“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ ”
The Bible is one, unified book however it is divided into 2 major divisions—The Old Testament and The New Testament. The term testament means covenant and refers to these two divisions in the Bible.
The Old Testament lays the foundation for the New Testament.
Both testaments reveal the same holy, merciful, and righteous God who condemns sin but desires to save sinners through an atoning sacrifice.
In both testaments, God reveals Himself to us and shows us how we are to come to Him through faith.
The New Testament is made up of 27 books that have various styles.
The fifth book of the New Testament is Acts of the Apostles, or simply "Acts." Acts recounts the early history of Christianity.
Paul's Epistles (letters) and Hebrews
These 13 books are: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. It is a matter of debate whether Paul is the writer in Hebrews.
General Epistles (Letters)
The seven general epistles -- James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Jude -- are ascribed to various authors and are addressed to a general Christian audience, rather than the specific communities addressed in Paul's Epistles.
The 27th and final book of the New Testament is called the Book of the Revelation to John, or more commonly, "Revelation."
The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The first three Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke are similar in content and structure— they labeled the "Synoptic Gospels." Synoptic correlates to the word synopsis, which means summary.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
This book is one of the Gospels, a term meaning good news. The Gospels chronicle the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Mark does this in the style of a photographer recording one snapshot after another of the life of Jesus.
While we cannot be 100% certain that Mark wrote this letter, because like Matthew the author’s name isn’t revealed, there is enough evidence to be fairly certain he is the man who recorded these words.
Mark was the son of Mary whose large home was a meeting place for the believers during the early days of the church.
2 Timothy 4:11
“…get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”
The early Church Fathers provide support that Mark is the author.
"Papias claimed that Mark, the Evangelist, who had never heard Christ, was the interpreter of Peter, and that he carefully gave an account of everything he remembered from the preaching of Peter."(Douglas, J. D., Philip W. Comfort, and Donald Mitchell, eds.,
Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 180) said:
When Peter had publicly preached the word at Rome, and by the Spirit had proclaimed the Gospel, that those present, who were many, exhorted Mark, as one who had followed [Peter] for a long time and remembered what had been spoken, to make a record of what was said; and that he did this, and distributed the Gospel among those that asked him. (6.14.6–7)
Irenaeus (A.D. 170) said:
Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also himself handed on in writing the things that had been preached by Peter (3.1.1).
A couple of other things are important to note:
Mark is a close friend of Peter.
1 Peter 5:13
“…Mark, my son.”
Peter is mentioned more frequently than any other disciple in Mark
Mark was most likely writing this book for the Christians in Rome – and he’s writing from Rome, where he had been working with Peter before Peter’s death.
Why do we think that is the case?
For starters there are a number of latin expressions and explanations of Jewish customs. The audience seems to be a Greek-speaking audience.
Mark also uses the Roman time allotments—4 watches of the night instead of 3 (Jewish).
Mark was probably written after the fire of A.D. 64 and before A.D. 70 when believers were suffering at the hands of the emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68). That could explain why there are so many references to persecution and suffering.
He recorded his Gospel in a brief, to the point and rapidly moving way.
One of the ways we notice this his use of the word immediately.
Mark uses immediately 42 times where Luke only uses it 1 time and Matthew 5 times.
The story in Mark is always on the move.
He organized his account chronologically.
The layout of Mark’s Gospel falls into two parts:
Introduction and events in the public ministry of Jesus.
Events leading to and during the Passion week of Jesus’ life
He focused his attention on the early ministry of Jesus in Galilee and the last week of Jesus’ life.
1. Mark spends a great deal of time on the suffering of Jesus.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
2. The work and ministry of Jesus rather than the long sermons and lessons of Jesus gets center stage.
3. Jesus’ full range of emotions are expressed throughout the book.
4. The cost of being a disciple of Jesus.
There are two questions we have to ask and answer here:
1. Who is it written about?
This is a true Gospel account—the centerpiece of the book is Jesus. Mark’s concern is making him known.
2. What do we gain by reading it?
Mark wrote to encourage the suffering Christians, predominately Gentiles, living in Rome.
It has been called a “discipleship manual.”
ESV Study Bible: “The ultimate purpose and theme of Mark is to present and defend Jesus' universal call to discipleship.”
Mark proclaims Jesus as our Savior, and calls people to repent and believe in him.
What should we remember about the opening of “The Gospel According to Mark?”
1. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news because Jesus has dealt with the bad news in his death.
1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 3:18
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…”
2. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news because Jesus has secured the best news in his resurrection.
1 Peter 1:3
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”