Sep 09, 2018 | Chris Shelton

The Gospel of Mark (Part 1): The Beginning of the Gospel

Mark 1:1

Mark 1:1 

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Characteristics of Mark

  1. The SHORTEST Gospel  
    * 11,025 words in Greek; compared to Matthew (18,293), Luke       (19,376), John (15,635)
  2. The SECOND in order, but the FIRST Gospel written 
    *  97% of Mark appears in Matthew; 88% in Luke 

“Given Mark, its easy to understand why Matthew was written; given Matthew, it’s difficult to understand why Mark was written”  (D.A. Carson & Doug. Moo) 

      3. The SIMPLEST Gospel
           * Written in an unrefined, commonly-spoken form of Greek
           * Omits some of the most notable contents found in Matthew                 and Luke

“Mark’s brevity and journalistic simplicity make his Gospel an ideal introduction to the Christian faith”   (William MacDonald)

Authorship of Mark

  • Written approximately A.D. 65 from Rome
  • Written by “John Mark” (see Acts 12:12, 25; 13:4, 13*; 15:37-41*)
  • First Bishop of Alexandria (Egypt/‘Coptic’ Church) 
  • The Gospel According to Peter? 

“The early church believed that Mark got many of his facts from Peter, for they know that Mark himself had not been a disciple of Jesus during his lifetime….We also know that Peter was intending before his death to make a permanent record of his memories of Christ (2 Peter 1:15). Most of the early church fathers believed that Mark’s gospel was this record.”  (Alan Cole) New Bible Commentary

“Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered…in order, of things said or done by the Lord. For Mark had not heard the Lord, nor had he followed him, but later on, as I said, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”  (Pipias, Bishop of Hierapolis)  Exegesis of the Lord’s Oracles 

2 Peter 1:12-15 

Mark 1:1

“Mark 1:1 is best understood as the author’s title to the whole Gospel, rather than an element in the first sentence of the narrative.”  (Eugene Boring)  Mark: A Commentary

‘gospel’ (Gk.) Euaggelion / εὐαγγέλιον  “Good News;” glad tidings of salvation and grace; a declaration of victory (military/political)

“Among the Greeks the term was used likewise of victory in battle, as well as other forms of good news.  In 9 B.C., within a decade of Jesus’ birth, the birthday of Caesar Augustus was hailed as euaggelion.  Since he was hailed as a god, Augustus’s birthday signaled the beginning of Good News to the world.  In the Greco-Roman world the word always appears plural, meaning one good tiding among others; but in the NT euaggelion appears only in the singular: the good news of God in Jesus Christ, beside which there is no other.”  (James Edwards), The Gospel According to Mark

‘beginning’ (Gk.)Arche / ἀρχή  Origin; the person or thing that commences; that by which anything begins to be

“For Mark, the introduction of Jesus is no less momentous than the creation of the world, for in Jesus a new creation is at hand.” (James Edwards) , The Gospel According to Mark

RELIGION is what we do to REACH GOD;
the GOSPEL is what God has done to REACH US. 

Mark 1:10

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