Books of the Bible Study Questions: Mark

Mark, the writer of the Gospel book by the same name, used the word immediately to highlight the power behind Jesus’ many miracles and to  show the fickle excitement of the crowds who would later turn against Him. As you read this Gospel, you’ll be reminded that Jesus is God’s Son, our only Savior.

Introduction to Mark

The Gospel of Mark focuses on two things about Jesus—His mighty, decisive actions and the unbelief of the crowds. Mark often uses the word immediately to highlight the power behind Jesus’ many miracles. But he also shows us the sad story of easily excited crowds who first flock around Jesus, amazed by His words and powerful deeds. But later these crowds slip away into unbelief.

Authorship of Mark

John Mark was a youth during Jesus’ ministry. His mother’s house served as a meeting place for the early Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), and some Bible scholars believe Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His apostles in Mark’s house. They also wonder if Mark was the young man who appeared in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51–52).

Being a cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), Mark accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey, but then he abandoned the mission at Pamphylia. When Paul brought up the idea of returning to those churches, Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance and bring him along. But Paul did not think that would be a good idea. So Barnabas took Mark along to Cyprus while Paul took Silas on his second journey (Acts 15:36–40). Eventually, Mark found his way to Rome, where he met up with Peter and became his helper.

Early church historians tell us Mark composed this Gospel from his recollections of sermons he had heard Peter preach while in Rome. Around AD 130, Bishop Papias of Hierapolis wrote, “Mark, having become Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, as many as he remembered of the things said or done by the Lord. For he neither had heard the Lord nor followed Him, but at a later time, as I said, [he followed] Peter, who delivered his instructions according to the needs [of the occasion].”

Purpose of Mark

Mark wrote his Gospel to convince Roman readers of what Peter had preached to them, that Jesus is God’s Son, our only Savior.

Outline of Mark

Mark can be divided into two parts: Jesus’ public ministry and His Passion.

  1. The Public Ministry of Jesus
    • John’s Baptism (Mark 1:1–13)
    • Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and the opposition He faced there from Jewish religious leaders (1:14–3:12)
    • The crowds received Jesus with faith that often turned to unbelief (3:13–6:6).
    • Finally as He prepared to go to the cross, Jesus withdrew from His public ministry in Galilee (6:7–8:30)
  2. The Passion of Jesus
    • Jesus predicting His Passion and teaching His disciples (8:31–10:52)
    • Jesus then entered Jerusalem and confronted the religious authorities (chs. 11–13)
    • Jesus’ Passion, death, and resurrection (chs. 14–16)

Learn more about the book of Mark with these free study questions.

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Written by

Wayne Palmer

Rev. Wayne Palmer received his master of divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1992. During the next fifteen years, he served two parishes in southeast Missouri. From 2007 to 2016, he was theological editor/writer at Lutheran Hour Ministries in St. Louis. In June 2016, he became Editor, Bibles and Bible resources at Concordia Publishing House. Wayne lives in St. Louis with his wife, Pam.

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