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Reference: Mark, The Gospel According To


(See ACTS; BARNABAS; GOSPELS.) "John (his Hebrew name) whose surname was Mark" (his Roman name): Mr 12:12,25; 13/5'>13:5,13; 15:39; Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24. The Roman supplanted the Jewish name, as Paul did Saul. The change marks his entrance on a new and worldwide ministry. The fathers unanimously testify that Mark was "interpreter" (hermeneutees, Papias in Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39; Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 1,10, sec. 6) to Peter; meaning one who expresses and clothes in words the testimony of another. Papias, or John Presbyter (in Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39), states that Mark wrote "not in order," i.e. he wrote "some" leading facts, not a complete history. He attests Mark's accuracy, saying "he committed no error," but made it his aim "to omit nought of what he heard and to state nothing untrue."

Peter's name and presence are mentioned on occasions where apparently there is no reason for it; Mark herein wished to bring the apostle forward as his authority (see Mr 1:36; 5:37; 11:20-26; 13:3). There are indications of the author having been a Galilean, which Peter was. Thus, Herod the tetrarch is styled "king"; the "lake' (as Lu 8:22 calls it, for he knew larger sects) is called "the sea of Galilee" (Mr 5:1). Only in Mr 6:30 the term of dignity, "apostle," is found; in Luke, as writing later, it frequently occurs. Things to their discredit are ingenuously stated by Matthew and Mark (Peter), as we might expect from apostles writing about themselves; but are sparingly introduced by Luke (Mt 16:9; Mr 7:18; 10:41; 14:31; 6:52; 9:10; 10:32, the last three not in Matthew).

The account of many things is marked by vivid touches suitable to an eye-witness only, which Peter was; e.g. Mr 6:39, "the green grass" in the feeding of the 5,000; "the pillow of the ship" (Mr 4:38); Mr 10:50, "casting away his garment"; Mr 11:4, "the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met." The details of the demon-possessed Gadarene: "no man could bind him, no not with chains, because he had often been bound, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces; neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, crying, and cutting himself with stones," etc. (Mr 5:2-5); and also the wild cry of another reproduced, "Ea" ("Ha!" not as KJV, "let us alone"), Mr 1:24.

Jesus' looks, Mr 3:5, "He looked round about on them in anger" (Mr 3:34); Mr 8:33; 10:21-23, "Jesus beholding loved him," etc.; Mr 8:12, He sighed deeply in spirit ... why doth this generation seek after a sign?" Mr 1:41, "Jesus moved with compassion put forth His hand" touching the leper. All these minute touches, peculiar to him, show his Gospel is no epitome of the others but an independent witness, Mark tells Peter's humble origin (Mr 1:16-20), his connection with Capernaum (Mr 1:29), that Levi was son of Alphaeus (Mr 2:14), that Boanerges was the title given by Christ to James and John (Mr 3:17), that, the ruler of the synagogue was named Jairus (Mr 5:22), that Jesus was a "carpenter" (Mr 6:3), that the Canaanite woman was a Syrophoenician (Mr 7:26). Mark gives Dalmanutha for Magdala (Mr 8:10; Mt 15:39).

He names Bartimaeus (Mr 10:46), states that "Jesus would not suffer any to carry any vessel through the temple" (Mr 11:16), that Simon of Cyrene was father of Alexander and Rufus (Mr 15:21). Peter would be the probable source of these particulars of Mark's information. Jesus' rebuke of Peter is recorded, but His preeminent praise of him is omitted (Mr 8:32-33; compare Mt 16:18,23). The account of the thrice denial is full, but "bitterly" is omitted from his repentance (Mr 14:72). This is just what we might expect from an apostle writing about himself. The Roman character preponderates, abounding in facts rather than doctrines, and practical details told with straightforward, energetic, manly simplicity.

