Class 9 – Four Portraits Part 1 – The Gospel According to Mark

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Skip straight to the video, or do the pre-class readings.

Suggested Pre-Class Readings

Before this class, I encourage you to have a special experience listening to or reading the entire Gospel of Mark in one setting. It will probably take somewhere between 45-90 minutes.

Mark was likely first an oral performance, meaning people listened to it rather than read it. So my first suggestion would be for you to listen to the Gospel of Mark.

This video is an incredible performance of the Gospel of Mark. Highly recommended!

If you’d rather read Mark, consider trying an alternate version of the Bible to give you a fresh perspective. Here’s a link to Mark in the New Revised Standard Version.

Remember, the goal is to have an experience listening to or reading Mark 1-16 (the whole Gospel) in one setting. Try to imagine what it would be like to be a 1st Century individual, hearing the message of Jesus Christ for the first time. What stands out to you?

Class video (or podcast)

Questions to focus on during the video

Be able to show how the Gospel of Mark portrays a human Jesus who experiences a range of human emotions. Why would this be relevant to us today?

How does the Greco-Roman use of the word “gospel” inform our understanding of what Mark means by the term?

Be able to explain the three-fold pattern in Mark that always ends with Jesus teaching servant-leadership.

Be able to explain the concept of “the Messianic Secret” in Mark.

What lesson could we learn from the only human in Mark who declares Jesus to be the Son of God?

How might the Messianic Secret explain the abrupt ending in Mark?

How does Mark illustrate the theme of discipleship failure? Provide evidence that this is a theme that is especially prevalent in Mark.

Be able to identify key passages that show a pattern of hope for failing disciples as seen both in Peter and a young man fleeing naked in Gethsemane.

Check Your Understanding Questions

Available here.

Download Visuals and Printables

Download visuals and printables

Optional post-class readings

If you want to do a deep dive into Mark, I highly recommend Julie M. Smith’s comprehensive commentary, The Gospel According to Mark. It’s a serious work (962 pages) but it is packed with powerful insights. 

If you’re not ready for Julie Smith’s full book , try her article, “Mark’s Unique Contribution,” Religious Educator 17, no. 2 (2016): 56–85.

Another great book about Mark is Jesus the King, by Christian pastor Timothy Keller. It’s accessible and contains many valuable principles.

If you’d rather watch something, a Christian pastor named Brandon Robbins has an enjoyable YouTube series on Mark.

Download the PowerPoint used in the video

Download PPT


Insights from, discussions with, and resources authored by Julie M. Smith, Dr. Mark Strauss, Dr. Matthew Grey, Dr. Frank Judd, Dr. Jason Combs, Dr. Gaye Strathearn, and Dr. Josh Sears were used in the creation of this video. Thanks too to Elder Messervy and Elder Miller for putting up with me as a missionary. I love you guys! 🙂