International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Mark, the Gospel According to
2. Material Peculiar to Mark
5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher
1. General Character
4. Original Language
1. External Evidence
2. Internal Evidence
1. The Gospel for Romans
2. Plan of the Gospel
1. Person of Christ
2. The Trinity
I. Our Second Gospel.
The order of the Gospels in our New Testament is probably due to the early conviction that this was the order in which the Gospels were written. It was not, however, the invariable order. The question of order only arose when the roll was superseded by the codex, our present book-form. That change was going on in the 3century. Origen found codices with the order John-Matthew-Mark-Luke - due probably to the desire to give the apostles the leading place. That and the one common today may be considered the two main groupings - the one in the order of dignity, the other in that of time. The former is Egyptian and Latin; the latter has the authority of most Greek manuscripts, Catalogues and Fathers, and is supported by the old Syriac.
Within these, however, there are variations. The former is varied thus: John-Matthew-Luke-Mark, and Matthew-John-Mark-Luke, and Matthew-John-Luke-Mark; the latter to Matthew-Mark-John-Luke. Mark is never first; when it follows Luke, the time consideration has given place to that of length.
II. Contents and General Characteristics.
The Gospel begins with the ministry of John the Baptist and ends with the announcement of the Resurrection, if the last 12 verses be not included. These add post-resurrection appearances, the Commission, the Ascension, and a brief summary of apostolic activity. Thus its limits correspond closely with those indicated by Peter in Acts 10:37-43 . Nothing is said of the early Judean ministry. The Galilean ministry and Passion Week with the transition from the one to the other (in Acts 10) practically make up the Gospel.
2. Material Peculiar to Mark:
Matter peculiar to Mark is found in Mark 4:26-29 (the seed growing secretly); Mark 3:21 (his kindred's fear); Mark 7:32-37 (the deaf and dumb man); Mark 8:22-26 (the blind man); Mark 13:33-37 (the householder and the exhortation to watch); Mark 14:51 (the young man who escaped). But, in addition to this, there are many vivid word-touches with which the common material is lighted up, and in not a few of the common incidents Mark's account is very much fuller; e.g. 6:14-29 (death of John the Baptist); Mk 7:1-23 (on eating with unwashen hands); 9:14-29 (the demoniac boy); Mark 12:28-34 (the questioning scribe). There is enough of this material to show clearly that the author could not have been wholly dependent on the other evangelists. Hawkins reckons the whole amount of peculiar material at about fifty verses ( Hor . Syn ., 11).
In striking contrast to Matthew who, in parallel passages, calls attention to the fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus, Mark only once quotes the Old Testament and that he puts in the very forefront of his Gospel. The Isa part of his composite quotation appears in all 4 Gospels; the Malachi part in Mark only, though there is a reflection of it in John 3:28 . This fact alone might convey an erroneous impression of the attitude of the Gospel to the Old Testament. Though Mark himself makes only this one twofold reference, yet he represents Jesus as doing so frequency. The difference in this respect between him and Matthew is not great. He has 19 formal quotations as compared with 40 in Matthew, 17 in Luke and 12 in John. Three of the 19 are not found elsewhere. The total for the New Testament is 160, so that Mark has a fair proportion. When Old Testament references and loose citations are considered the result is much the same. Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek give Matthew 100, Mark 58, Luke 86, John 21, Acts 107. Thus. the Old Testament lies back of Mark also as the authoritative word of God. Swete ( Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek , 393) points out that in those quotations which are common to the synoptists the Septuagint is usually followed; in others, the Hebrew more frequently. (A good illustration is seen in Mark 7:7 where the Septuagint is followed in the phrase, "in vain do they worship me" - a fair para-phrase of the Hebrew; but "teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men" is a more correct representation of the Hebrew than the Septuagint gives.) Three quotations are peculiar to Mark, namely, Mark 9:48; Mark 10:19; Mark 12:32 .
Judged by the space occupied, Mark is a Gospel of deeds. Jesus is a worker. His life is one of strenuous activity. He hastens from one task to another with energy and decision. The word εὐθύς ,
The following are the miracles recorded by Mark: the unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28 ), the paralytic (Mark 2:1-12 ), the withered hand (Mark 3:1-5 ), the storm stilled (Mark 4:35-41 ), the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-17), Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:22 ff), the woman with the issue ( Mark 5:25-34 ), feeding the 5,000 (Mark 6:35-44 ), feeding the 4,000 (Mark 8:1-10 ), walking on the water (Mark 6:48 ff); the Syrophoenician's daughter ( Mark 7:24-30 ), the deaf mute (Mark 7:31-37 ), the blind man (Mark 8:22-26 ), the demoniac boy (Mark 9:14 ff), blind Bartimeus ( Mark 10:46-52 ), the fig tree withered (Mark 11:20 ff), the resurrection ( Mark 16:1 ff). For an interesting classification of these see Westcott's Introduction to Study of the Gospels , 391. Only the last three belong to Judea.
