Gospel According To Mark
Writer: Internal and External Evidence: Purpose:
Characteristics and Scenes
Characteristics and Scenes
The writer of this Gospel was John Mark (Acts 15:37), son of Mary of Jerusalem, whose home was a place of prayer for the early church (Acts 12:12). He was nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:4), a wealthy Levite of Cyprus (Acts 4:36). He became a convert (son in the faith) and disciple of Peter (1 Pet. 5:13) after failing as servant to Paul and Barnabas, defecting on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4,5,13; 15:37,38). He probably was the youngest of the N. T. writers and in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion (14:51,52).
Internal evidence to his authorship is limited to and dependent upon the reference to the young man in 14:51,52. How did Mark know this unless he was the young man?
External evidence comes from the writings of the ‘‘church fathers.´´ The strongest evidence is given by Irenaeus (A.D. 98-195), ‘‘After their death (Peter and Paul), one called Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter also handed down in writing to us things preached by Peter´´ (A.D. 170). Papias, (A.D. 70-163) attributed authorship of some gospel to Mark, ‘‘Mark, who was Peter’s interpreter wrote down accurately though not in order, all that he remembered of what Christ had said or done.´´ Other testimony is found in the writings of Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 100-165), Tertullian (A.D. 150-220), Origen (A.D. 185-254), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-216), and Jerome.
The purpose of the servant who failed and then made good is to depict The Perfect Servant Who never failed but was faithful unto death. Non-Jewish readers are indicated by Roman expressions used, Jewish customs explained, and few quotations from the O. T. cited. Only one Messianic prophecy is quoted (15:28 cf. Is. 53:12).
Mark is characterized by action: a Gospel of works, not of words (only four parables recorded). Of the four Gospels, only Mark records that Jesus was a carpenter. Immediately, forthwith, straightway, promptly, etc. is found 80 times in the N. T. and 40 times in Mark. Tenderness and compassion characterize Mark. It records that Jesus gathered children ‘in His arms´ (9:36; 10:16), took folk ‘by the hand´ (1:31; 8:23; 9:27), and touched a leper (1:41). This second ‘Synoptic Gospel,´ characterized by continuation (all chapters but 1,8,14 begin with ‘‘And´´), focuses more on Jesus´ Galilean ministry.
The seven scenes in Mark are:
- The Wilderness of Judea (1:1-13);
- Kahpehrnah-oúm of Galilee (1:14-37; 2:1-4:35; 5:21-6:6a; 9:30-50);
- Galilee (1:38-45; 4:36-41; 6:6b-52; 8:1-9; 9:2-50);
- Gadara (5:1-19);
- Dehkáhpolis (5:20; 7:31b-37);
- Baythsah-eedáh (6:45,53-7:23; 8:22-9:1);
- Tyre and Sidon (7:24-31a);
- Dahlmahnoutháh (8:10-21);
- Judea (10:1-16:20);
- Jericho (10:46-52);
- Jerusalem and environs (11:1-11a, 15-14:2,12-16:20);
- Baythah-néeah (11:11b-14; 14:3-11).
The Book may be outlined as follows:
I Introduction to God’s Servant-Son (1:1-11).
II. The Servant-Son Ministering (1:12-13:37).
III. The Servant-Son Giving His Life a Ransom for Many
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