ESV - 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
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THE BOOK OF MARK Date and Place: between A.D. 57-63. The place is unknown. Author: John Mark. (Acts 12:12; 1Pet. 5:13) John Mark the author of the gospel of Mark. He was nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:10) and a disciple of Jesus (Acts 12:12). Paul and Barnabas took him on the first missionary journey but he got homesick and left the party (Acts 12:25; 13:5,13). Paul and Barnabas separated over Mark when they started on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:33-39). He was a convert of Peter (1Pet. 5:13). He later worked with Paul (Col. 4:10-11 2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24). Theme: Jesus Christ as Jehovah's Servant (Isa. 42:1-21; 50:4-11 Isa. 52:13--Isa. 53:12; Zech. 3:8; Mk. 10:45; Php. 2:5-8). The servant character is seen throughout the book. There is no genealogy of Christ, for who gives a genealogy of a servant? It is a gospel of deeds and works rather then words. It was given by divine inspiration, such as Luke and Paul received from God (Lk. 1:3 Gal. 1:12-16; 2:2), and not from human sources as alleged by some. Details of Christ's fatigue (Mk. 4:38; 11:12; 14:36); sympathies (Mk. 6:34; 8:2); love (Mk. 10:21); composure (Mk. 4:38-40; 15:5); solitude (Mk. 1:35; 6:3-32); wonder (Mk. 6:6); grief (Mk. 3:5); sighing (Mk. 7:34; 8:12); anger (Mk. 3:5; 10:14); and other facts (Mk. 1:35; 3:7; 4:1,38; 6:7,40; 12:41; 13:3; 15:39; etc.) emphasize the Servant idea of the book.
The book of Mark is placed as the second book in the four canonical Gospels (authoritative collection of books). It is widely considered to be the first Gospel written, and is part of the three synoptic Gospels--Matthew, Mark and Luke (containing many of the same stories). Once thought to have been written by Mark the evangelist who often accompanied Peter, nowadays scholars tend to think the book of Mark was written by an unknown writer, who drew from various sources. In recent decades, the book of Mark has undergone a new fascination with both scholars and bible students. In earlier times it was considered to be less important than Matthew--as an example--simply a restatement or even an abridged version of that Gospel placed at the beginning of the New Testament. Traditionally placed second, even fourth in the Christian canon, and deemed inferior to the "most important gospel, Matthew," Mark was given less consideration by many. Thus, traditionally the church ascribed its attitude and basic viewpoint of Jesus mostly on the revelations from Matthew, then next from John, and finally, bringing up the rear in official church regard, the book of Mark. Things have changed, though. Only in the 19th century has it been realized that Mark was undoubtedly the earliest of the four gospels, and was in fact a source for both Matthew and Luke. The theory of Markan priority (that Mark was written first) is now considered by the majority of bible scholars today, and that understanding has allowed us to recognize the book of Mark to be a supreme and equal Gospel that conveys a full-fledged conception of Jesus as the authoritative yet suffering Son of God.
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