Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 11

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Mark 8:

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider

1. In verses 1-10, what need of the people had Jesus already met (2), and what need was He about to meet (1-3)? How does this passage demonstrate that God cares about and provides for both our material and spiritual needs? How does this passage mesh with, and provide a real life example of the truth of Matthew 6:25-33? Considering verse 4, why do you think none of the disciples seemed to remember Jesus feeding the 5000 and asked Him to provide in the same way? How could this incident have instilled greater trust and dependence on Christ in the disciples and the crowd?

2. Examine verses 11-13. Compare and contrast the crowd’s satisfaction (8) with the dissatisfaction of the Pharisees. How would you apply the following words to the crowd versus the Pharisees as they related to and interacted with Jesus: enough/not enough, content/discontent, not demanding/demanding, humble/proud? What was Jesus’ response to the Pharisees?

3. Jesus’ teaching, compassion, provision, healing, and miracles were sufficient in God’s eyes to provide for the spiritual needs of all people and to fulfill God’s purposes, yet the Pharisees judged God’s ways not to be enough to satisfy them and demanded signs and miracles that were above and beyond God’s ways. Compare the Pharisees and their demands with “churches” today who are not satisfied with God’s sufficient written Word and ways, and demand things like hearing God’s voice, ecstatic utterances (“speaking in tongues”), faith healing, fortune telling-esque “prophecies,” miracles, etc.

4. Read verses 14-21 in light of the miracle the disciples had just witnessed in verses 1-10, the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees in verses 11-13, and the fact that the disciples had forgotten to bring bread (14,16). Notice how Jesus uses a metaphorical interplay between “bread” (1-10, 14,16) and “leaven” (15). What does this passage teach us about rightly handling God’s word? How did the disciples mess up by taking Jesus’ words literally instead of metaphorically, as He meant them? Compare Jesus’ use of metaphor here to “He said this plainly” in verse 32. What did Jesus’ warning in verse 15 mean? Re-read question 3 above. What teaching(s) of the Pharisees was Jesus warning against?

5. Compare the healing of the blind man in verses 22-26 to healings we’ve seen in previous lessons. How did the man get to Jesus, and who interceded for him? (22) Why did Jesus take him out of the village before healing him (23) and instruct him not to return afterwards (26)? What method did Jesus use for healing the man? (23-25)

6. Examine verses 27-38. Think about what John the Baptist, Elijah, and the Old Testament prophets preached and the miracles they (Elijah and the prophets) performed. Considering what the people had seen Jesus do and heard Him preach, why would they more readily have compared Jesus to John and the prophets than recognizing Him as the Messiah (hint: think about the kind of messiah they were expecting)?

7. Most of Israel, including at least some of the disciples, expected a Messiah like David- one who would free them from Roman tyranny, reestablish Israel as an independent nation, and reign as a literal, political king. Compare Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Messiah (29) with his rebuke of Jesus (32) for saying that He would be crucified. What kind of Messiah do you think Peter was expecting? Why would Peter have been surprised or confused when Jesus said He would suffer, be rejected, and be killed? (31-32)

8. What is the significance of Jesus “turning and seeing His disciples” in verse 33? Compare Jesus’ rebuke of Peter (33) to Jesus’ rebuke (12) and warning (15) about the Pharisees. In what ways were they each believing and spreading “leaven” (false doctrine)? How were each setting their minds on the things of man instead of the things of God? (33)

9. Imagine you’re one of the disciples listening to what Jesus is saying in verses 31-38. What might you be thinking as Jesus dispels the idea that He will reign over Israel as an earthly king (and that you might have a significant position in His court), and teaches the exact opposite: that He will be humiliated, rejected, and murdered, and that the same is in store for His followers? Consider your own service to Christ- do you serve Him hoping for glory and high position, or do you embrace anonymity, suffering, persecution, and humiliation?


Take some time to examine the Open Doors web site. What might Jesus’ words in 34-38 mean to a Christian in North Korea, Somalia, or Afghanistan compared to a Christian in the United States?

Intercede for a different prayer request each day this week, and donate if you’re able.

