FUNNY THING ABOUT THE GENT credited with writing the Gospel of Mark—the only Bible book about Jesus that most scholars agree didn’t get finished. The book ends with Jesus asking some women to go tell his disciples that he’s back from the dead. But the women didn’t tell anyone. “They were terrified speechless” (Mark 16:8 Casual English Bible).
Long before the gent wrote the book with that weird ending, he was already famous for not finishing what he started.
Mark is an anonymous book, like all the Gospels. But early church leaders say it was written by John Mark. He was a cousin of Barnabas. And he traveled with Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first of several mission trips. All three men traveled together across the island of Cyprus. But by the time they hit the swamplands on the southern coast of what is now Turkey, John Mark apparently had his fill. He turned around and sailed back home (Acts 13:13).
Paul was livid.
When it came time for a second mission trip, John Mark wanted to go along. Barnabas wanted to take him. Paul refused. In fact, Paul and Barnabas had a big argument about this and parted company. Barnabas and John Mark sailed to Cyprus. Paul returned to Turkey, taking along a colleague named Silas (Acts 15:40).
Some Bible experts guess that John Mark didn’t have a chance to finish the book. Others say that Mark intended it as a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger isn’t unprecedented in the Bible. That’s pretty much how the Book of Acts ends, with Paul under arrest in Rome, awaiting a trial that could end in his execution.
That was a sample
What you just read is an excerpt from the Leader’s Guide and Atlas for the Gospel of Mark. I’ll be releasing it soon, as a PDF download.
The Q&A leader’s guide is ready to go, with more than 170 discussion questions and responses for the 16 chapters of Mark. Today, I’ll be creating the atlas PDF. I haven’t counted the maps yet, but there are plenty. Most of them are in 3D style, as usual.
You’ll get the see the discussion questions and maps for free, once I upload the Gospel of Mark paraphrase that I wrote for the Casual English Bible.
I’ll try to have it up in about a week.
This marathon project of paraphrasing the Bible is a delight. I hope you can tell by reading the paraphrase and the resources I’m adding to it.
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Victor Steven
- Cheryl Holmes
I give away free books every week to randomly selected Stateside subscribers to my free blog or my newsletter.
Winners get to choose from a stack of titles, including the Complete Guide to the Bible.
Note to the winner: send me an email and I’ll give you the full list of books from which you can choose.
The deal’s good for a month, or for as long as I have giveaway books available.