MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (March 15, 2021)

Today, I want to begin a study on the Gospel of Mark.  This Gospel is the shortest of the four, and is a sweet introduction to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just because it is interesting to me, I want to first look at the writer of this book, Mark.

Any exploration of the origins of any book of the Bible must be founded upon the understanding that, regardless of the writer, the words that were written are the inspired, inerrant word of God.  However, it is interesting and instructive to grasp the historical context and the circumstances surrounding the writing of these precious books.

Nowhere within the pages of Mark’s Gospel do we find the name of the author.  Thus, it matters not to God whether we know who wrote it or not – God ALWAYS gives us exactly the right amount of information for us to get what we need out of His bible!  However, the early church’s beliefs regarding the author of this sweet little Gospel are nonetheless interesting.

The early church was pretty much unanimous in their acceptance that John Mark was the writer of the second Gospel, and that the substance of the writing contained therein was dictated to him by the Apostle Peter.  Papias of Hieropolis, who lived from approximately 60 AD to 130 AD, provides the earliest evidence that Mark was the writer and that Peter provided the narrative. Later on, Irenaeus, who lived from approximately 130 AD to 200 AD, wrote that “[a]fter their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”  Other sources from the early church recognized this to be true as well.

Mark himself is not unknown to Bible readers. He was the son of a widow woman named Mary (Acts 12:12-17), a nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:10) who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys as far as Pamphylia, where he left them (Acts 13:13).  This apparently caused problems with Paul, because Paul would not receive him later on (Acts 15:37-39).  However, it appears that later they reconciled (2 Tim. 4:11).  At some point during this time, Mark clearly met up with Peter and became very close to him (1 Pet. 5:14), which tends to support the belief of the early church that Peter dictated the gospel to Mark.

Of course, as I have already stated, none of this matters when it comes to the veracity and inerrancy of the Gospel of Mark.  It does, however, lend and interesting perspective to the words Mark wrote down!  Peter was himself a companion of the Lord, and had a “bird’s eye view” to everything contained within this gospel.  And isn’t it amazing that God didn’t allow him to “pull any punches,” even when it came to Peter’s own unfaithfulness?  The Bible truly is an amazing book, breathed by God into the minds and pens of men like Peter, who weren’t some sort of “supermen Christians,” but were men just like us! 

How blessed we are to have this book we call the Bible!  And this little gospel is precious to us; I look forward to continuing this study next week.

May the Lord bless you this week!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor