Mark – Peter’s Eyewitness Gospel

Mark – Peter’s Eyewitness Gospel

The Gospel According to Mark
Is Mark’s Gospel an early memoir of the Apostle Peter?

The early church is unanimous that the Gospel According to Mark was written by John Mark. (Acts 12:12; Acts 12:25; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:13; Acts 15:37; Col 4:10; 2 Tim 4:11; Phm 24)

Papias – c. 140 quotes an earlier source saying:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  • Origen
  • Tertullian
  • 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)

Possible evidence of Mark as Peter’s “interpreter” is the simplified chronological order of events in Mark that mirrors Peter’s rehearsal of those events in Acts. (Acts 3:13-14; Acts 10:36-43)

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

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.

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