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The Docudrama Gospel

By Sam Harrell

The book of Mark was written by John Mark, who some would say is the least likely person to be used of God to write Scripture.

His famous failure to persevere through one of Paul’s missionary journeys1 became the subject of a major split between the Apostle Barnabas and the Apostle Paul2. This conflict stands as one of the earliest recorded divisions between faithful groups of believers in the New Testament. However, the split was not without reason.

John Mark is the cousin of Barnabas3, who in turn was one of the first disciples to “get the gospel”4 in the book of Acts, and was one of Paul’s key early influences5. John Mark’s fitness for ministry would later be commended in Paul’s last inspired letter. He wrote to his disciple Timothy and spoke of John Mark’s usefulness for ministry work6.

One of the later influences in Mark’s Christian life was the Apostle Peter. The closest thing we have to a “Gospel of Peter” is this gospel of Mark, written close to the time when Mark served as Peter’s secretary and translator.

Much like Peter, it is John Mark’s style to be quick with his words.

We call this book the “docudrama” of the synoptic gospels: fast-moving, abrupt, emotional, always changing scenes, and focused more on action than words.

Perhaps more than any other gospel writer, Mark strings together multiple events in conjunction, often three to five passages in a row, and invites readers to “connect the dots” to better understand the grace of God in the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus.

1 Acts 13:13
2 Acts 15:36-41
3 Colossians 4:10
4 Acts 4:37
5 Acts 9:27
6 2 Timothy 4:11

Introduction to Mark

The Docudrama Gospel.

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