This overview and outline of Mark is intended to assist you as you study the Bible, God’s letter to you.
Like Matthew and the other gospels, the gospel of Mark does not give us its author. However, history records for us that the author was Mark. Listen to the words of Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History written in the early 4th century.
So greatly, however, did the splendor of piety enlighten the minds of Peter’s hearers, that it was not sufficient to hear but once, nor to receive the unwritten doctrine of the gospel of God, but they persevered in every variety of entreaties, to solicit Mark as the companion of Peter, and whose gospel we have, that he should leave them a monument of the doctrine thus orally communicated, in writing. Nor did they cease their solicitations until they had prevailed with the man, and thus become the means of that history which is called the Gospel according to Mark. They say also, that the apostle (Peter,) having ascertained what was done by the revelation of the spirit, was delighted with the zealous ardor expressed by these men, and that the history obtained his authority for the purpose of being read in the churches. This account is given by Clement, in the sixth book of his Institutions, whose testimony is corroborated also by that of Papias, bishop of Hierapolis. But Peter makes mention of Mark in the first epistle, which he is also said to have composed at the same city of Rome, and that he shows this fact, by calling the city by the unusual trope, Babylon; thus, “The church at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you, as also my son Marcus.” (1 Peter 5:13)
EH II.15. Clement was bishop in Rome at the end of the first century and may have been the person mentioned in Philippians 4:3. Papias lived at the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd century A.D., was bishop of Hierapolis (within a few miles of Colossae and Laodicea), and knew the Apostle John personally. These attest that the Gospel was written by Mark.
After writing the gospel, Eusebius records that Mark went to Egypt and proclaimed the gospel there which he had written and first established churches at the city of Alexandria. A tradition from the 9th century states that the merchants of Venice stole the body of St. Mark from Alexandria and enshrined his remains in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
Papias tells us that Mark was careful not to write anything falsely in the account and that Peter gave him such instruction as was necessary. (EH III.39)
Ireneus, a 2nd century bishop at Lyons, also states that Mark wrote the gospel, stating that this was what had been preached by Peter. Therefore, upon fairly good authority, we can conclude that Mark wrote the gospel.
Most take this Mark to be the same as John Mark in Scripture. See Acts 12:12, 25, 15:37, 39. See also Colossians 4:10 where Mark is called the cousin of Barnabas, and Philemon 24.
So we should look at this gospel, not simply as some account of Christ, but rather as the content of Peter’s message. These are the events that stood out in Peter’s mind about the life of Christ. But while we think of Peter as being the apostle to the Jews, this gospel is for a Gentile audience, the audience at Rome.
The gospel is full of movement and action. Some 42 times Mark uses the words “eutheos” or “euthus”) meaning “immediately” (e.g. 1:10, 18, 20, 21, 29, 30, 31, 42, 43). In all of the rest of the New Testament, these words are used only 46 times. Thus, almost one half of all uses are in Mark. Peter saw Christ as a man of the immediate. Peter is mentioned in the book by name 22 times.
The gospel contains no birth narrative, but devotes nearly 1/2 of the book to the last weeks of Christ’s life. Where Matthew presents Christ as the Messiah, Mark emphasizes His position as the man who came from God (1:1, 11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 12:6; 14:61-62; 15:39). But 14 times He calls Himself the Son of Man in Mark as well. The book emphasizes the requests of Christ not to proclaim Him among the Jews (1:25, 34, 44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26, 30; 9:9). But among the Gentiles, He could be proclaimed (Mark 5:19). Mark seeks to demonstrate who Jesus is.
Date: 62 A.D. (?) While Peter was in Rome.
I. The Introduction 1:1-13 The Beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
- The Forerunner – John the Baptist 1:1-8 (Matthew has 12 verses, Luke 20, and John around 20). The point is that One is coming (vs. 7).
- The Baptism 1:9-11 The point is that Heaven bore witness to the person of Jesus Christ.
- The Temptation 1:12-13 (11 vs. for Matthew and 13 for Luke). The point is that He was tempted by Satan himself.
II. The Galilean Ministry 1:14-9:50
- The Demonstration of Who He Is 1:14-2:28
- The Time Has Come 1:14-15
- He is a Leader 1:16-20
- He has authority over demons 1:21-28
- He has authority over illness 1:29-31
- And His authority was without limit 1:32-34
- Prayer and preaching are a priority 1:35-39
- He touched a leper and leper became clean 1:40-45
- He forgives a paralytic to prove His Deity 2:1-12
- He proclaims Himself the physician 2:13-17
- He proclaims Himself the bridegroom 2:18-22
- He proclaims Himself Lord of the Sabbath 2:23-28
- The Opposition Rises 3:1-6:56
- They plot to destroy Him 3:1-6
- But He had a great following 3:7-12
- He appointed subordinates 3:13-19
- They spread slander 3:20-30
- His own family thinks He is mad 3:21, 31-35
- He resorts to parables 4:1-34
- He shows authority to those He chose 4:35-41
- He is rejected after a great healing 5:1-20
- But He heals those with faith 5:21-43
- He is rejected by His own country 6:1-6
- He sends out the 12 and warns of opposition 6:7-13
- Herod is introduced as an instrument of evil 6:14-29
- He seeks solitude but shows compassion 6:30-44
- Even His own disciples were w/o understanding 6:45-52
- But He continued to heal 6:53-56
- He Prepares His Disciples For His death 7:1-9:50
- Man is defiled from within 7:1-23
- A Gentile demonstrates faith 7:24-30
- He does all things well 7:31-37
- He teaches compassion 8:1-10
- He rejects the request for a sign 8:11-12
- He warns of hypocrisy 8:14-21
- He heals a blind man, but through two steps 8:22-26
- He asks for a confession 8:27-30
- He teaches submission to the Father’s will 8:31-33
- He calls for to discipleship 8:34-38
- He demonstrates future glory 9:1-13
- Jesus demonstrates the power of prayer 9:14-29
- Jesus prepares his disciples for His death 9:30-32
- He teaches humility 9:33-37
- He teaches openness 9:38-41
- He teaches non-offense 9:42-50
III. The Jerusalem Events 10-16
- On the Way 10
- He was tested on divorce 10:1-12
- He blessed the children 10:13-16
- He counsels the rich young ruler 10:17-22
- He gives great promise for those who follow 10:23-31
- He again teaches on His death 10:32-33
- He again teaches on humility 10:35-45
- He teaches on compassion 10:46-52
- Opposition at Jerusalem 11-12
- Triumphant Entry 11:1-11
- The barren Israelites 11:12-24
- Be Forgiving 11:25-26
- His Authority is questioned 11:27-33
- The wicked keepers of Israel 12:1-12
- The question on taxes 12:13-17
- The question on the resurrection 12:18-27
- The question on the law 12:28-34
- He questions them on Himself 12:35-37
- He warns about pretense 12:38-40
- He teaches giving 12:41-44
- Teachings on the End Events 13
- The Last Days 14-16
- The plot 14:1-2
- The preparation for burial 14:3-9
- The opportunity 14:10-11
- The Passover 14:12-14
- Prediction of Peter’s denial 14:27-31
- Gethsemane 14:32-42
- The Betrayal 14:43-52
- Trial Before the Jews 14:53-65
- Peter’s Denial 14:66-72
- Before Pilate 15:1-15
- He is mocked 15:16-20
- On the cross 15:21-41
- His burial 15:42-47
- His resurrection 16:1-13
- His commission 16:14-18
IV. Closing Comments 16:19-20
Key Idea: Jesus is from God
Key Passage: 10:45
Key Lesson: Christ has demonstrated His authenticity, we must believe.