Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark - Pete's Bible Commentary

Let's look at the gospel according to Mark; part of Pete's Bible Commentary.

The generally held view is that the gospel of Mark was authored by John Mark. John Mark is the newphew of Barnabas, and he is said to have scribed this gospel with significant assistance from the Apostle Peter.
Around 110, Bishop Papias wrote, 'Mark was an interpreter of Peter and wrote down carefully what he remembered - though not in order - what was said or done by the Lord. He had in fact neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later on, as I said, he followed Peter. The latter formulated his teachings as was needed, though without making an ordered composition of the oracles of the Lord' (cited in Charpentier, 1981: 57).
Guthrie says the gospel of Mark is more about movement than discourse (1975: 53). It is not hard to realise, in comparison to the other gospels, that Mark is down to earth and what it lacks in analytical, historical depth, it makes up for in vivid pictures of the work of Jesus, and a fairly detailed view of the passion narrative.
Mark is one of three 'synoptic' gospels. The word synoptic comes from the Greek synopsis, meaning you can read these texts in a similar fashion, and they are easily comparable. The other two synoptic gospels are Luke and Matthew. The book of John differs somewhat in its literary content and style to the other synoptic gospels, and is therefore treated separately.
Mark was the first of the gospels and the general consensus is that this gospel was written in Rome in 70AD. It is also very probable that Matthew and Luke were aware of Mark's writings and referred to them when scribing their own gospels.

* Guthrie, Donald. (1975). New Testament Introduction. Inter-varsity Press: London.
* Charpentier, Etienne. (1981). How to Read the New Testament. SCM Press: London. 

The Introduction to the Gospel of Mark is part of Pete's Bible Commentary, written by PeteBrookshaw.


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