Let’s begin with a word about 3W. Every month we gather at Northminster on a Wednesday evening from 6:00-8:00 PM for food, fellowship, worship and discipleship. We call it 3W because it happens on the third Wednesday of the month.
This fall we are going to focus on the four gospels. If you will commit to reading about one chapter a day (the reading schedule is here), you will read each gospel during the month before we meet to discuss it.
At 3W I will offer a brief introduction to the gospel of the month, and then teach/discuss several passages.
This is where you come in: as you are reading you can post questions and observations by scrolling to the bottom of this post and clicking Leave a comment. Your insights will guide our study at 3W, and they will give you a chance to see what others are scratching their heads about.
Starting in September I will be preaching from the gospel we are reading together. The Sunday before 3W I introduce the author of the month’s gospel. I’m not confusing you will all these details, am I?
Here’s my promise—If you will dive in to this community-wide study, when the new year rolls around you will have read the four most important books in the Bible and you will have gained important knowledge about Jesus and the early church.
Okay then, let’s get to it. Here are some questions that come to mind as I’m reading chapters 1-5.
Why begin with Mark when Matthew comes first in the Bible?
Mark is actually the gospel that was written first. It was written about 30 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Who wrote the gospel of Mark?
John Mark whose mother owned the upper room in Jerusalem where Jesus and his followers celebrated the passover meal the night before his crucifixion. Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey and he became an assistant to Simon Peter with the church in Rome. (You can learn more about him in worship on September 12). In the first century authors did not sign their works. The closest thing we have to a signature from John Mark is Mark 14:51-52.
What should I pay attention to while reading Mark?
- Notice that It is the shortest gospel and that half of its 16 chapters deal with the last week of Jesus’ life.
- Notice Mark’s fast pace–immediately is one of his favorite words.
- Notice the interruptions: Jesus never seems to get where he is going in Mark—his ministry occurs when he is interrupted.
- Notice how Jesus keeps instructing people not to tell anyone who he is. What’s up with that?
- Chapter 4 introduces one of Jesus’ favorite teaching methods—parables. Here’s a famous definition: “The parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by it’s vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought” C.H. Dodd.
- Pay attention to how many healings and miracles occur. Mark is particularly impressed with Jesus as a healer/miracle worker.
This will get you started on our fall gospel journey. Now, go ahead and hit Leave a comment and join the discussion.