Of passages peculiar to Mark are Mr 3:20-21, Christ's friends' attempt on Him; Mr 4:26-29, parable of the seed growing secretly; Mr 7:31-37, healing the deaf mute; Mr 8:22-26, gradual cure of the blind; Mr 11:11; 14:51-52; 16:7, the special message to Peter after the resurrection, to cheer him in his despondency after the thrice denial. Only twice Mark quotes Old Testament himself (Mal 3:1; Isa 40:3), namely, Mr 1:2-3; but often introduces Christ and those addressing Him quoting it. The Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts omit Mr 15:28, which is an interpolation from Lu 22:37. Mark alone has "the sabbath was made for man" (Mr 2:27), and the scribe's admission that love is better than sacrifices (Mr 12:33); all suited for Gentile readers, to whom Peter, notwithstanding subsequent vacillation, first opened the door (Acts 10).

He notices Jesus being "with the wild beasts" when tempted by Satan in the wilderness; contrast Adam tempted amidst the tame animals in Eden (Genesis 2; 3). Adam changed paradise into a wilderness, Jesus changes the wilderness into paradise. Other scenes to Peter's honor omitted are Lu 5:1-11, his walking on the sea (Mt 14:28-31), his commission to get, the tribute money from the fish (Mt 17:24-27), Jesus' special intercession for him (Lu 22:31-32), his being one of the two sent to prepare the Passover (Lu 22:8). Mark's explanations of Jewish customs and names (Jordan is called a "river"; the Pharisees' fasting and customs, Mr 1:5; 2:18; 7:1-4; the Sadducees' tenets, Mr 12:18; the Passover described, Mr 14:1,12) which Jews would not need, and the absence of appeals by himself to Old Testament prophecy, also of the genealogy and of the term nomos, the Mosaic "law," show he wrote for Gentiles not for Jews.

Accordingly he omits the offensive references to the Gentiles found in Mt 6:7-8; 10:5-6; compare Mr 6:7-11; so Luke writing for Gentiles (Lu 9:1-5). Moreover Mark (Mr 11:17) inserts what is not in Matthew or Luke, "My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer." He abounds in Latinisms, agreeably to the theory that he wrote for Romans, whose terms his and Peter's intimacy with them would dispose him to use: thus "centurion" for hekatontarchos elsewhere in New Testament, paidiothen = "a puero", kodrantes = "quadrans", denarion = "denarius", halas analon = "sal insulsum", "specoulator", "censos", "fragelloo" (flagello), xestes (sextarius), megistanes = "magnates", legeon = "legio". The explanation of a Greek term aulee by the Latin proetorium (Mr 15:16) could only be for Roman readers. Style. Unusual Greek expressions occur: exapina, epistentrechein, pistike, eneileo, efie, proelaben murisai, alalos, enangkalizesthai. Diminutives abound, thugatrion, korasion, otarion, kunaria.

He employs as the phrase most characteristic of his Gospel eutheoos, "straightway," "immediately," 41 times. His use of the present tense for the past gives vivid present reality to his pictures. He details minutely localities, times, and numbers. He introduces persons' speaking directly. He is often abrupt as he is graphic, e.g. Mark 1, where he hurries on to our Lord's: official life, which he sketches with lifelike energy. "While the sequence and connection of the longer discourses was that which the Holy Spirit peculiarly brought to Matthew's mind, the apostle from whom Mark's record is derived seems to have been deeply penetrated by the solemn iterations of cadence and expression, and to have borne away the very words themselves and the tone of the Lord's sayings" (Alford), e.g. the sublime reply Mr 9:39-50, the thrice repeated "where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched," sounding in the ears as a peal of doom.

This Gospel especially pictures Jesus' outward gestures, e.g. His actions in curing the deaf (Mr 7:33-34), He takes him aside from the multitude, puts His fingers into his ears, spits, touches his tongue, looks up to heaven, sighs, and saith, "Ephphatha". Hebrew (Aramaic) words are used, but explained for Gentile readers: Mr 3:17,22; 5:41, Talitha kumi; Mr 7:11, korban; Mr 9:43, gehenna; Mr 10:46, Bar-timaeus; Mr 14:36, Abba; Mr 15:22, Golgotha. The style, though abounding in Latinisms, is more related. to the Hebraistic style of Matthew than to Luke's pure Greek.

From the Latinisms, and the place where, and t

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