Who is the Mark who wrote one of the four gospels?
- Mark (aka, John or John Mark; Acts 12:12; Acts 12:25; Acts 15:37), was a companion of both Paul and Peter, and a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10).
- John was his Hebrew name. Mark was his Greek name.
- Some of the church fathers include Mark as one of the 70 sent out by Jesus.
- He is referred to as the son of Mary (Acts 12:12) so his father likely died young.
- Mark’s mother, Mary, had a large house that was used as a meeting place for the church in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) and became the stage for the early disciples of Jesus.
- Barnabas & Paul took Mark with them when they returned from the Jerusalem conference (Acts 12:25).
- Mark accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey but Mark turned back in Perga and returned to Jerusalem (Act 13:13).
- When Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them on their 2nd journey, Paul refused. The disagreement led to a split between Barnabas and Paul. Barnabas took Mark and traveled to Cyprus. Paul took Silas and traveled through Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:36-41).
- Eventually Paul and Mark worked out their differences as Mark was with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (Col 4:10). Near the end of Paul’s life, Paul wrote that Mark was useful to him in ministry (2 Tim 4:11).
- After Paul’s martyrdom, Mark became Peter’s companion, and wrote his gospel based on Peter’s teachings and experiences.
- Most scholars think the young man in Mark 14:15-52 is Mark.
- According to tradition, Mark became the founder and bishop of the church in Alexandria, North Africa.
Mark in Scripture
Acts 12:12: When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Acts 12:25: And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
Acts 13:5: When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.
Acts13:13: Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem,
Acts 15:37: Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark.
Acts 15:39: And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,
Col 4:10: Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him),
2Tim 4:11: Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.
Phm 1:24: and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
1Pet 5:13: She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Mark (aka John Mark)
- 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
More: Gospel of Mark Resources
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Background & History
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