A handful of tips: The Gospel of Mark

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Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four and thus an excellent gospel to read in one sitting. Here are five tips if you feel like you can’t keep up with Mark’s fast pace:

  • Notice Mark’s interest in the deeds of Jesus rather than his words. Jesus is always doing something in Mark’s gospel and he cannot seem to catch a break because everything happens immediately. What do these deeds and this busyness reveal about Jesus?
  • Pay attention to the way in which Mark records statement’s of amazement about Jesus in the form of questions. Often in Mark, we read phrases like “What is this?” or “Who then is this?” followed by a connection with something Jesus did or said. This is great story-telling because Mark invites his readers to think about how they would answer these questions.
  • If you have a map of Israel, use it while reading Mark. He uses geography to underline his message about Jesus. This becomes evident in places such as chapter 5 and the end of chapter 8.
  • Notice Mark’s favorite themes of fear and faith, which he explores throughout his account.
  • Lastly, Mark’s gospel provides a rich suffering-servant theology that draws heavily on passages from the second half of Isaiah. Mark combines this with a deep sense that Jesus is the Son of Man, a title used by Daniel in the Old Testament to talk about God’s coming ruler. Mark combines these two themes in his Gospel to show that Jesus is both Lord and Servant, and that we worship him as both.

So many more things could be said, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

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