Everything you need to kick start your study of the Gospel of Mark: maps, charts, key words, history, background, outlines, and links to help you study.
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Bible Study: Questions Jesus Asked
- Author: Mark (aka, John or John Mark; Acts 12:12; Acts 12:25; Acts 15:37), who was a companion of both Paul and Peter, cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10).
- See: Who was Mark?
- Like all the gospels, the author is not identified, but Papias (c. 110-140 AD) quotes an earlier source saying: Mark was a close associate of Peter and learned the material in his gospel from Peter’s preaching.
- John was his Hebrew name. Mark, his Greek name. He is referred to as the son of Mary (Acts 12:12) so his father likely died young. Some of the church fathers include John Mark as one of the 70 sent out by Jesus.
- Date: 65-68 AD
- Most early church fathers said Mark wrote after Peter’s death (64 AD?) except Clement of Alexandria claimed Mark’s gospel was written while Peter was still alive.
- Modern scholars believe Mark’s gospel was the first one written. However, the early church fathers unanimously believed Matthew’s gospel was the first written.
- Audience: mostly Gentiles in Rome.
- Purpose: likely to encourage Christians in Rome who were facing persecution
- Almost half of Mark’s gospel is concerned with the last week of the life of Christ.
- Mark’s mother had a large house that was used as a meeting place for the church in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).
- Barnabas and John Mark were cousins (Col 4:10).
- Barnabas & Paul took John Mark with them when they returned from the Jerusalem conference (Acts 12:25).
- Mark accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey but turned back in Perga and returned to Jerusalem (Act 13:13).
- When Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them on their 2nd journey, Paul refused. The disagreement led to: Barnabas taking Mark and traveling to Cyprus; Paul taking Silas and traveling through Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:36-41). But also 2 missionary journeys instead of one.
- Eventually Paul and Mark worked out their differences as Mark was with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (Col 4:10) and near the end of Paul’s life Paul wrote that Mark was useful to him in ministry (2 Tim 4:11).
- Most scholars think the young man in Mark 14:15-52 is John Mark.
- Geographical markers set the two main parts of Mark’s account:
- Mark 1:14: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
- Mar 10:1 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
A Simple Outline
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
- Chapter 1:1-13—Introductory credentials
- Chapter 1:14-8:30 — Ministry of the servant
- Chapter 8:31-16:20—Ransoming work of the servant
Frequent use of sets of three
- three seed parables (Mark 4:3-32).
- three popular opinions about John (Mark 6:14-15).
- three popular opinions about Jesus (Mark 8:27-29).
- three predictions of the Passion (Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33-34).
- three failures of the disciples to stay awake in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-34).
- three denials of Jesus by Peter (Mark 14:66-72).
Use of doublets between Mark 4:41 (Who is this?) and Mark 8:29 (Who do you say I am?)
- Two water miracles: Jesus calms the storm (Mark 4:35-41) and walks on water (Mark 6:45-52).
- Two healings: dead girl and sick woman ( 5:21-41) and deaf and mute man (Mark 7:31-37).
- Two multiplications of bread: feed 5000 (Mark 6:34-44) and feed 4000 (Mark 8:1-10).
- Two sayings on the meaning of bread and hardened hearts (Mark 6:52; Mark 8:14-31).
- “The Messianic Secret”: Jesus silences the demons (Mark 1:25; Mark 1:34; Mark 3:12); Jesus silences the disciples (Mark 8:30; Mark 9:9); fullest confession of Jesus’ identity happens at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:39).
- The failures of the disciples: failures of understanding that that Messiah will suffer; failure of loyalty and commitment culminating with them fleeing at Jesus’ arrest.