Suggested Memory Verse

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 
Mark 8:34-35

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 10

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Mark 7:

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem,they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider

1. Examine verses 2-5. What was the basis for the scribes’ and Pharisees’ criticism of the disciples’ unwashed hands? Hygiene, or another issue? Who is the audience for the book of Mark (hint: scroll back up to the title picture if you can’t remember)? Why would it have been important for Mark to include the parenthetical explanation of verses 3-4 for his audience? According to verse 3, who originated the hand washing rule- Scripture?

2. How many times is the word “tradition(s)” used in verses 1-13? Is Jesus saying all traditions are bad, even traditions at church? Summarize Jesus’ main point (6-9) in your own words. Have you ever observed a church placing a particular tradition ahead of God’s word? How would this passage have applied to that situation?

3. Have you ever been called a “Pharisee” or “legalistic” for standing for the truth of, and obedience to, Scripture? Verses 1-13 crystallize Jesus’ main point of contention with the Pharisees. Was He accusing them of holding too closely to Scripture and insisting God’s word be obeyed? What was He rebuking them for? Is it accurate to call someone who stands firmly on God’s word a Pharisee? What about someone who creates his own man-made doctrine, opinions, or beliefs and holds them in higher regard than God’s written Word? (7) What does it look like today for a person or a church to honor God with their lips, but their heart is far from Him? (6)

4. At the end of verse 13, Jesus says, “And many such things you do.” What are some other traditions of the Pharisees we’ve seen in previous lessons that they held above God’s word? Why is it so important to Jesus that we obey His written Word rather than doctrines created by men?

5. Read verse 15 through the lens of a first century Jew. Think about all the dietary laws and all the things they could not touch or come in contact with because they would be made unclean. List any of those commands you can remember. Is it any wonder the disciples were confused? How might this have been an easier teaching for Mark’s Gentile audience to understand and accept?

6. If you’ve ever discussed the issue of homosexuality with an unbeliever, he might have accused you of “picking and choosing” which Scriptures to obey by pointing out that you don’t obey Old Testament prohibitions against eating pork or shellfish. How do verses 14-22 counter this argument?

7. Why would Jesus not have wanted anyone to know where He was staying? (24) Put yourself in the shoes of a first century Gentile and read verses 25-30. Compare Jesus’ compassion toward an unclean Gentile “dog under the table” with the impossibly high expectations of “holiness” (which even the best Jew couldn’t completely meet) demanded by the scribes and Pharisees in verses 1-13 and in earlier chapters. How would Jesus’ grace and mercy toward the Syrophonician woman and her daughter have demonstrated “God’s good news to the Gentiles”?

8. What did Jesus and the woman mean by their respective words in verses 27-28? Who are “the children“? Who is the “bread“? Who are the “dogs“? Think back through Old Testament history, the covenants, and the promises and prophecies of the Messiah. Why was it appropriate and necessary that Jesus’ earthly ministry was almost exclusively to the Jews rather than the Gentiles?

9. Examine verses 31-37. Scripture doesn’t specify exactly, but who do you think the “they” was in verse 32? Think back over the individuals in Mark who have come to Jesus for healing or exorcism. How did they get to Jesus? Sometimes the afflicted person approached Jesus individually, but in 25-26 and 32, whom do we see interceding on the afflicted person’s behalf?

10. Compare the method Jesus used to heal the Syrophonician woman’s daughter (29-30) with His method of healing the deaf man (33-34). Why did Jesus use different methods for healing different people?

11. “The region of the Decapolis” (31) was Gentile territory, meaning that the deaf man was almost certainly a Gentile. Considering what Jesus explained to the Syrophonician woman in verse 27- why would Jesus have charged the deaf man and his friends not to spread the word about his healing throughout Gentile territory? (36) And why would they have been so disobedient to Him? (36-37)

12. Think about the authority Jesus has, as God. What are the different aspects of His authority demonstrated by: verses 1-13, 14-23, 24-30, and 31-37? How does this chapter showcase law (1-23) versus grace (24-37)? Compare the way Jesus sternly rebuked the scribes and Pharisees, the “teachers of Israel” who were supposed to know God’s word, teach it correctly, and model it for God’s people, with the compassion and mercy He showed the two clueless Gentiles in this passage. Is it appropriate to sternly rebuke “Christian” leaders and “teachers” of the church who are supposed to know God’s word, teach it correctly, and model it for God’s people, yet disobey Scripture and teach their own man-made doctrines instead?


