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Welcome to our new study- Mark: God’s Good News for the Gentiles. “Tell me the story of Jesus,” Fanny Crosby wrote in her timeless hymn, and that’s just what the Gospel of Mark does. From John the Baptist’s preparing the way of the Lord to Jesus’ triumph over the grave, we’ll be examining the story of Jesus, up close and personal, over the next few months.

Let’s get started!

Introduction to the book of Mark:

Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…

Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.

Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.

What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.

What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?

What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.

When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.

So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of Mark, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.

Read the following overviews of the book of Mark, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:

Bible Introductions: Mark at Grace to You

Overview of the Book of Mark at Reformed Answers

Gospel of Mark – Bible Survey at Got Questions

1. Who wrote the book of Mark? What was his relationship to Paul? Peter? What is an amanuensis? Does this term describe Mark?

2. What is the approximate date Mark was written? About how long after Jesus’ ascension was this?

3. Who is the intended audience of the book of Mark? What evidence is there that this was the case?

4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Mark: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?

5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Mark?

6. Who are the main characters in the book of Mark? Was Mark one of the twelve apostles? Does Mark make an appearance in his own book?

7. Where do the events in the book of Mark take place? Where was Mark when he wrote this book? (Sometimes, a good Bible map like this one and this one can be helpful.) What was the political situation in this area at the time Mark was writing his gospel?

8. What else did you learn about Mark or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?