Monday 11 November 2013

Introducing Mark

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We'll begin working through Mark's gospel in the next post, but first we'll take a brief look at the book's background and history.

The book - Mark's gospel was probably written in Rome (or possibly Syria or Israel) between 55 AD and 70 AD. It was written in Greek for people unfamiliar with Jewish customs, so Mark puts some effort into explanations of these when necessary. Mark's aim is to draw his readers into becoming disciples in relationship with a living Jesus.

Mark want his readers to have no doubts that Jesus was the Son of the Most High, that he cares about our well-being and the details of our lives. He is not remote or distant or uninvolved. And Mark also wants us to know that we need Jesus, that without him we are helpless [Tweet it!] and can achieve nothing of lasting value.

This gospel doesn't include any details of Jesus' birth (and the account of the resurrection may have been added later), but it focusses especially on the last week of Jesus' life which he spent in Jerusalem.

Mark's Old Testament quotes are not taken from the Hebrew text but are from the Septuagint, a Greek translation. Matthew and Luke were written later and both of them draw on information from Mark.

The author - Mark was an associate of Peter and would have heard first-hand accounts from him about the things that Jesus did and said. Some of the material in the book may have been obtained from accounts by other people.

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