In this chapter, we saw a mother intercede with Jesus on behalf of her child, and friends or relatives who interceded with Jesus on behalf of the deaf man. Skim back over chapters 1-6 and jot down all the instances in which a parent, friend, or loved ones brought someone to Jesus. Why did these people bring their loved ones to Jesus?

Do you need to intercede with Jesus on behalf of an unsaved loved one? Why do you want that person to come to Jesus? Write down that person’s name and commit to pray for her salvation every day this week.

Suggested Memory Verse

There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.
Mark 7:15

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 9

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Mark 6:30-56:

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider

1. Since this is the second half of chapter 6, you may wish to review lesson 8 (link above), which covered the first half of chapter 6. Notice again Mark’s use of the word “immediately.” How many times does he use this word in chapter 6? Recall how “immediately” gives a sense of urgency to Jesus’ message and mission.

2. In Mark 6:7-13, we saw Jesus send the disciples out two by two on history’s first mission trip. What is happening with regard to that mission trip in verses 30-32? What, according to verses 12-13, would the disciples have reported back to Jesus that “they had done and taught”? (30) Why was it important for the disciples to get some rest? (31) Why is it important today that we help guard our pastors’ down time so they can be well rested?

3. Re-read verses 30-44, noting the imagery of Jesus as the Good Shepherd – of both the crowd and the disciples – and the disciples as under shepherds (pastors) of the people. How does Jesus shepherd – provide for, teach, etc. – the disciples in this passage? In what ways does He shepherd of the entire crowd of people (compare 39 to Psalm 23:1-2a, and 34 to Psalm 23:3 for a couple of nifty examples)? How do the disciples foreshadow the New Testament pastors they will become (and the ones to follow them) in these verses? Could Jesus separating the crowd into groups of hundreds and fifities (40) with different disciples serving each group point ahead to the multiplicity of New Testament local churches, each with its own under shepherd?

4. Examine verse 34. Why did Jesus feel compassion for the people? What were they needing that they weren’t getting from their current “shepherds” (the scribes, Pharisees, and teachers)? What did He do for the people? Considering what Jesus did for them, did He think their greatest need was for health, wealth, a better political situation, a stronger economy, entertainment, or self-esteem? What did Jesus think was their greatest need? As followers of Christ, is our greatest need the same?

5. In verses 33-44, why were the people hungry? What had Jesus been doing for the hours the crowd had been with Him? (34) Perhaps some had come for a miracle (as was the case with many who sought Jesus out), but those who stayed so late, stayed for what? (34) Examine this passage in light of Matthew 5:6 and James 2:15-16. In what two ways were the people hungry, and in what two ways did Jesus fill them?

6. What might Jesus have been trying to teach the disciples – His under shepherds – about feeding His sheep (pastoring) in verses 35-42? Did Jesus know they wouldn’t be able to physically feed the crowd with what little they had? (37) How did Jesus demonstrate to the disciples how much they lacked in and of themselves to provide for the flock, and how they needed to depend completely on Him to be the Bread of Life to the sheep they were tending? (37-38) Do you notice in these verses that the disciples (under shepherds/pastors) did not make or provide the food? They merely served the people what Christ had given them. What does this tell you about the job of a pastor today? Is he to create his own food (extra-biblical doctrine) and feed it to the people, or is he merely to serve the people what Christ has given him (rightly handled Scripture)?

7. If even Jesus needed alone time to pray, what does that tell us about our need for prayer? (46)

8. What do the stories of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (33-44) and walking on the water (45-52) tell us, as well as Mark’s original Gentile audience, about Jesus’ deity and His role as Creator? Why did the disciples not already understand these things from Jesus creating food out of thin air? (52) How did Jesus’ actions on the sea demonstrate that the disciples (and we) could trust Him and put their faith in Him to care for them?

9. Which aspect of Jesus’ character is showcased when he heals people in Scripture? (53-56)

10. What three miracles take place in 30-56, and what is a central truth that can be gleaned from each? The first half of chapter 6 has a theme of rejection of Christ and His message running through it. Do you sense that same theme running through this second half of the chapter? Why or why not?


