Access resources for Session 1 from Women's Bible Study here.
Note: This is for sessions 1-3. Sessions 4-6 will be published in mid-October.
Session 1 Teaching Video
Teaching Outline and Resources
- Using the Right Tools
- Context - the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc. (Read in context - right before and right after a particular passage)
- Identify key setting elements - People, places, events - who and where
- Theme - a unifying or dominant idea, motif, or concept
- Identify the main point - What is Mark trying to communicate here?
- Purpose - the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists
- Why is Mark writing this?
- The author’s purpose is like the “Swiss Army Knife” of Bible study tools. It holds all other Bible study tools together.
- The purpose of writing the book will be consistent. You may see sections where his purpose becomes more refined around a theme.
- For studying this genre of gospel narrative, we will primarily use the tools of context, theme, and purpose. We use the tools by asking the right questions!
Setting the Stage for studying Mark
- Who: Mark wrote this gospel by recording the eyewitness accounts of the apostle Peter
- Where: Early church tradition places Mark in Rome where there was significant persecution of Christians.
- Mark is writing to Gentile Christians, meaning they weren’t Jewish. Mark will explain Jewish customs to help the audience along
- 3 groups of people - see graphic below
- Miscellaneous people (crowds)
- Pharisees and scribes (religious leaders)
- Crowd's response to Jesus - faith
- Religious leaders' response to Jesus - opposition or rejection
- Disciples' response to Jesus - a little bit of both
- Peter - You are the Christ!
- Also Peter - rebuking Jesus a few verses later
- Book Theme #1: Identity of Christ
- The nature of his identity is questioned all throughout the gospel
- He is the Son of God
- He is the Suffering Servant
- Book Theme #2: A call to discipleship
- Reflecting Christ’s servanthood
- Enduring trials and suffering
- Using the Tools with Mark
- Context: Mark’s audience is suffering persecution
- Themes: Identity of Jesus; A call to discipleship
- Purpose: Context + Themes
- So the Purpose is: Mark wrote to Gentile Christians (context) to remind them of who Jesus is and what it looks like to follow him (themes)
Other things to keep in mind as you read:
- Use the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke, Mark) not to “fill in the gaps”, so to speak, but to see how Mark stands out. This helps reveal his original purpose in writing this account.
- Though the gospel account follows the life of Jesus, the structure suggests that Mark organized some of the stories by theme, rather than by chronological order.
- Mark often employs what’s called intercalations, or the “sandwich technique”, in which a single story is split in half and another story appears between the two halves. Examples include: 3:20-35; 4:1-20; 5:21-43; 6:7-32; 11:12-25; 14:1-11; 14:17-31; 14:53-72; 15:40-16:8.