The Gospel According to Mark


  • Church      patriarch Papias (AD60-130): "Mark became Peter's interpreter and wrote      down accurately... the things both said and done by the Lord."
  • Other      early writers attest that the account was written following Peter's death      (~AD64).
  • Curiously,      few early commentaries were written on this account -- while the other      three prompted many writings. Possibly because its pithy character      required no comment.
  • In      fact, Mark's account is generally viewed as the first to be written. This      is called "Markan priority."


  • Most      probably that John Mark, son of Mary - Acts 12:12.
  • Joined      Paul and Barnabas (~AD46), on their 3rd teaching trip -      Acts12:25 / 13:5.
  • Who,      either from personal fear or doctrinal disagreement, left them at Asia -- 13:13.
  • But      Later (~10 years) was reconciled to Paul and quite useful -- Col4:10 /      Phlm24.
  • Working      with Timothy at Ephesus      when Paul last called for him -- 2Tim4:11.
  • Probably      well acquainted with Peter in Jerusalem      (see Acts12:12-17 / 15).
  • So, with      Peter later in Rome:      "Mark, my son" - 1Pet5:13 (probably during the apostle's final days).

 Distinctive Marks

  • "Immediately"      (Greek euthys) 42X -- 9 in just the 1st chapter. Indicative of a      sense of urgency. Fitting for a rapidly flowing narrative. Also, akin to      His portrayal of Jesus as a Man of Action.
  • Brevity:      almost half the length of Luke's account. Can be read aloud in 1.5 hours.      Abrupt in style: after a brief title statement (1:1), John and then Jesus      come pouring unto the scene.
  • Witness      Detailed: Jesus looking around (Mk3:5 & 34); 2,000 hogs (5:13); green      grass (6:39).
  • Passion      Weighted: over 1/3 of the account (chapters 11-16) dedicated to the final      week of Jesus' work.
  • Latinisms:      10 of the NT's 18 Latin phrases occur in this gospel. John's executioner      is a 'speculator' (6:27). The widow's 2 coins are Latin 'quadrans'      (12:42). The governor's hall a 'Praetorium' (15:6). The Lord's scourging      with 'flagellare' (15:15).

 Many consider this account "The Gospel According to Peter" -- as scribed by the disciple John Mark, his attendant and co-worker. It is busy account, addressed to the modern world, of the powerful work of Jesus, the Divine Son, Who came to serve us!

 notes by David Teel Sunday, January 05, 2014