Gospel of Mark Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3292 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … Gospel of Mark

Often regarded as the earliest of the four Gospels, the Book of Mark was written within perhaps thirty years of the time of Christ's death and alleged resurrection. Although it is an anonymous book, meaning that the true author is unknown and that the title of Mark was added at a later date, ancient tradition ascribes this Gospel to one John Mark, a disciple of both Peter and Paul, who is said to have completed it at Rome as a summary of Peter's preaching. The text shows considerable knowledge of Palestine and the Aramaic language (i.e. that spoken by Jesus Christ) with occasional Latin references which suggest the influence of Roman culture.

Originally written in Koine, being the traditional language of the Greeks, the Gospel of Mark is the least polished of the four Gospels, although the author reveals a talent for quite graphic description. The narrative opens not with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem but with the preaching of John the Baptist who represents the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Following the baptism and temptation of Jesus, Mark relates his messianic ministry and then quickly takes the reader to the climax, being the week of Jesus' passion at Jerusalem which culminates in the crucifixion.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Gospel of Mark Often Regarded as the Assignment

According to a number of theologians and scholars, the purpose and arrangement of the Gospel of Mark is primarily historical and "aims to trace a genuine sequence of historical cause and effect... with material arranged to illustrate different aspects of Christian truth" (Peterson 189). Other scholars, such as a.E.J. Rawlinson, consider the emphasis in the Gospel of Mark as being focused on "the passion of the Christ and the disciple's suffering with him and purely directed toward those who might expect to suffer martyrdom at Rome" (Peterson 190); J.H. Ropes posits the question, "is the Gospel of Mark a simple, artless work in which it is fruitless to try to find any pattern or is it a highly theological work to be classed with the Gospel of John?" (Barclay 67). Thus, it is evident from the diversity of scholarly opinion that the author has inserted much mystery and secrecy into the text in association with the telling of the teachings, acts and person of Jesus Christ.

As to the intended audience in relation to the Gospel of Mark, it remains unclear whether or not the author's aim was to influence his fellow Christians or to simply tell the story of Jesus Christ as an historical event. Since the author was obviously inspired by his mentors, being Peter and Paul, the Gospel of Mark is a "renewal of prophecy in Israel through the Spirit which encompasses the hallmark of the earthly ministry of Jesus" (Barclay 178) which, in essence, provides a message to all Christians filled with hope, faith and reverence for God's works on Earth.

Generally speaking, the Gospel of Mark is a very appropriate theological work for those who adhere to the principles of Christianity, for it presents the story of Jesus almost from a first-hand account; however, it is clear that the author has based this book on the accounts of other individuals, such as Paul and Peter, which makes it a chronicle of historical events based on subjectivity. Yet the Gospel of Mark, at least for Christians, serves as additional support for the life and times of Jesus Christ, especially when it is placed in the context of the other Gospels, such as John, Matthew and Luke.

According to J. Macrory, writing for the Catholic Encyclopedia, the contents of the Gospel of Mark "deals chiefly with the Galilean ministry of Christ and the events of the last week at Jerusalem." At the beginning, the author briefly relates the baptism and temptation of Jesus, and then proceeds to describe his "ministry, passion, death and resurrection," followed by a summary on "some appearances of the risen Lord" and some references to "the ascension and the universal preaching of the Gospel" ("Gospel of Saint Mark," Internet). Obviously, the author of this Gospel is "much more concerned with Christ's acts than with his discourses" and seems to be fascinated with the miracles ascribed to Jesus which comprise almost a quarter of the entire book. The objective appears to be "a desire to impress the readers from the outset with Christ's almighty power and dominion over all nature" ("Gospel of Saint Mark," Internet).

As to the writing style of the author of the Gospel of Mark, William Barclay notes that this book "is well-known for its lack of high quality in style which resembles colloquial speech as it was used during the writer's time." The style is also very monotonous, due in part to the writer's "failure to supply connecting links between sentences and a number of paragraphs" (256). However, the style itself is quite effective in its use of persuasion through example, meaning that the author provides stories on Jesus that are meant to sway the reader into accepting what he is saying as the "gospel" truth.

The use of the persuasion through example style greatly supports the overall theme found in the Gospel of Mark, namely, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and was sent to Earth as man's savior against sin and corruption. The title of this book, besides the obvious "Gospel According to St. Mark" as referenced in the King James Version of the New Testament, is actually "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (1:1) which conveys the suggestion that what follows is the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, being the fulfillment of the prophecy quoted in the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament which Mark quotes also ("As it is written in the prophets, Behold I send my messenger before thy face which shall prepare thy way before thee," 1:2). Thus, the title or the opening verse "provides insight into the author's purpose to relate how the doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ came into being through the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus himself" (Peterson 167).

In verse 1:3, the author introduces John the Baptist as "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness" who "prepares ye the way of the Lord, (to) make his path straight." John the Baptist is further described as baptizing "in the wilderness" and preaching "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (1:4). And in 1:7, John the Baptist declares that "There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose." All of this greatly strengthens what follows, for it places Jesus in the position of deliverer, especially when he comes "from Nazareth of Galilee" and is baptized "by John in (the River) Jordan" (1:9).

From this point on, John the Baptist disappears from the story and is replaced by Jesus who occupies the remainder of the text. In verse 1:10, the reader is given the first indication that Jesus is under the spell of the Holy Spirit, for after rising from the waters of the River Jordan, he sees "the heavens opened and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him." A voice then declares "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (1:11). Afterwards, Jesus is ordered into the desert by God to experience the temptations of Satan, God's arch-enemy and fallen angel. These two verses unify the conception of human salvation via the declaration that Jesus is the Son of God and that Satan shall be conquered by God and His Son.

The actual ministry of Jesus Christ commences with verses 14 and 15, which mentions that John the Baptist has been put in prison by Herod Antipas and that Jesus is to begin his preaching of the gospel "of the kingdom of God" by stating "the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." But the ministry of Jesus truly begins when he meets up with Simon and Andrew and says to them, "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men" (1:17), meaning that Simon and Andrew are to be the first of Jesus' disciplines. This is yet another strong point in the text, for it supports the suggestion that Jesus has the power of God within him which allows others to be enlisted in his quest to save mankind from corruption and sin.

When at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus' identity is questioned, and the author thus provides some background as to this question. First, when Jesus enters the synagogue at Capernaum, those in attendance are "astonished by his doctrine, for he taught them as one that had authority and not as the scribes" (1:22). In verse 28, as a result of Jesus' teachings in the synagogue, "immediately, his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee." Once again, the strength of these verses illustrates that Jesus is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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