Papias – c. 140 quotes an earlier source saying:
- Mark was a close associate of Peter, from whom he received his information. (1 Peter 5:13) Peter regards Mark with such warmth and affection that he calls him his son.
- This information didn’t come to Mark as a finished, sequential account of the life of Jesus, but as the preaching of Peter – preaching directed to the needs of Christian communities.
- Mark accurately preserved this material and arranged and shaped it.
The title “According to Mark” appears in all the ancient canonical lists and many ancient manuscripts and is thought to have been added very early in the history of the text.
Early church fathers all affirm Mark wrote the Gospel:
- Papias (140)
- Justin Martyr (150)
- Iranaeus (185)
- Clement of Alexandria (195)
- Eusebius (326) – quotes Papias saying “elder” (John) attributed to Mark
Second and third century books falsely claimed apostles as authors rather than secondary figures such as Mark.
“A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.” (Mark 14:51-52) The “young man” here may be Mark. “Linen” clothes were a sign of wealth. He was from a wealthy family in Jerusalem. (Acts 12:12-13)
Peter’s eyewitness accounts include many descriptive scenes in Mark, which are lacking in other gospels. For example:
- Mark 1:20 – “Hired men” worked for Zebedee.
- Mark 1:40 – Leper entreating Jesus “on bended knee.”
- Mark 5:5 – Demonized man “slashing himself with stones.”
- Mark 13:3, 26 – Great prophecy given on Mount of Olives “with the temple in view.”
How Jesus felt and reacted
- Mark 3:5 – Looked at them with indignation, thoroughly grieved.
- Mark 7:34 – Sighed deeply.
- Mark 8:12 – Groaned deeply with his spirit.
- Mark 10:21 – Felt love for rich young ruler.
- Mark 9:36 – Put his arms around young child.
- Mark 10:13-16 – Took children into his arms.
Peter’s characteristics seen in Mark’s style
Mark’s writing style is similar to the personality traits portrayed of Peter: impulsive, moves quickly, simple, succinct, vivid, and unadorned. Also, the word “immediately” is used 23 times in Mark.