NOT SO BRIEF AN INTRODUCTION: I am excited to begin this Bible study with you. Thessalonians and Philippians are both epistles that we previously studied. So I felt compelled to pick another type of genre for us to meditate on and the gospel of Mark is where I landed.
Mark is an amazing book, counted among the “Synoptics,” and as we go through it, we will learn more of Christ the servant and Christ the sacrifice! We will witness the beginning and growth of His ministry and the growing opposition to it by the religious leaders. But ultimately, we will be reminded of His triumph! Jesus rose from the grave and was “received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).
I will not be spending much time presenting who the author is. There are many commentaries that you can read for the various argumentations that exist. I will say this, however, I believe that Mark, a close companion of the Apostle Peter, penned these words. This is the testimony of the early church fathers. Mark was most likely written sometime in the early ’50s (AD). Again, if you are interested in a deeper survey on the author and date of the writing, I would encourage you to begin with the notes in your book introductions in a solid study bible (The MacArthur Study Bible, for example). From there, you can locate various theologians that have written on this particular book or even “introductions to the New Testament.”
Mark appears to have been written to gentiles, specifically Roman believers. We see this in several ways: “He reckoned time according to the Roman system (6:48; 13:35). He carefully explained Jewish Customs (7:3,4; 14:12; 15:42), He omitted Jewish elements such as the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke, and Mark includes less material that would be of particular interest to Jewish readers” (Macarthur Study Bible).
What is interesting in this gospel as compared to Matthew and Luke is that Mark. He is more interested in sharing what Christ had done MORE SO than what He taught with his readers. Also worth noting is the observation that Mark does not open with any ancestry information, he instead “jumps out of the gate” with John the Baptist and Christ being baptized!
“Mark uses an uncomplicated and vivid literary style. He also writes in such a way that the discerning reader feels addressed or questioned often. Mark does not aim merely to convey information. He seeks rather to furnish grounds for our decision to follow and keep following the main character of the gospel: Jesus Christ” (Liberty Annotated Study Bible). By Jesus Himself.
This study will benefit believers and unbelievers alike. So, if you are new to the faith or have been a Christian for many years, This study will encourage and strengthen you as you visit the life and sacrifice of Christ afresh for you. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, don’t go, stay, read, think upon what you are reading, and let Jesus disclose Himself to you. The most important question you have to answer is this: “Who do men say I am” (8:27-30)?