The Encourager

The Encourager

“The Gospel of Mark; by Jeff Curtis”

The Gospel of Mark

By Jeff Curtis


The Gospel of Mark has an appealing vividness. It is brief, pointed, succinct, and written with realism and lifelikeness. The account leaves out the birth narratives, and, beginning with verse 2 of the verse chapter, it proceeds immediately into the ministry of John the Baptist.


In regard to Jesus’ public addresses, the book has only two of His long discourses (4:3-32; 13L5-37). The omission results in this Gospel containing less of Jesus’ teachings that the other three Gospel accounts.


Mark contains a few unique verses. Perhaps no more than fifty verses of this Gospel are not found in either Matthew or Luke. This fact has led to the view that the writer recorded the core of the Gospel story that Peter preached.


The style of writing joins realism with simplicity. In a straightforward fashion, we, the reader become almost an eyewitness. James Morrison, seeing the writing style as plain and easy to read, described it as “homely, humble, unadorned, and altogether devoid of literary artifice or art.”


The narrative of this Gospel is characterized with rapidity. Ralph Earle referred to Mark as being similar to a movie: “It might be said that, while Matthew and Luke furnish us with color-slides of the life of Christ and John presents a studied portrait, Mark gives us moving picture of the Master’s ministry.” Marvin Vincent referred to Mark as “pre-eminently the pictorial Gospel.” Even though fewer words are used, this account always reveals something the other Gospels don’t tell us.


Mark allows us to look into the hearts of the characters of this story. The book reveals how the disciples of Jesus reacted in their hearts to His words and deeds (4:41). Likewise, it gives the mental response of the crowds who gathered around Him (1:27; 2:7).


Concerning the structure of sentence and using of tenses, Mark makes use of the Greek “historic present” 151 times. This technique of writing is apparently used “to portray and event vividly, as though the reader were in the midst of the scene as it unfolds.”  


Sometimes the book uses the aorist tense in the first part of a sentence and then conjoins it with the present tense in the second part of the sentence (1:30). It also uses the imperfect tense to accomplish the same purpose (1:37). Combining the two tenses in this way, Mark makes the past and the present work together effectively to reveal the action of the present. In addition, with this grammar construction, Mark gives a vividness and a rapid pace to the presentation of the story.