Bible Study Notes

      

 

This meeting is primarily for the christians who are connected with the assembly at St. Paul's Road.  The first part of the meeting is devoted to prayers, then the remainder of the meeting to Bible teaching for believers. If visitors would like to sit in and listen they will be made welcome amongst us.

Presently we are studying the Gospel of Mark. Usually, some recall notes are available at the meeting.

Here is a sample from the notes of the Wednesday Evening Bible study:

An Introduction to Mark’s Gospel

  • Authorship
  • The intended recipients
  • Time of writing
  • Its major theme
  • Characteristics
  • Brief outline

     

    Authorship

     

    Mark’s name is not found in the text of the Gospel, but there is general agreement among Biblical scholars that Mark (or John Mark as he known in the Acts and the epistles) is the author. This is based on the testimony of the early church being unanimous that Mark composed his Gospel under the eye and direction of Peter. In conformity with this view we find passages in Mark’s Gospel where Peter is specially mentioned where he is omitted by the other Gospel writers. (1:36, 11:21, 13:3, and 14:7), whereas mentions of Peter in the other Gospels which single him out for special honour are absent from Mark’s account, no doubt on Peter’s instructions. (Let another man praise thee and not thyself)

     

    That to the keen memory of the apostle Peter recalling scenes in which he had often borne a prominent part, and of which he was an eye witness, we owe the graphic colouring, the picturesque touches, the minuteness of detail, which his “interpreter” reverently preserved, and faithfully enshrined in the pages of his Gospel.

     

    The Spirit of God used John Mark: a man who was himself a servant (Acts 13:5, 2Tim 4:11) rather than an apostle or preacher to portray the Lord Jesus as the Servant of the Lord.

     

    The intended recipients

     

    The traditional view is that Mark had a gentile readership in mind, because:

     

  • All references to Jewish Law are omitted, and apart from those in the opening verses from Malachi and Isaiah, and in 15:28, there are no direct quotations from the Old Testament.

     

  • Aramaic words are explained which would not be understood by gentile readers: Boanerges, Talitha Cumi, Corban, Bartimaeus, Abba, and Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthanai.

     

  • Jewish usages and other points are also carefully explained:  Their customs of hand washing, the Mount of Olives being located over against the temple, that the Passover was killed on the first day of unleavened bread and that the preparation was the day before the Sabbath.

     

  • Mark uses Latin terms relating to soldiers and money which are absent from the other Gospels.

     

    According to the early church fathers Mark wrote his Gospel from Rome for the Christians there and the character of his writings would certainly support this.

     

    Time of writing

     

    It is generally accepted that the time of writing must have been between AD 50 and AD 68 and it is considered that Mark’s record was the first of the four Gospels to be written. Thus it is one of the earliest books of the New Testament.

    2.

     

    Its major theme

     

    Behold your King.       (John 19:14).     Matthew’s Gospel

    Behold My Servant.  (Isaiah 42:1).    Mark’s Gospel

    Behold the Man.         (John 19:5).       Luke’s Gospel

    Behold your God.       (Isaiah 40:9)       John’s Gospel

     

Key verse:

 

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  (Mark 10:45)

 

Mark’s account differs from the other three in a number of important ways:

 

No genealogy of the Lord is recorded. It is not Mark’s design to present the Lord to us as the Son of David and Abraham as Matthew does for Jewish readers to whom genealogies were important. Rather, Mark focusses on the Lord as the incarnate and wonder-working Son of God, living and acting amongst men, to portray Him in the fullness of His living energy. The emphasis is on doing rather than teaching.

 

Parables and discourses are few in Mark, whereas they abound in the other Gospels; he concentrates on the actions of the Lord. Peter encapsulated Mark’s viewpoint when he preached to Cornelius in Acts 10:38:

 

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

 

The action is rapid moving in Mark: the word immediately is used 41 times. The conjunction and is also very frequent indeed; we have hardly a pause for breath in Mark! So very many verses are joined up.  The Servant character of the Lord portrayed here shows Him to be a very busy man. Someone once wrote:

 

I read in a book where a man called Christ went about doing good.

It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just  going about.

 

Characteristics

 

One of the outstanding features of Mark is the way the Lord uses His hands in the healings.

 

  • And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up. (1:31)
  • And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him. (1:41)
  • And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi. (5:41)
  • And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech. and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. (7:32)
  • After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up. (8:25)

 

Mark helps us to hear the actual voice of the perfect Servant. He alone records the actual Aramaic words of the Saviour, before he translates them into Greek.

 

 

 

3.

 

Promptitude is everywhere in this Gospel. The Lord was always:

 

  1. Ready
  2. Willing
  3. On time.

     

    Three things for those of us who profess to follow Him to surely test ourselves about.

     

    We so often get descriptive details in Mark that are missing in the other Evangelists. For instance the movement of the Lord’s eyes are often noted.

     

  • And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts. (3:5)
  • Then Jesus beholding him loved him. (10:21)
  • And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things. (11:11)

     

    In Mark’s Gospel we see the Lord’s mastery over the elements, disease, demons and death.

     

    Mark does not merely chronicle each incident, but surrounds them with all the circumstances that made them impressive to the bystanders, and thus constrains us to feel how deep the impression made was.

     

    For those who seek to serve the Lord Jesus He is the pattern of service which is acceptable to God. Mark’s Gospel reveals His:

     

  • Tenderness
  • Love
  • Faithfulness
  • Devotion
  • Courage
  • Dependence
  • Determination
  • Wisdom
  • Unostenatiousness.

     

    Brief outline

     

  • Preparation.                 Chapter 1:1-13

     

  • Galilean area ministry. Chapter1:14 to 9:50

     

  • Going to Jerusalem.     Chapter 10:1-52

     

  • Jerusalem.                    Chapters 11-13

     

  • Submission to death.    Chapters 14-15

     

  • Rising and ascending.  Chapter 16

     

    Helps used:

     

    St. Mark. Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges 1885.

    What the Bible Teaches. Mark. Published by John Ritchie.

    Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee.

 


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