Basic Orientation to the Gospel
Who wrote the gospel?
The author is traditionally identified as the John Mark of Acts (Acts 12.12, 25) and the apostle Peter is traditionally understood as his main source.
When was it written?
Most (but not all scholars) believe this is probably the earliest of the four gospels. As always the actual dating is a matter of much scholarly dispute with dates ranging from the early 60s to mid 70s but most seeing it as written as sometime a few years either side of 70AD.
Introducing the Gospel – Resources
In these two videos, biblical scholar Paula Gooder introduces us to Mark’s Gospel
In 2012, Tom Wright and Big Read encouraged people to read through Mark’s Gospel for Lent. Below are some of the excellent resources produced:
In this video, American New Testament scholar Ben Witherington offers his understanding of the background to Mark’s gospel
One of the best commentaries on Mark is by William Lane. In 1998, he gave his final teaching on the gospel which is collected together here. What follows are the handout notes and the audios of his 13 talks which are each about an hour long.
Prologue (Mk 1.1-13)
Early Galilean Ministry, Part 1 (Mk 1.14-3.6)
Early Galilean Ministry, Part 2 (Mk 1.14-3.6)
Later Phases of the Galilean Ministry, Part 1 (Mk 3.7-6.13)
Later Phases of the Galilean Ministry, Part 2 (Mk 3.7-6.13)
Later Phases of the Galilean Ministry, Part 3 (Mk 3.7-6.13)
Withdrawal Beyond Galilee (Mk 6.14-8.30)
The Journey to Jerusalem (Mk 8.31-10.52)
Ministry in Jerusalem, Part 1 (Mk 11.1-13.37)
Ministry in Jerusalem, Part 2 (Mk 11.1-13.37)
The Passion Narrative (Mk 14.1-16.20)
Douglas Moo has written (2000) a short, 36 page, booklet on Understanding the Gospel of Mark
The chapter on Mark’s Gospel from The Lion and the Lamb (2012), an introduction to the New Testament by Andreas Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum and Charles L. Quarles offers a good overview of the gospel
The Introduction from James R. Edwards‘ Pillar Commentary on Mark (2002) is also online
This website has a number of helpful introductory resources including
Dr Robert Stein‘s New Testament Survey series on
The Priority of Mark (ie evidence it is the earliest gospel) (37 mins)
Dr Craig Blomberg‘s Introduction the New Testament: Gospel and Acts series on
Introduction to Mark (38 mins)
Dr Bill Mounce‘s New Testament: Its Structure, Content and Theology series on
Mark 1-5 (1 hr 16 mins)
Mark 13 (1 hr 17 mins)
Mark 14-16 (1 hr 6 mins)
This has resources on Mark by Professor Paul Berge including
On the right hand side of the page are various further resources including short commentaries on the gospel divided into 23 passages. There are also very short videos of Berge speaking about the beginning of Mark, the disciples in Mark, exorcisms, faith and fear, Messiahship, the Passion Narrative and the ending of the gospel.