Mark 1: The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 39–40

While Matthew recorded many of the words Jesus spoke, Mark emphasized the events in the Savior’s life. Mark seems so anxious to write about Jesus’ ministry that he gives very little historical background, and in the first chapter he begins with what Jesus began doing among the people. Before you move too quickly to chapter 2, take time to ponder on what we learn about Jesus from the stories in chapter 1.

Christ addressing fishermen

Christ traveling

Understanding the Scriptures

Mark 1

Remission (v. 4)Forgiveness 
Girdle … loins (v. 6)Leather belt around his waist 
Straightway (vv. 10, 18, 20–21)Immediately 
Synagogue (vv. 21, 23, 29, 39)Jewish place of worship 
Astonished (v. 22)Amazed; surprised 
Rebuked (v. 25)Demand that someone stop doing something; to correct 
Hold thy peace (v. 25)Be quiet 
Torn (v. 26)Shaken 
Divers (v. 34)Different kinds 
Solitary place (v. 35)Place to be alone (wilderness) 
For therefore came I forth (v. 38)This is the reason I came 
Leper (v. 40)Person with a skin disease (see Bible Dictionary, “leprosy,” p. 724) 
Beseeching (v. 40) Begging 
Quarter (v. 45)part of the land 

Mark 1:1—“The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

While it’s true that Jesus Christ began His church during His mortal ministry, that was not the first time the gospel plan was made known to people on earth. The gospel was actually preached from the time of the first family, Adam and Eve, on this world (see Moses 5:5–12) and even before the world began (see 1 Peter 1:18–20).

Mark 1:2–11—John the Baptist

See the introduction to Matthew 3 (pp. 11–12) for more information about John.

Mark 1:44—Why Did Jesus Ask Those He Healed to Not Tell Anyone What He Had Done?

See “Understanding the Scriptures” for Matthew 16:20 (p. 24).

Studying the Scriptures

Do one of the following activities (A or B) as you study Mark 1.

Activity A iconPreparing the Way

Mark began his testimony by describing events that prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus Christ. For each of the following four groups of verses, briefly tell what event Mark described and how you think it helped prepare the way for what would follow in Jesus’ mortal ministry: Mark 1:2–8, 9–11, 12–13, 16–20.

Activity B iconWhat Can You Learn from a Miracle?

In Mark 1 we read about three different miracles Jesus performed and notes that He also healed “many” (v. 34). In Mark 1:38, Jesus said that a major purpose of His ministry among the people was to preach the gospel. In that context, think about what we learn about Jesus and His gospel from each miracle He performed. For example, as you study the miracle described in Mark 1:40–44, answer the following questions:

  1. 1.

    What can you learn from the leper about how to come to the Savior and receive blessings from Him?

  2. 2.

    What can you learn about the Savior from the way He responded to the leper?

  3. 3.

    To be leprous was considered “unclean” under the law of Moses. To be sinful is to be spiritually unclean. Read Mark 1:40–44 again, changing the word leper to sinner. What can it teach us about when we have sinned?