Genre: Understanding the Gospels
Background & Outlines
Bible Atlas: Galilee
Bible Atlas: Nazareth
Bible Atlas: Jerusalem
Bible Atlas: Jordan River
Bible Atlas: Bethlehem
Introduction to New Testament Jewish Groups
Chronology of Acts/Epistles from Blue Letter Bible
Biblehub: Timeline of Mark
Overview of the Book by Ray C Stedman
Author, Date, Background by John MacArthur
Mark Overview from Blue Letter Bible
NIV: Introduction to Mark
ESV: Introduction to Mark
ESV: The Global Message of Mark
Ligonier: Introduction to the Gospels
Ligonier: Introduction to Mark
David Malick (Bible.org): An Introduction to the Gospel Of Mark
David Malick: An Argument Of The Gospel Of Mark
James Van Dine: Analysis of Mark
Maps from Holman Bible Atlas
Rome’s Emergence as a World Power
Roman Expansion in the 3rd & 2nd centuries BCE
Civil Wars amidst Roman Expansion in 1st century BCE
Roman Empire in the Age of Augustus
Romans, Palestine, and Herod the Great
Roman Rule in Palestine 63-40 BCE
The Kingdom of Herod the Great
The World of Jesus
The Division of Herod’s Kingdom
Palestine in the Time of Jesus (1)
Palestine in the Time of Jesus (2)
Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Life and Ministry of Jesus
Jesus’ Birth and Early Childhood
The Birth, Childhood, and Baptism of Jesus
Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee and Journey to Jerusalem
The Ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee
The Ministry of Jesus beyond Galilee
Jesus’ Ministry according to John
Jesus’ Journeys from Galilee to Judea
Jerusalem in the New Testament Period
Maps from Bible-History.com
Jerusalem at the time of Jesus
Key Words in Mark
Occurrences are based on New American Standard Text. “4x/3v” means the word appears 4 times in 3 verses. “3x” means the word appears 3 times in 3 verses.
God (44x) – Strong’s G2316; “Son of God” (4x)
disciples (42x) – Strong’s G3101 in Mar 2:15; Mar 2:16; Mar 2:18; Mar 2:23; Mar 3:7; Mar 3:9; Mar 4:34; Mar 5:31; Mar 6:1; Mar 6:29; Mar 6:35; Mar 6:41; Mar 6:45; Mar 7:2; Mar 7:5; Mar 7:17; Mar 8:1; Mar 8:4; Mar 8:6; Mar 8:10; Mar 8:27; Mar 8:33; Mar 8:34; Mar 9:14; Mar 9:18; Mar 9:28; Mar 9:31; Mar 10:10; Mar 10:13; Mar 10:23; Mar 10:24; Mar 10:46; Mar 11:1; Mar 11:14; Mar 12:43; Mar 13:1; Mar 14:12; Mar 14:13; Mar 14:14; Mar 14:16; Mar 14:32; Mar 16:7.
immediately (39x) – Strong’s G2117 in Mar 1:10; Mar 1:12; Mar 1:18; Mar 1:20; Mar 1:21; Mar 1:28; Mar 1:29; Mar 1:30; Mar 1:42; Mar 1:43; Mar 2:8; Mar 2:12; Mar 3:6; Mar 4:5; Mar 4:15; Mar 4:16; Mar 4:17; Mar 4:29; Mar 5:2; Mar 5:29; Mar 5:30; Mar 5:42; Mar 6:25; Mar 6:27; Mar 6:45; Mar 6:50; Mar 6:54; Mar 7:25; Mar 8:10; Mar 9:15; Mar 9:20; Mar 9:24; Mar 10:52; Mar 11:2; Mar 11:3; Mar 14:43; Mar 14:45; Mar 14:72; Mar 15:1.
kingdom (18v) / kingdom of God (14x) – Strong’s G932 in Mar 1:15; Mar 3:24; Mar 4:11; Mar 4:26; Mar 4:30; Mar 6:23; Mar 9:1; Mar 9:47; Mar 10:14; Mar 10:15; Mar 10:23; Mar 10:24; Mar 10:25; Mar 11:10; Mar 12:34; Mar 13:8; Mar 14:25; Mar 15:43.
father/Father (18x) – Strong’s G3962 in Mar 1:20; Mar 5:40; Mar 7:10; Mar 7:11; Mar 7:12; Mar 8:38; Mar 9:21; Mar 9:24; Mar 10:7; Mar 10:19; Mar 10:29; Mar 11:10; Mar 11:25; Mar 11:26; Mar 13:12; Mar 13:32; Mar 14:36; Mar 15:21.
