Knowing the Bible

The Book of Mark


Of the four gospels, Mark was the first one written (50AD). Mark probably relied heavily on eyewitness accounts from the apostle Peter. Though written in Rome, Mark's gospel was aimed at the wider church, especially those who had not been raised as Jews. While Matthew and Luke share quite a bit of material with Mark, Mark's gospel has more action and less lengthy teachings from Jesus. There is a sense of urgency, intensity, and action throughout Mark. Mark is concerned with presenting Jesus and the Messiah (and this looks differently than the audience expected), Jesus as king, Jesus who is rejected by religious authorities, and Jesus who calls his followers to radical discipleship in the kingdom of God.

Overview video of The Gospel of Mark

This is a fantastic book overview from The Bible Project that will give you a sense of the main themes and structure of Mark. (7 min)

Learning to Observe the Text

Mark's narrative moves at breakneck speed, so we recommend reading it in small chunks each day. Slow down and observe the text well. Start a journal, take notes. Identify a verse of the day and write it out. Look for direct commands (watch the verbs!) and keep a list. Make a list of what you learn about Jesus each day. Do something to engage with the text. Don't just speed through and move on without pondering it for a bit