This Gospel is usually titled, "The Gospel According to Mark." "...According to Mark" is an especially important distinction. Mark writes from a unique point of view that arises out of his and his congregation's experience in the early days of the Jesus movement. The other Gospel writers tell their stories from their unique perspectives as well. This distinction is often missed by those for whom the Gospels remain jumbled up in their minds. It is the major goal of this course to make each of the Gospels stand out as the unique and purposeful stories of Jesus they were intended to be.
MARK is the first of the four New Testament Gospels written, around 70 CE, although MATTHEW is the first in the New Testament. Its author is unknown, but for convenience's sake, we shall refer to the author as Mark. When referring to the Gospel, we use all caps MARK. When referring to the author, we use lowercase Mark.
Matthew and Luke each used MARK as the pattern for their Gospels. You have seen how that came about in the previous study, Unjumbling the Gospels—Backstory. MATTHEW, MARK, and LUKE are known as the Synoptic Gospels because (syn–together; optic–see) they follow the pattern Mark laid out and add their own material to his work. This is why we begin with MARK. With our knowledge of MARK, the purposes of the other Gospels become clearer.
Mark, although Jewish, is part of the diaspora (Jews living outside of Palestine) and is very much at home in the Hellenistic culture. His congregation certainly was filled with Gentiles. Many scholars see his presentation of Jesus as the Roman ideal. His Gospel is quick-paced, almost breathless in its narrative journey from Jesus' baptism to the cross.
Since Mark was not an eyewitness to the accounts he narrates, he depended on sources that are not now known. In fact, he is credited with creating the genre of Gospel, a theological exercise in biography that depends more on creating spiritual lessons than literal facts. In this way, Mark has brought us a more useful life of Jesus than an uninterpreted itinerary of his movement through Galilee and Judah.
When you are finished with this course you will be able not only to have an understanding of MARK but a foundation for engaging productively with the other Gospels. That's my goal for you.
|Module 1||Introduction to the Gospel According to Mark|
|Unit 1||How NOT to Read MARK|
|Unit 2||Video Interview with New Testament Scholar|
|Module 2||The Worldview in Mark's Gospel|
|Unit 1||The Worldview Explained|
|Module 3||Deep Dive into the Gospel|
|Unit 1||Introducing the King and the Kingdom|
|Unit 2||Jesus' Teaching Ministry in Parables and Miracles|
|Unit 3||Opposition to Jesus Begins to Form|
|Unit 4||The Journey to Jerusalem and Death|
|Unit 5||Jesus Enters Jerusalem|
|Unit 6||The Cross Looms While the Disciples Desert Jesus|
|Module 4||Major Themes in the Gospel of Mark|
|Unit 1||The Messianic Secret and The Chronic Misunderstanding of the Disciples|
|Unit 2||Suffering in Mark’s Gospel|
|Unit 3||The Cross in Mark's Gospel|
|Unit 4||Mark's View of Jesus: Who Is He?|
|Unit 5||The Ending of Mark's Gospel: It's Not as Strange as It Looks|
|Module 5||The Value of MARK for Our Day|
|Unit 1||The Value of MARK for Our Day|
|Unit 2||The Value of MARK for You|
|Unit 3||Bibliography for Going Deeper|