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The angle from which Mark writes primarily describes the Lord as the servant of God. The Gospel of Mark is a short, powerful and easy to understand gospel. (See also the previous section on “The Gospel According to Matthew,” under “General.”) 

Writer and origin

The author's name is Marcus. This (Latin) name means: 'Civilized'; also possible: hammer. Mark has not mentioned his name in the Gospel that bears his name. Mark was not one of the twelve apostles. In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter calls him "my son." This indicates that Mark had come to faith through Peter and was therefore his 'spiritual' son. Some believe that this Gospel description was probably written about AD 63. Possibly Mark did that from the mouth of Peter.

In addition to his Latin (nick) name, he also bore a Hebrew name: Johannes. As far as we can tell from the scriptures, Mark has had an eventful life. As mentioned, he was probably a spiritual son of Peter. We see the name Mark mentioned for the first time in connection with Peter (on his release from prison, Acts 12:12). Colossians 4:10 calls Mark a cousin of 'Barnabas'. From Jerusalem he goes with Barnabas and Paul (then still Saul) to Antioch (Acts 12:25) and afterwards also on the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. However, he separated himself from these two apostles (Acts 13:13). This would later be the cause of a bitterness between Paul and Barnabas, when the latter wanted to take his nephew again (Acts 15:38-39). Mark went to Cyprus and appears to be in Babylon some time later (1 Peter 5:13).

Later still, he is with Paul in Rome during his captivity there (Col. 4:10 and Phm. 24). Also in Paul's last letter and during his second imprisonment in Rome, Paul writes about Mark (2 Tim. 4:11) and he has become a valuable co-worker of the apostle.

Marcus's life actually paints a picture of what might happen to someone who comes to faith in the present probationary time. Although you do not immediately come to faith through Paul's message and there can sometimes even be some bitterness with regard to the ministry of this apostle, in the end you end up - in the metaphorical sense of the word - in captivity with him. Namely: in the acknowledgment of the truth for the present time (concerning the mystery of Christ, as made known in Paul's captivity).

Purpose and destination

The Gospel of Mark seems to emphasize the Lord Jesus Christ as the God-appointed Servant, the Servant of the LORD. He is addressed only a few times in this gospel as Lord: chapter 7:28 and 9:24 (King James Version only). This happens much more often in the other Gospels. Marcus describes the deeds and words of this Servant only briefly; he even completely disregards a genealogy.

As with the Gospel of Matthew with regard to kingship, so here too the Savior came to His people primarily as the suffering Servant of the LORD. That is why this gospel also describes the message concerning the Son of God in the first place for His people Israel. At the same time, we discover few quotations from the Old Testament in this Gospel. As far as the readers came from Israel, it seems they were not well acquainted with the "Scriptures." 


A. 1:1-8 The Forerunner (John the Baptist)
B. 1:9-11 Baptism with water
C. 1:12 and 13 The temptation in the wilderness
D. 1:14-20 The kingdom
E. 1:21-8:30 The King
E. 8:31-10:52 The King
D. 11:1-14:25 The kingdom
C. 14:26-42 The battle in the garden
B. 14:43-16:14 Baptism into death (death, burial and resurrection)
A. 16:15-20 The successors

It turns out that every gospel has the announcement and rejection of the King and His kingdom as its central theme. At the same time, each gospel describes the Lord from a certain perspective. We see the Savior described

as King (described by Matthew), Servant (Mark), Man (Luke) and God (John).1{1 See the Morning Red brochure 'The Sprout - A Fourfold Testimony of Jesus Christ' by P.A. Butcher' (ISBN 978-90-6694-182-3).} 


As in the other Gospels, the kingdom (points D, E, E, and D), which was to be established on earth, takes center stage and is given ample attention. This begins with chapter 1:15, which reads, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel," and conclude with, "Truly, I say unto you, I will surely no more of the fruit of drink the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (chap. 14:25).