A Commentary in Simple English on the Gospel that Mark wrote

Revised September 2006


Our most gracious God,
We thank You for Your goodness and love;
We thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour;
We thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to Your people;
We thank You for Your Word;
May this book help us to know what it means;
May it help many in the Christian way;
May it turn no one from the truth;
For Christ's sake. Amen

John Mark

Mark grew up in Jerusalem. His full name was John Mark (Acts 12: 12). He was younger than Jesus and His disciples. Paul and Barnabas went from Antioch on their first journey. This was to preach the Good News. Mark went with them on this journey (Acts 13:5). This may be because he was a nephew of Barnabas (Colossians 4: 10). We do not know why Mark went back to Jerusalem (Acts 13: 13). Paul was not pleased. He would not take Mark on his next journey (Acts 15: 36-39).

Later Paul forgave him, and Mark was with Paul and Luke in Rome (Colossians 4: 10,14 and Philemon verse 24). He was with Peter, probably in Rome (1 Peter 5:13). This would have been just before Nero killed Peter. Then Paul wanted to see Mark again in Rome. This was just before the Romans killed Paul (2 Timothy 4:11). We know nothing about Mark's life after this.

The Gospel

More than one writer in the Early Church believed that Mark based his Gospel on what Peter preached. [1.1] Look at Mark 7: 31-37. Someone saw this and heard what happened. This was probably Peter. Mark may just be the young man in Mark 14: 51. We do not know. There is a young man again in Mark 16: 5. This also may be Mark.

How to use this book

Jesus was born, lived and died - and rose again! - in Palestine, which is in Asia. As a baby he was a refugee in Egypt, part of Africa. Those of us who come from Europe and 'the West' do not understand some Bible ideas such as 'honour' and 'shame'. Yet I hope you will find things in this book which you know in your heart are true and which you can teach and preach. But it is not this book which will do you good. It is God's Word, Mark's Gospel, which will.