Reading Mark’s Gospel

As well as preaching through Mark’s Gospel, we are also encouraging people to read through the whole of the Gospel. To help people do this we produced a handout with some information and challenges.

To encourage people to read through the Gospel we bought everyone a copy and handed them out, along with the information below as a handout.

Reading Mark’s Gospel together

Receive this book.
It is the good news of God’s love.
Take it as your guide.

Over the next few months, up until Easter, we are going to be looking at Mark’s Gospel. As part of this, we’d like to encourage you to read the whole of the Gospel. To help you with this, we’ve got a copy of it for you, which you can make notes on, underline bits and so on.

Introduction
“people have found Mark’s gospel to be the most gripping of the four gospels – a real page-turner” Archbishop Justin Welby

Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the Gospels. David Suchet reads it in less than 2 hours (search on YouTube). It is also (almost certainly) the oldest, probably written between AD 65 and 73. It tells the events of Jesus’ life, from his baptism by John, to his death and resurrection.

The Gospel
Mark’s Gospel can be divided into three sections

Who do you say that I am? 1:1-8:30
This section gives us the answer to the question that comes at the end of the section ‘Who do you say that I am?’ asks Jesus. We are shown Jesus’ power and compassion, his humility and sense of anger at injustice.

The way to Jerusalem 8:31-10:52
This section tells us what discipleship (being followers of Jesus) looks like. It talks of ‘the way’ and ‘following’ and encourages us to think about what that looks like, not least for ourselves.

The final week 11:1-16:8
This section takes us through the final days of Jesus’ earthly life. We read about the events, about Jesus’ teaching and gets us thinking about why he wanted to tell his followers that at this important time.

To help you know where the different places are, there’s a map inside.

History
The Gospel was written at a time of war and uncertainty, possibly in Rome. A war was raging between the Romans and the Jews in the land of Israel (AD66-73). This led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD70.

In AD64 the Great Fire of Rome destroyed or damaged over half the city. The Roman historian Tactius later wrote that the Emperor Nero blamed the Christians for the fire, leading to their persecution and martyrdom. Nero killed himself in AD68, starting the chaos of the Year of the Four Emperors (two of whom were murdered).

How to read
Over the next few months, we’d like to encourage you to read Mark’s Gospel at least once, if not three times.

Before you read
Pray. Ask God to help you hear from him as you read.

1st time: Read it through
(or listen to David Suchet reading it). Make a note of any questions you may have. What bits are new to you? What things particularly speak to you?

2nd time: Read it no more than a chapter at a time
Read the chapter or section slowly, carefully, and prayerfully. What is God saying to you through the passage? You might find it helpful to try and imagine yourself there. Or you might find it helpful to think about whether you have answers to your earlier questions, or if you have new questions?

3rd time: Read it again, thinking about these questions
What does the Gospel tell us about Jesus? About what he feels, what he does, what he says?
What does the Gospel tell us about discipleship? What does following Jesus look like?
What does the Gospel tell us the final week of Jesus’ earthly life? What is important about those things?
What does the Gospel tell me to do? How is the Holy Spirit inspiring me to act, think, and speak differently?


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