Introduction to the Gospel of Mark

Posted on July 18, 2008. Filed under: The Gospel of Mark |

Friday, July 18, 2008– Here are my sermon notes for a Sunday night study that covered some of the introductory material on Mark’s Gospel.

Mark 1:1   Mark: An Introduction   18 July 1999 PM

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Outline:

Introduction

I. The New Testament

II. Author

III. Situation-Who, What, When, Where

IV. Purpose and Themes

V. Outline of Mark’s Gospel

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Introduction: When we come to God’s Word we use special care to study, interpret and apply it accurately. There are some sound rules that are used to interpret all literature from Shakespeare to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Rules of interpretation help us to understand God’s Word. Some may ask why study that here? That is the preacher’s job to do all that fancy interpreting. We are Baptists and we have a doctrine known as the priesthood of the believer. This doctrine has been much abused in recent years to excuse all sorts of bad doctrine and practice. But the priesthood of the believer, though it relates primarily to salvation, also touches on the individual’s duty and privilege to read and understand the scriptures for him/herself. To go around claiming the priesthood of the believer without taking the time to study the centuries old principles of interpreting scripture is to fall into error and promote ignorance. Therefore, whenever we begin a book study in the Scriptures, I will always give an introductory sermon that gives the background to the book.

 

I. New Testament

            Although Mark is not the first book in our NT, now was it the first book written in the NT, it is considered by many scholars to be the first of the Gospels to be written. What is the New Testament anyway?

            The Greek term for Testament is diatheke and meant last will and testament. It was an arrangement made by one party that could be accepted or rejected by another party. However, it could not be altered, and if it was accepted it became binding on both parties.

            Another word used to translate this term is covenant. The Greek translators of the OT used the term diatheke to translate the Hebrew word for covenant, meaning a binding contract between two parties. Merrill C. Tenney writes (p124) “The NT then is the record of the character and establishment of a new dealing of God with men through Christ. God sets the terms which man can accept or reject but cannot alter, and when man accepts them, both he and God are obligated to fulfill their requirements. The Old Covenant involved a revelation of the holiness of God in a righteous standard of law which those who received it were solemnly enjoined to keep. The New Covenant embodies a revelation of the holiness of God in an utterly righteous Son, who empowers those who receive the revelation to become sons of God by making them righteous.”

 

II. Author

            The Gospels, technically speaking are anonymous, that is they do not have a name attached in the actual text of the early manuscripts. So where do we get the information about the author if it is not a part of the text itself? The earliest account we have is by a man named Papias who was an elder in the church at Hieropolis about AD 140. (Quote from Hughes, p14). The early church was almost unanimous in ascribing this gospel to John Mark. But what do we know about Mark?

            Mark 14:51; Acts 12:12, 25; Acts 13:5, 13; 15:36-41; Philemon 24; Col 4:10; 2Tim 4:11; 1Pet 5:13; Mark 15:21 and Romans16:13.

 

III. Situation-Who What When Where

            Mark is considered to have been written in Rome for the Roman Christians for several reasons. First, he is associated with Paul and Peter in their last years in Rome. Secondly, he uses several Latin terms that the other Gospel writers do not use; he translates some Hebrew words for his readers. See 3:17; 5:41; 7:11; 7:34; 14:36; Semitic words translated into Greek. Latin terms 12:42; 15:16; 15:21and Rom 16:13.

            What difference does it make to us if he wrote in Rome to Romans?

There are various stylistic differences between the Gospels that critics use to try to debunk them. If we understand the reason for the differences we strengthen our faith.

            Date- early 60’s. 64-65. Ch13 is prophecy, not history!

            Priority of Mark. Was it the first gospel written? 1) Shortest of the gospels. 2) Matt and Luke occasionally differ from Mark’s order of events but never the two combined 3) Matthew and Luke improve on Mark’s simple grammar. About 92% of Mark is in Matthew, 48% in Luke and 95% in Matt and Luke. Compare Mark’s details: 1:13 with Matt4:1-2 and Lk4:1-2. Mark 4:38 with Matt 8:24 and Lk8:23; Mark 6:39 with Matt14:19 and Luke 9:14-15; John 6:10. Mark 9:36 with Matt 18:12. Mark 10:13-16 with Matt 19:13-15 and Lk18:15-17.

 

IV. Purpose and Themes

            Mk1:1; 10:45

            First concern was to collect and organize the various oral traditions of Jesus’ deeds. Set forth his own understanding of who Jesus was- Christology.

Minister to the church at Rome, comprised largely of Gentile slaves. Portrays Jesus as fully man and fully Divine,  Son of Man and Son of God. Lord of the Jews and Gentiles, a man of action, Lord over disease, demons and nature. A suffering servant hence no geneology. A call to discipleship- following Jesus into suffering and mission. Fast paced, action packed, like the Roman mind would like.

            Barclay p6-7 “No one tells us so much about the emotions of Jesus as Mark does. Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit (7:34; 8:12) . He was moved with compassion (6:34). He marveled at their unbelief (6:6). He was moved with righteous anger (3:5; 8:33; 10:14). Only Mark tells us that when Jesus looked at the rich young ruler he loved him (11:12).He could be tired and want to rest (6:31). He is very fond of the words immediately or and straightway about 30 uses.

 

OUTLINE:

Introduction: The Beginning of the Good News 1:1-13

I. The Good News about Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God 1:14-8:21

II. The Good News about Jesus’ Teaching on Discipleship 8:22-10:52

III. he Good News about Jesus’ Death 11:1-15:47

Conclusion: The Good News about Jesus’ Empty Tomb 16:1-8

 

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