In verses 30-32, we see what a huge job it was for the disciples to both preach the gospel and return to the “office” and handle regular “church business”. And there were twelve of them, plus Jesus!

Is your pastor getting enough down time to be well rested? To be the husband and father he needs to be? Most pastors work 50-60 hours per week, and they are on call 24/7 for emergencies like deaths in the church family or the security alarm going off at church after hours.

Is there any way you and members of your church could do something to lighten his load? In small churches pastors often must take care of tasks such as typing up the bulletin or cleaning the bathrooms that could easily be taken care of by a church member. Or perhaps you could give your pastor and his wife a gift card to their favorite restaurant and offer to keep their children one evening so they could have a date night. Maybe the personnel committee could offer your pastor an extra week of vacation. Contact your pastor this week and find out what would be most helpful to him – then do it with joy!

Suggested Memory Verse

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
Mark 6:34

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 8

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Mark 6:1-29:

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider

1. What are the three major sections this first half of Mark 6 can be divided into? What is the general theme of this passage and how do each of the three sections teach it?

2. Verse 1 says, “He went away from there…”. Where did Jesus go away from (see Mark 5)? Which town was Jesus’ “hometown“? (1)

3. Compare and contrast verses 2-3 with Mark 1:21-22,27-28. What are the similarities and differences between the questions and statements the people made? How were their reactions to Jesus different, even though both groups were “astonished” at His teaching? Having known Jesus from childhood, as well as His humble family, why would the Nazarenes have been offended by Him now? (3) What did Jesus mean in verse 4? Which three groups of people does He say a prophet is without honor among? How did most of Nazareth being offended at Jesus affect His ability to do miracles there? (5) Does verse 5 mean Jesus’ supernatural ability to heal was suspended or that the people shunned Him and would not listen to Him or ask for healing?

4. Examine verse 6 in light of Matthew 7:6. Why did Jesus leave Nazareth and go to other villages to teach?

5. Read verses 7-13. Why do you think Jesus sent the disciples out two by two when they could have reached twice as many villages if He had sent them out one by one? (7) Compare Jesus’ two by two policy to the need in ministry today for accountability, encouragement, collaboration, sharing the workload, etc.

6. Why did Jesus instruct the disciples to travel with minimal luggage and supplies? (8-9) How does this point ahead to the New Testament church era and the practice of congregations supplying their pastors’ material needs? In Jesus’ time, it was customary, almost required by decent society, to invite traveling strangers into one’s home and show them hospitality. How would this hospitality, and providing for the needs of the disciples (or refusing to), have been an indicator of whether or not a town would receive the disciples? (8-11)

7. What were the two ministry activities the disciples were to engage in? (12-13) Which one was the primary objective? (12) How does the word “listen” (11) and the message they proclaimed (12) help us understand that the disciples’ main mission was to preach the gospel and that the miracles they performed were to identify them with Jesus, credentialize them as being authorized by Him, and authenticate the message they preached?

8. Notice the chronology of verses 14-29. Which events happened first, those in verses 14-16, or those in verses 17-29? Could verses 17-29 be characterized as “back story”? From what you know about John the Baptist’s preaching, Elijah’s miracles, and the Old Testament prophets, can you see why Herod and the people compared Jesus to them? (14-16) Why do you think Herod opted for a resurrected John the Baptist? (16) What was the central theme of both John’s and Jesus’ message? Which would have been more convicting to Herod, more preaching like John’s, miracles, or prophecy? (18, 20) What can we learn about Herod’s spiritual state from verses 20, 26-27?

9. What are some things we can learn about godly marriage and parenting from Herod’s and Herodias’ ungodly example? Compare verses 17-28 with these Scriptures.

10. In Mark 6:1-29, we see that Nazareth rejected Jesus, that presumably, some of the villages the disciples went to rejected them and their message of repentance, and that, ultimately, Herod rejected John’s (and by extension, Jesus’) message of repentance. Why is the gospel so offensive (3) and rejected by so many – then and now? Why don’t people want to repent and trust Christ as Savior?


