Summary: An introduction to the gospel of Mark. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Marks Gospel – An introduction

Reading: Mark chapter 1 verse 1:


• Sometimes newspaper editors state the obvious:

• ‘If strike isn’t settled quickly it may last a while’.

• ‘War dims hope for peace’

• ‘Cold wave linked to temperatures’

• ‘Child’s death ruins couple’s holiday’

• ‘Blind woman gets new kidney from dad she hasn’t seen in years’

• ‘Man is fatally slain’

• ‘Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say’

• Grammar often botches other headlines:

• ‘Miners refuse to work after death’

• ‘Milk drinkers are turning to powder’

• ‘Quarter of a million Chinese live on water’

• ‘Stiff opposition expected to casket-less funeral plan’

• ‘Iraqi head seeks arms’


If you were top compare Mark’s gospel to a UK newspaper:

• I would suggest it would be the Daily Mirror.

• Because it contains bold headlines, brief articles, simple language,

• If you want The Daily Telegraph with a conservative slant;

• Then turn to Matthew’s gospel.

• If you prefer The Guardian with its concern for the poor and underprivileged;

• Then Luke is the gospel is for you.

• If you want the reflection and analysis of The Times;

• Then John’s gospel is where to look.

• But if you want the basic story;

• Simply and convincingly told, then Mark is your gospel.

In this gospel Mark emphasizes the deeds of Jesus:

• He presents Jesus as a man and servant of action.

• ‘Jesus spoke and it was done’.

• Forty-two times Mark used a Greek adverb (‘euthus’);

• Which In English is often translated as ‘immediately’, ‘at once’, and ‘straightway’.

• Mark wrote his gospel for readers who were impressed with;

• Power, action and simplicity.



• Mark rarely quotes from the Old Testament;

• In fact he only does it once in chapter 1 verses 2-3.

• This indicates Mark did not write his gospel for Jewish Christians;

• Who were familiar with the Old Testament, i.e. as Matthew did.

• Rather, he wrote his gospel for Gentile readers;

• Who were not familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures.


• Mark explained Jewish customs for his readers,

• Which they otherwise would not have understood,

• e.g. Such as Jewish ceremonial washing (Mark chapter 7 verses 3-4)

• e.g. What was the preparation day (Mark chapter 15 verse 42).

• This, too, indicates Mark wrote his gospel for Gentile readers.


• Throughout his gospel Mark translated Jewish Aramaic terms for his readers;

• (cf. Mark 3:17; 5:41; 7:11 & 34; 14:36; 15:22).

• This is more evidence that Mark wrote for Gentile readers.

• Mark also employed Latinisms in his gospel,

• That is, he used Latin words his readers;

• Instead of their Greek equivalents.

• This indicates Mark wrote his gospel for Christians in Rome and Italy.

• Mark's gospel is the simplest and shortest account of all the gospels.

• It is a straightforward account that would have suited the Roman mind.

I want to use 4 sub-headings for our thoughts this morning:

(1). Mark’s gospel?

• The word ‘gospel’ comes from Anglo-Saxon.

• It is a translation of a Greek word which means ‘good news’.

• The gospels are the nearest thing we have to a biography of Jesus;

• Covering his life, death and resurrection.

• Some people get confused by the fact we have four gospels;

• Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

• They say’ ‘Wouldn’t it have been easier just to have had one?’

• In answer - there is actually only one gospel;

• And this gospel has been recorded to us from four different perspectives.


• Imagine four witness describing the outside of this building;

• To get a complete picture, you would need four witnesses.

• One to describe the front, one to describe the back, two to describe the two sides;

• Jesus is the most character who ever lived; No one writer could ever capture him.

• So to help us understand God chose four writers to record the life of his son.


Car accident.

• Four witness are better than one.

• They will notice different things.

• Colour of car, another the speed it was going, someone else the whether conditions.

• The more witnesses the more complete picture you get of what happened.


Think of how our media records a sporting event:

• There are three main ways.

• Television. Radio. Newspapers.

• All three medias report the same event;

• But they all do it in a unique way because they are conciseness of their audiences.

• The different audiences have different needs.

• e.g. T.V:

• You have very little commentary;

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