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The Gospel of Mark is historically important because it was likely the first gospel written. If so, it served as a framework for others, especially Matthew and Luke.


Its placement second in the New Testament canon has a historical rationale: For many years, the church saw Mark as an abridgement of Matthew. In another sense, though, a theological purpose may be behind this arrangement. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus' disciples are competent remarkable obtuseness from the beginning to the end of Jesus' ministry compare Mark and Matthew , Readers of the Gospel of Mark may oscillate between judgmental surprise that the disciples cannot seem to grasp what Jesus is proclaiming, and compassion as they identify with the struggling disciples in understanding and living the life of discipleship.

Reading the Gospel of Mark after the Gospel of Matthew can produce a healthy unsettling of our knowledge. While Mark presents the good news of Jesus Christ succinctly, this gospel is not easy, and does not pretend that answers to profound questions are straightforward. There are secure foundations, but there are many mysteries obscuring the depths of those foundations. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of theme while they were walking in the country.


These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. So why were these verses added to Mark 16? However none of the gospels were written by anyone who knew Jesus directly.

The Gospel According to Mark

The person who first wrote Mark is unknown. One idea is that it was written by someone named John Mark who was a scribe for Peter while he was in Rome. However ultimately it remains anonymous. Well again, there are many theories but no real evidence. If it was written by John Mark the scribe of Peter, then this person would have had conversations with Peter a disciple of Jesus before his death around 68 AD in Rome. It is also possible that the writer of Mark had read letters written by the apostle Paul who never met Jesus, but was a follower of his teachings and no doubt this writer grew up listening to stories of a man called Jesus.

Most likely there were a combination of sources used and we will never really know.

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Some time after Matthew and Luke were written, the additional verses were added to Mark Aside from the bitter disappointment caused by the abrupt ending of this epic story, what other motive existed for adding these verses? He performs miracles. He challenges authorities. He is crucified and dies. His body disappears. Decades pass and no doubt this begins to cause problems.

And so the verses are added to provide closure and align with this perspective. One of the commenters directly quoted Mark 16 verse Talk to any conservative Christian and they probably believe the Bible is the divine Word of God and an accurate portrayal of Jesus, His words and His experiences. They can wave away inconsistencies and mistranslations as minor issues that do not distort the divine nature of the Bible.

They can Google a Bible verse for any occasion.

Who wrote the original version of Mark?

No matter how interesting, informative and important it is. Jo Holden was raised in the Uniting Church, is a mathematics teacher and shares her thoughts on all things religious from the perspective of a critical thinking, questioning millennial. Jo, The view that Mark was not added by Mark is not a new view; it goes back to , at least. I wrote a research-book about that. But in Rome where the Gospel of Mark was first circulated and throughout the Roman Empire, the text was used with verses — including in southern Gaul around the year , which is when Irenaeus, a Christian writer, specifically cited Mark in the course of his composition Against Heresies, Book 3.

Footnotes in Bibles and even annotations in Study Bibles are sometimes more concise than precise; on questions like this it is always a good idea to investigate on a migher magnification-level, so to speak, before drawing conclusions.

A Blog for Progressives

Hi James, Thanks for your comment and contribution to the discussion! The belief is that the verses were added by the 2nd century and this is determined by the fact, as you say, that they are quoted from fairly early dates.

However there is a majority agreement that these were not in the earlier versions. Ultimately, I am hoping to shed a little light on the interesting research being conducted into the origins of the Bible and its authors, for people who are very new to these questions such as myself!

He gets tired He gets mad His heart goes out to the rich young man. He holds the children in his arms. And to the people of his village he looks like just another small-town boy Mark 6. Jesus is earthy in Mark every bit as much as he is awe-ful, full of the power of God.

Confronted by a man who is both deaf and dumb Jesus does not simply lay hands on him, as he has been asked. The word became flesh and dwelt among us: Mark gives us salvation as incarnation, Jesus who is very God and very man. So the cross stands at the heart of the story. Here in the body Jesus shares the life of the world even unto death; here in the body Jesus takes the world with him through death into life.

It is in the body that the battle is finally joined. To share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, and in this way to bring us bodily out of the power of evil into the life that belongs to God. Mark tells a mystery in Jesus the God-man. And he leaves us there at the resurrection, in mystery—in what used to be called the fear of God—face to face with the news that is impossible and also true: humanly impossible, and in the one who is both Lord and crucified, humanly true.

And they fled away from the tomb, for fear and ecstasy gripped them, and they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid Mark