Lord (15x) – Strongs G2962 in Mar 1:3; Mar 2:28; Mar 5:19; Mar 7:28; Mar 11:3; Mar 11:9; Mar 12:11; Mar 12:29; Mar 12:30; Mar 12:36; Mar 12:37; Mar 13:20; Mar 16:19; Mar 16:20; Strong’s G2634b in 10:42
“Son of man” (14x) in Mar 2:10; Mar 2:28; Mar 8:31; Mar 8:38; Mar 9:9; Mar 9:12; Mar 9:31; Mar 10:33; Mar 10:45; Mar 13:26; Mar 14:21; Mar 14:41; Mar 14:62; Mar 15:39.
teacher/Teacher (12x) – Strong’s G1320 in Mar 4:38; Mar 5:35; Mar 9:17; Mar 9:38; Mar 10:17; Mar 10:20; Mar 10:35; Mar 12:14; Mar 12:19; Mar 12:32; Mar 13:1; Mar 14:14.
temple (11x) – Strong’s G2413 in Mar 11:11; Mar 11:15; Mar 11:16; Mar 11:27; Mar 12:35; Mar 13:1; Mar 13:3; Mar 14:49; Mar 14:58; Mar 15:29; Mar 15:38.
authority (9x) – Strong’s G1849 in Mar 1:22; Mar 1:27; Mar 2:10; Mar 3:15; Mar 6:7; Mar 11:28; Mar 11:29; Mar 11:33; Strong’s G2715 in Mar 10:42.
Top 5 Commentaries on Mark by Keith Mathison – Ligonier.org
Best Commentaries on Mark – Tim Challies
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible: Mark
Albert Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible: Mark
Alfords Exegetical Commentary: Mark
Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible: Mark
Reformation Study Bible Notes: Mark
The Biblical Illustrator: Mark
Precept Austin Commentaries & Sermons: Mark
Bible Studies in the Gospel of Mark – Ray C. Stedman
Assorted articles-mostly theological journals – Mark
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Mark, Theology of
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Mark, Gospel Of
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Mark, Gospel According To
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Mark, the Gospel According To
Holman Bible Dictionary: Mark, Gospel of
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Mark, Gospel of
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Mark
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Mark, Gospel By
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Mark, Gospel of
McClintock and Strong: Mark, Gospel of
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Mark, Gospel According To
The Jewish Encyclopedia:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Mark
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Mark
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Mark, John
Holman Bible Dictionary: Mark, John
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Mark (John)
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Mark
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Mark, Marcus
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Mark, John
McClintock and Strong: Mark
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Mark, John
The Jewish Encyclopedia:
John means “the grace or mercy of the Lord” – Hitchcock’s Bible Names
Mark (Marcus) means “polite, shining” – Hitchcock’s Bible Names
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Pharisees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
Holman Bible Dictionary: Jewish Parties in the New Testament
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Pharisees
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Pharisees
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Pharisees
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Pharisees
McClintock and Strong: Pharisee
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Pharisees
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Pharisees
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Sadducees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Holman Bible Dictionary: Jewish Parties in the New Testament
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Sadducees
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Sadducees
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Sadducees
McClintock and Strong: Sadducee
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Sadducees
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Sadducees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Scribes
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Scribes
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Scribes
Holman Bible Dictionary: Scribe
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Scribes
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Scribes
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Scribes
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Scribes
McClintock and Strong: Scribes, Jewish
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Scribes, The
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Scribes
John the Baptist
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: John the Baptist
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
Fausset Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
Holman Bible Dictionary:
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: John the Baptist
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: John the Baptist
Morrish Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: John the Baptist
McClintock and Strong: John the Baptist
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: John the Baptist
The Jewish Encyclopedia: John the Baptist
Assorted articles-mostly theological journals – John the Baptist
Sketches of Jewish Social Life
The Temple —Its Ministry and Services
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Whyte’s Dictionary of Bible Characters
Paul Apple (2017) – Mark Commentary
James Arlandson: Archaeology and the Synoptic Gospels- Which way do the rocks roll?