Today’s passage is a study in the rejection of the gospel. Have you ever been rejected by family, lifelong friends, strangers, church members, or someone in authority over you, for sharing the gospel and calling them to repent? Write a brief paragraph examining why people reject the gospel and commit to pray over the next week for the person who rejected you for sharing it.

Suggested Memory Verse

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
John 6:34

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 7

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Mark 5:

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lesson 6 (link above). Whereas Mark 4 was largely made up of parables, which aspect of Jesus’ ministry does Mark 5 showcase? If you were to outline this chapter, what the are three major natural divisions you could make?

2. Describe, as much as possible, the “lead characters” in each of the healing miracles in Mark 5: the demon possessed man, Jairus, and the woman with the issue of blood. Compare and contrast their stations in life and how Jewish society might have viewed each person: ceremonially clean or unclean, man or woman, high society or dregs of society, wealthy or poor, much faith or no faith, deserving of a miracle or undeserving? Did Jesus make these same distinctions among people?

3. What was the one thing all three of these people had in common (notice the words “begged”, “implored”, etc. throughout the chapter)? What is the one thing all people have in common today? How does Jesus not showing partiality in this chapter reflect that God does not show partiality with regard to sin and salvation? Why would this have been an important principle of the gospel for both Jews and Mark’s Gentile audience to grasp and embrace?

4. Examine the story of the demoniac (1-20). List the things the demons did to the man and the effects they had on his body and his behavior. (3-5,7,15) What does this tell us about the power of Satan? What do verses 6,7,10,12,13, and the words “adjure” (beg or implore), “begged” and “permission” tell us about Jesus’ authority over demons? Are the demons aware of Jesus’ authority over them? Why were the people “afraid” (15) and begged Jesus to leave (17)? They had seen the power Satan had over the man. What did it tell them about the power, authority, and deity of Jesus when He was able to cast the demons out in such a remarkable (13) way? What would Christ’s love and compassion for someone the Jews would have considered cursed and irreparably unclean have said to the Gentiles (whom the Jews viewed similarly) about His love and compassion for them? Compare the impact for Christ the man was able to have on his community (19-20) versus the impact he would have had on them had Jesus allowed him to accompany Him.

5. Review your descriptions (from #2) of Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood. What impact might it have made on those following Jesus to see that He would stop and care for a mere woman – an unclean one at that – when the daughter of an important man – a synagogue official – was on the verge of death?

6. Why did Jesus ask who had touched Him? (30) Was it because He didn’t know or was it to give the woman an opportunity to confess her faith in Him? (30-34)

7. Did the news of the death of Jairus’ daughter come before or after Jesus healed the woman? (35) Which was more urgent, the woman’s illness or the daughter’s impending death? Why didn’t Jesus make the woman wait and deal with her after healing Jairus’ daughter? Compare the raising of Jairus’ daughter to the raising of Lazarus. What similarities or differences do you see in the circumstances, sequence of events, the impact on witnesses, and the consequences?

8. Both the demoniac (20) and the woman with the issue of blood (33) publicly proclaimed what Christ had done for them. Why did Jesus tell Jairus (43) not to tell about Jesus healing his daughter? (21,24,31) (Hint: Consider where {1,20} the healings took place and whether they were public {14,16,17/21,24,30,31} or private {37,40} events.) Are there times when we should keep private something God has done in our lives?

9. The story of the demoniac demonstrates Jesus’ power over _____. The story of the woman with the issue of blood demonstrates Jesus’ power over _____. The story of Jairus’ daughter demonstrates Jesus’ power over_____. How does Jesus’ demonstration of power in these three areas help make the case for His deity and Messiahship? How do these displays of His power and authority bolster or give credibility to His teaching?


In verse 19, Jesus told the former demoniac, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 

We often make small talk or discuss trivial things with our friends. This week, look for an opportunity to share what Christ has done for you with your friends. Maybe there’s a lost friend you need to share the gospel and “how He has had mercy on you” with. When you meet with Christian friends, be sure to encourage one another by sharing “how much the Lord has done for you” – what you’re learning as you study His word, things you’re thankful to Him for, how He has provided or worked in a situation, and so on.

Suggested Memory Verse

And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Mark 5:19