The Gospel According to Saint Mark

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 57–71


Author: Numerous early documents identify Mark as the author of this Gospel, even though he is not identified as such within the book. The Prophet Joseph Smith entitled the book, “The Testimony of St Mark” (see “Title” footnote in the LDS Edition of the King James Bible). For more detailed information see the entry for Mark in the Bible Dictionary (p. 728).

Audience: Mark’s Gospel provides cultural and geographical explanations that would appeal to a gentile (non-Jewish) audience (see Bible Dictionary, “Gospels,” pp. 683–84).

Historical Background: Mark is usually thought to have been the first Gospel written and may have formed a basis for much of Matthew and Luke. The exact date it was written is unknown but “both early Christian tradition and internal features of Mark’s record point to an origin of his Gospel in Rome after Peter’s death (A.D. 64) and before the final fall of the Jerusalem Temple (A.D. 70)” (S. Kent Brown, “The Testimony of Mark,” in Studies in Scripture: Volume Five, the Gospels, ed. Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet [1986], 67).

Unique Features: The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four Gospels. It is a fast-moving account that emphasizes what the Savior did more than what He said. Mark particularly highlights the Savior’s miracles. Over 90 percent of the material in Mark is also found in the other Gospels. Events and teachings found in Mark but not in the other Gospels include the parable of the seed growing secretly (see Mark 4:26–29), the fact that Jesus was a carpenter (see Mark 6:3), the healing of a blind man at Bethsaida (see Mark 8:22–26), and the doctrine that signs follow those who believe (see Mark 16:17–18).

Theme: Mark’s record testifies that Jesus Christ was the son of God and a being of miraculous power. Mark illustrates this idea by emphasizing the Savior’s actions.