James Arlandson: Historical Reliability of the Gospels – 14 part series
James Arlandson: Eyewitness Testimony in Mark’s Gospel
Darrel Bock: Historical Backgrounds to the Gospels and Life of Jesus
David Mallick: The Chiastic Structure of the Gospel of Mark Around Geographical Clues
Arend Remmers: The Four Gospels – Comparison
Peter Smith: Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week
Daniel Wallace: Mark: Introduction, Argument, and Outline
Charles Dyer: The Purpose of The Gospel of Mark
Greg Herrick: Mark Introduction with Outline – Portrait of Jesus: The Victorious Suffering Servant
Greg Herrick: Demonism in Jewish/Hellenistic Literature and Its Relation to Mark
James M. Arlandson: Are There Contradictions in the Gospels?
James M. Arlandson: Historical Reliability of the Gospels
James M. Arlandson: Archaeology and the Synoptic Gospels: Which way do the rocks roll?
Darrel L. Bock: Historical Backgrounds to the Gospels and Life of Jesus
Peter L Smith: Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week
Treat like any commentary: read carefully, read thoughtfully and require proof.
Why did God give us four Gospels?
What is the harmony of the Gospels?
When were the Gospels written?
Who was John Mark in the Bible?
What can we learn from the life of John the Baptist?
What were the key events in the life of Jesus Christ?
Why did Jesus teach in parables?
What was the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ temptations?
What does it mean to be “fishers of men”?
What is the meaning of the parables of fasting at the wedding feast, the old cloth, and the wine skins?
What does it mean that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath?
Who were the twelve (12) disciples / apostles of Jesus Christ?
Why did Jesus refer to James and John as the sons of thunder?
What does it mean to bind the strong man?
What does it mean that a house divided cannot stand?
What did Jesus mean when He said, “He who has ears to hear”?
What is the meaning of the Parable of the Growing Seed?
What is the meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed?
What is the meaning of the Parable of the Sower?
What is the significance of Jesus calming the storm?
Why did Jesus allow the demons to enter the herd of pigs?
Why are there two demon-possessed men in the Gerasene tombs in Matthew, but only one in Mark and Luke?
What is the meaning of the story of the woman with the issue of blood?
What does it mean to shake the dust off your feet?
What can we learn from Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000?
What was the meaning of Jesus walking on water?
What does Corban mean in Mark 7:11?
Why did Jesus spit for some of His miracles?
What does it mean to gain the whole world but lose your soul?
What is the worm that will not die in Mark 9:48?
Did Jesus heal two blind men (Matthew 20:29-34) or one blind man (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43)?
What is the significance of the triumphal entry?
What does it mean that the house of prayer had been turned into a den of thieves?
Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler he could be saved by obeying the commandments?
What did Jesus mean when He told people, “Your faith has made you well”?
What does Jesus want us to learn from what He said about the widow’s mite?
What happened in the upper room?
Who was the young man who fled naked in Mark 14:51-52?
What is the significance of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss?
What was the reason behind Peter’s denial of Jesus?
Who helped Jesus carry the cross?
What was the significance of anointing spices in the Bible?
Can the various resurrection accounts from the four Gospels be harmonized?
Should Mark 16:9-20 be in the Bible?
What does the Bible say about snake handling? Should we be handling snakes in church?
Does Mark 16:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?
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