The Gospel of Mark offers astonishing good news and an awfully stern challenge in one fell swoop. Mark’s Jesus speaks good news – about a God who forgives, loves, and welcomes all comers. Mark’s Jesus also is good news – offering forgiveness, reaching to gather the forgotten ones, standing up to the purveyors of exclusive regulations and dried out rules, and dying to set humanity free. Mark’s Jesus speaks and is a challenge as well – modeling a Way of service and self-denial that gives itself out for neighbor and stranger, and then calling us to follow in his steps. Of any who will answer that call, this Jesus will settle for nothing less than a whole life. Indeed, Dietrich Bonheoffer’s famous saying could very well have been planted by Mark: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” (The Cost of Discipleship)
In addition to its benefits to our faith, the Gospel is also just a whole lot of fun to read. The author has cleverly sewn together stories of Jesus in a way that builds characters and themes, ironies, comedies and tragedies into his book. This interwoven whole of good news, challenge, and literary delight make the Gospel of Mark a wonderful book to read together in Bible study. Pursue this study to find out more about the earliest account of Jesus’ life and ministry.
Meet Our Professors
Allen Hilton, Minister for Faith and Learning at Wayzata Community Church, is a graduate of George Fox College (B.A), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Yale University (Ph.D.). He taught Bible at St. Mary’s College of California and New Testament at Yale Divinity School before being called into parish ministry in 2001. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
David Bartlett, J. Edward and Ruth Cox Lantz Professor Emeritus of Christian Communication at Yale Divinity School, is the author of several books including Fact and Faith, The Shape of Scriptural Authority, Between the Bible and the Church, and What’s Good About This News? Preaching from the Gospels and Galatians. He is also the co-editor of the Westminster Bible Companion and Feasting on the Word commentary series. He holds degrees from Swarthmore College (B.A) and Yale University (B.D, Ph.D.), and is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA.