How to Study the Gospel of Mark

How to Study the Gospel of Mark
How to Study the Gospel of Mark

How to Study the Gospel of Mark


The Bible provides an incredible depiction of Jesus through four unique Gospels.  The Gospel of Mark emphasizes the need to follow Jesus immediately.  In order to study this book, let’s address the differences between the four Gospels and the unique nature of Mark’s Gospel.


Why Are there 4 Different Gospels?

  1. The Gospels are 4 different perspectives focusing on 1 person – Jesus.
  2. The Gospels are intended for 4 uniquely, targeted audiences.
  3. Each Gospel is a sufficient portrayal of Jesus by itself but when aligned with the others, they provide a more thorough depiction of Jesus’ message and ministry.


  1. Matthew
    • Intention – Presents Jesus as Israel’s Messiah
    • Primary Audience – Jews
    • Author’s Source – First-hand witness as one of the Twelve
    • Occupation – Tax collector
    • Date – 50s-60s
    • Author’s Perspective – Matt. 9:9-13; 10:1-4
  2. Mark
    • Intention – Emphasizes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God
    • Primary Audience – Roman Empire
    • Author’s Source – Disciple of Jesus (not one of the Twelve); got most of his information as a colleague of Peter
    • Occupation – ?
    • Date – 50s-60s
    • Author’s Perspective – Mark 14:51-52; 66-72 (cf. John 18:15-18, 25-27)
  3. Luke
    • Intention – Written to a Gentile man named Theophilus as a presentation of a careful investigation of all the facts about Christ
    • Primary Audience – Gentiles
    • Author’s Source – Colleague of Paul; interviewed many sources
    • Occupation – Physician
    • Date – Early 60s
    • Author’s Perspective – Luke 1:1-4; 2:19
  4. John
    • Intention – Attempts to persuade theologically for people to believe in Jesus
    • Primary Audience – Non-Christians (John calls for a response)
    • Author’s Source – First-hand witness as one of the Twelve and inner Three
    • Occupation – Fisherman
    • Date – Around A.D. 85
    • Author’s Perspective – John 14:23-25; 18:15-16; 19:26-27; 35; 20:2-9; 30-31; 21:20-25

what is unique about mark’s perspective?

  1. Mark’s Identity – Follower of Jesus
    1. Disciple of Jesus – He wasn’t included as one of the original twelve, but he is a part of the few hundred disciples at large (Mark 14:51-52).
    2. Scribe of Peter – Most of Mark’s insider information on the life of Jesus is believed to have come from Peter.
    3. Cousin of Barnabas – Barnabas was an early church leader and missionary (Acts 4:36; Acts 14:14).  Mark was his cousin and got to journey with him on many missionary trips (Col. 4:10; Acts 15:39).
    4. Companion of Paul – Even though Paul grew weary of Mark’s wishy-washiness (Acts 15:38), he later was a comfort to him and a helpful resource in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:11).
    5. Picture of Us – In Jesus’ ministry, when the times got tough, Mark got going.  In Paul’s ministry, when the times got tough, Mark got going.  Mark wasn’t perfect.  And so his perspective into the life of the only perfect person who sought out imperfect people is amazing to read.
  2. Mark’s Audience – Roman Empire
    1. The Romans needed to understand that Jesus was the Son of God (Mark 1:1).
    2. The Pharisees are confused regarding Jesus’ identity (Mark 2:7).
    3. The disciples are unsure regarding Jesus’ identity (Mark 4:41).
    4. The demons were confident regarding Jesus’ identity (Mark 1:24; Mark 1:34; Mark 5:7).
    5. A Roman is the first person to realize that Jesus was the Son of God (Mark 15:39).
  3. Mark’s Focus – Major Themes
    1. Christology – Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
    2. Discipleship – Jesus is worthy of following immediately.
  4. Mark’s Outline – Major Sections
    1. Act 1 – The Ministry in Galilee (Mark 1:1-8:21)
    2. Act 2 – The Journey to Jerusalem (Mark 8:22-10:52)
    3. Act 3 – The Passion in Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-16:20)