Read / Articles /

5 Interesting Facts About the Book of Mark

Answers | Attie Murphy | 5 mins

The Gospel of Jesus is the most life-changing collection of writing to exist. It tells us how and why the Son of God lived, died, and was resurrected. It is the Good News. The four Gospel accounts have distinct styles and emphases but are consistent in their message of hope. Each account was written by a different author, reflecting an individual perspective. Mark is the second book in the New Testament and is a valuable testimony to the truth of Jesus. If you read through Mark, you'll pick up some unique lessons and learn even more if you understand the context. 

1.  Mark is probably the earliest Gospel 

When were the Gospels written? This informative article explains the earliest manuscripts. There is some debate on whether Mark or Matthew was the first, but the consensus leans toward Mark. According to evidence, all four Gospels were written relatively soon after Jesus walked the Earth, and we can see their connections. No matter which was first, the Gospels give us reliable stories of real people who met Jesus. 

2. The name isn't so straightforward

Like all four Gospels, the "Gospel of Mark" is really the Gospel of Jesus. Mark’s account of the Gospel is likely based on the testimony of Peter, but is still Mark’s literary work as he was empowered by the Spirit. John, who also went by Mark, was an interpreter and disciple to Peter. Here's a good summary of the relationship between Peter and Mark. Mark is mentioned several times in the Bible, and some scholars believe he made an anonymous cameo in his own writing. Whether or not he met Jesus, Mark's writing clearly portrays the serving nature of our Savior and is intended to show his audience that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

3. The end of Mark may not be original

In many Bibles, there is a disclaimer in the last chapter (16) of Mark, after verse 8. It notes that in the earliest manuscripts, the chapter did not contain verses 9-20. What does this mean? It's possible those verses were added to a later copy, but there are other explanations as well. Does that change anything? Not really. Either way, Mark tells us the prophecy of Jesus' death and the description of the empty tomb. The other Gospel accounts show us more about the appearance of Jesus after the resurrection. If Mark purposely cut the story short, the potential reasons are food for thought. What lessons can we take from those witnesses who ran in shock from the tomb?

Check out these resources on the topic:

Was Mark 16:9–20 Originally Part of Mark’s Gospel?
The Missing End of Mark's Gospel | BibleProject™

4. Mark teaches us to take action

The book of Mark gets straight to the point in telling us what Jesus did. It shows us the power of a forward-moving mission. It's amazing that Jesus' full-time ministry only spanned about three years, yet He helped countless people. From this not only do we get to see what Jesus did and how people reacted, but we also learn about the power of doing. Jesus consistently stepped into new territory and was innovative about reaching people with wisdom. He helped those who needed Him, fostered friendships, and stood firm against evil. Think about what we could do if we acted by our principles every moment.

5. The word "immediately" appears 41 times in Mark

Why does this matter? Well, it's notable because Mark is a comparatively short Gospel, yet it uses the word "immediately" more times than the whole rest of the New Testament. The original Greek word, "Euthus," doesn't just mean "right away;" it's about going forth steadfastly. This theme goes along with the topic above: Mark showcases the actions of Jesus. Verbiage gives insight into the mindset of a writer, and it tells us Mark's goal was to share the Gospel efficiently. Mark wanted us to see who Jesus is and the urgency of His message. Jesus tells us to "go and make disciples," and Mark shows us a straightforward example to follow. 

I hope these facts were interesting and that they inspire you to dive into the Bible with curiosity! 

Written By

Attie Murphy

An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.

Published on Feb 3, 2023