Monday, February 19, 2007

Introduction to Mark

The organization of Biblical books is sometimes difficult to decipher, and often the outlines provided by commentaries are too detailed to be much help. This proposed outline is intended to provide a quick overview of the gospel, and thus a general sense of how Mark has organized it.

I. Prologue 1:1-13 The ministry of John the Baptist
II. Jesus' northern ministry 1:14-9:50
III. Jesus' Judean ministry (including passion and resurrection) 10:1-16:20

The reader should note that in the course of Jesus' northern ministry, there is a great amount of movement from one place to another, so much so that it is often difficult to be entirely certain where Jesus is. On the other hand, when Jesus moves to Judea, Mark's purpose here is clearly to show Jesus arriving in Judea for his final days. Thus, in chapter 10, Jesus moves into Judea, and already chapter 11 provides the account of his triumphal entry.

Many commentators have noted the vigorous nature of Mark's narrative, and the importance of euthus (immediately, straightway) to that narrative movement. Mark's is a gospel that focuses on the activity of Jesus, with a lower teaching-to-doing ratio than the other gospels. Pay attention to this as you read, and catch the urgency of Mark's story.

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