Gospel According to Mark
also known as: The Book of Mark
It is an apparently well-founded tradition that Mark derived his information mainly from the discourses of Peter. In his mother's house (Mary), he would have abundant opportunities of obtaining information from the other apostles and their coadjutors, yet he was “the disciple and interpreter of Peter” specially.
As to the time when it was written, the Gospel furnishes us with no definite information. Mark makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem, hence it must have been written before that event, and probably about A.D. 63.
It was intended primarily for Romans. This appears probable when it is considered that it makes no reference to the Jewish law, and that the writer takes care to interpret words which a Gentile would be likely to misunderstand, such as, “Boanerges” (3:17); “Talitha cumi” (5:41); “Corban” (7:11); “Bartimaeus” (10:46); “Abba” (14:36); “Eloi,” etc. (15:34).
Mark also uses certain Latin words not found in any of the other Gospels, as “speculator” (6:27, rendered, King James Version, “executioner;” Revised King James Version, “soldier of his guard”), “xestes” (a corruption of sextarius, rendered “pots,” 7:4, 8), “quadrans” (12:42, rendered “a farthing”), “centurion” (15:39, 44-45).
The characteristics of this Gospel are…
- the absence of the genealogy of our Lord
- whom he represents as clothed with power, the “lion of the tribe of Judah”
- Mark also records with wonderful minuteness the very words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36) as well as the position (9:35) and gestures (3:5, 34; 5:32; 9:36; 10:16) of our Lord
- He is also careful to record particulars of person (1:29, 36; 3:6, 22, etc.), number (5:13; 6:7, etc.), place (2:13; 4:1; 7:31, etc.), and time (1:35; 2:1; 4:35, etc.), which the other evangelists omit.
- The phrase “and straightway” occurs nearly 40 times in this Gospel; while in Luke's Gospel, which is much longer, it is used only 7 times, and in John only 4 times.
“The Gospel of Mark,” says Westcott, “is essentially a transcript from life. The course and issue of facts are imaged in it with the clearest outline.”
“In Mark we have no attempt to draw up a continuous narrative. His Gospel is a rapid succession of vivid pictures loosely strung together without much attempt to bind them into a whole or give the events in their natural sequence. This pictorial power is that which specially characterizes this evangelist, so that ‘if any one desires to know an evangelical fact, not only in its main features and grand results, but also in its most minute and so to speak more graphic delineation, he must betake himself to Mark’.”
The leading principle running through this Gospel may be expressed in the motto: