Exposit The Word Mark Biblical Teaching Expository Teaching Verse by Verse Rick Holland

Mark Overview

Mark, for whom this gospel is named, was a close companion of the Apostle Peter and a recurring character in the book of Acts, where he is known as “John whose surname was Mark” (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37, 39). It was to John Mark’s mother’s home in Jerusalem that Peter went when released from prison (Acts 12:12).

John Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 12:25; 13:5). But he deserted them along the way in Perga and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). When Barnabas wanted Paul to take John Mark on the second missionary journey, Paul refused. The friction which resulted between Paul and Barnabas led to their separation (Acts 15:38–40).

But John Mark’s earlier vacillation evidently gave way to great strength and maturity, and in time he proved himself even to the Apostle Paul. When Paul wrote the Colossians, he instructed them that if John Mark came, they were to welcome him (Col. 4:10). Paul even listed Mark as a fellow worker (Philem. 24). Later, Paul told Timothy to “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11).

John Mark’s restoration to useful ministry may have been, in part, due to the ministry of Peter. Peter’s close relationship with Mark is evident from his description of him as “Mark my son” (1 Pet. 5:13). Peter, of course, was no stranger to failure himself, and his influence on the younger man was no doubt instrumental in helping him out of the instability of his youth and into the strength and maturity he would need for the work to which God had called him.

Whereas Matthew was written to a Jewish audience, Mark seems to have targeted Roman believers, particularly Gentiles. When employing Aramaic terms, Mark translated them for his readers (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 10:46; 14:36; 15:22, 34). On the other hand, in some places he used Latin expressions instead of their Greek equivalents (5:9; 6:27; 12:15, 42; 15:16, 39). He also reckoned time according to the Roman system (6:48; 13:35) and carefully explained Jewish customs (7:3, 4; 14:12; 15:42). Mark omitted Jewish elements, such as the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke. This gospel also makes fewer references to the OT, and includes less material that would be of particular interest to Jewish readers—such as that which is critical of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Sadducees are mentioned only once, in 12:18). When mentioning Simon the Cyrene (15:21), Mark identifies him as the father of Rufus, a prominent member of the church at Rome (Rom. 16:13). All of this supports the traditional view that Mark was written for a Gentile audience initially at Rome.

Text used with permission from GTY.org

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”  2 Timothy 3:16


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