5. The Worker Is also a Teacher:
Though what has been said is true, yet Mark is by no means silent about Jesus as a teacher. John the Baptist is a preacher (Mark 1:4 , Mark 1:7 ), and Jesus also is introduced as a preacher, taking up and enlarging the message of John. Very frequent mention is made of him as teaching (e.g. Mark 1:21; Mark 2:13; Mark 6:6 , etc.); indeed the words διδαχή ,
There is a multitude of graphic details: Mark mentions actions and gestures of Jesus (Mark 7:33; Mark 9:36; Mark 10:16 ) and His looks of inquiry (Mark 5:32 ), in prayer (Mark 6:41; Mark 7:34 ), of approval (Mark 3:34 ), love (Mark 10:21 ), warning (to Judas especially Mark 10:23 ), anger (Mark 3:5 ), and in judgment (Mark 11:11 ). Jesus hungers (Mark 11:12 ), seeks rest in seclusion (Mark 6:31 ) and sleeps on the boat cushion (Mark 4:38 ); He pities the multitude (Mark 6:34 ), wonders at men's unbelief (Mark 6:6 ), sighs over their sorrow and blindness (Mark 6:34; Mark 8:12 ), grieves at their hardening (Mark 3:5 ), and rebukes in sadness the wrong thought of His mother and brothers, and in indignation the mistaken zeal and selfish ambitions of His disciples (Mark 8:33; Mark 10:14 ). Mark represents His miracles of healing usually as instantaneous (Mark 1:31; Mark 2:11 f; Mark 3:5 ), sometimes as gradual or difficult (Mark 1:26; Mark 7:32-35; Mark 9:26-28 ), and once as flatly impossible "because of their unbelief" (Mark 6:6 ). With many vivid touches we are told of the behavior of the people and the impression made on them by what Jesus said or did. They bring their sick along the streets and convert the market-place into a hospital (Mark 1:32 ), throng and jostle Him by the seaside (Mark 3:10 ), and express their astonishment at His note of authority (Mark 1:22 ) and power (Mark 2:12 ). Disciples are awed by His command over the sea (Mark 4:41 ), and disciples and others are surprised and alarmed at the strange look of dread as He walks ahead alone, going up to Jerusalem and the cross (Mark 10:32 ). Many other picturesque details are given, as in Mark 1:13 (He was with the wild beasts); Mark 2:4 (digging through the roof); Mark 4:38 (lying asleep on the cushion); Mark 5:4 (the description of the Gerasene demoniac); Mark 6:39 (the companies, dressed in many colors and looking like flower beds on the green mountain-side). Other details peculiar to Mark are: names ( Mark 1:29; Mark 3:6; Mark 13:3; Mark 15:21 ), numbers (Mark 5:13; Mark 6:7 ), time (Mark 1:35; Mark 2:1; Mark 11:19; Mark 16:2 ), and place (Mark 2:13; Mark 3:8; Mark 7:31; Mark 12:41; Mark 13:3; Mark 14:68 and Mark 15:39 ). These strongly suggest the observation of an eyewitness as the final authority, and the geographical references suggest that even the writer understood the general features of the country, especially of Jerusalem and its neighborhood. (For complete lists see Lindsay, Mark's Gospel , 26 ff.)
III. The Text.
Of the 53 select readings noted by Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek ( Intro ), only a few are of special interest or importance. The following are to be accepted: ἐν τῷ Ἠσαία τῷ προφήτῃ , ( Mark 1:2 ) ἁμαρτήματος , (Mark 3:29 ); πλήρης , (indeclinable, Mark 4:28 ); ὁ τεκτων , (Mark 6:3; Jesus is here called "the carpenter"); αὐτοῦ , (Mark 6:22 , Herod's daughter probably had two names, Salome and Herodias); πυγμῆ , (Mark 7:23 , "with the fist," i.e. "thoroughly," not πυκνά , "oft"). Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek are to be followed in rejecting πιστεῦσαι , (leaving the graphic Εί δύνῃ , (Mark 9:23 )); καὶ νηστείᾳ , (Mark 9:29 ); πᾶσα ...ἀλισθήσεται ( Mark 9:49 ); τοῦς ... χρήμασι ( Mark 10:24 ); but not in rejecting υίοῦ θεοῦ ( Mark 1:1 ). They are probably wrong in retaining οὔς ὠνόμασαν ( Mark 3:14; it was probably added from Luke 6:31 ); and in rejecting καί κλινῶν and accepting ῥαντίσωνται instead of βαπτίσωνται ( Mark 7:4; ignorance of the extreme scrupulosity of the Jews led to these scribal changes; compare Luke 11:38 , where ἐβαπτίσθη is not disputed). So one may doubt ἠπόρει ( Mark 6:20 ), and suspect it of being an Alexandrian correction for ἐποίει which was more difficult and yet is finely appropriate.
The most important textual problem is that of Mark 16:9-20 . Burgon and Miller and Salmon believe it to be genuine. Miller supposes that up to that point Mark had been giving practically Peter's words, that for some reason those then failed him and that Mark 16:9-20 are drawn from his own stores. The majority of scholars regard them as non-Markan; they think Mark 16:8 is not the intended conclusion; that if Mark ever wrote a conclusion, it has been lost, and that Mark 16:9-20 , embodying traditions of the Apostolic Age, were supplied later. Conybeare has found in an Armenian manuscript a note referring these verses to the presbyter Ariston, whom he identifies with that Aristion, a disciple of John, of whom Papias speaks. Many therefore would regard them as authentic, and some accept them as clothed with John's authority. They are certainly very early, perhaps as early as 100 AD, and have the support of Codices Alexandrinus, Ephraemi, Bezae, Xi, Gamma, Delta, Zeta all late uncials, all cursives, most versions and Fathers, and were known to the scribes of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, who, however, do not accept them.
It is just possible that the Gospel did end at verse 8. The very abruptness would argue an early date when Christians lived in the atmosphere of the Resurrection and would form an even appropriate closing for the Gospel of the Servant (see below).
1. General Character:
Mark employs the common coloquial Greek of the day, understood everywhere throughout the Greek-Roman world. It was emphatically the language of the Character people, "known and read of all men." His vocabulary is equally removed from the technicalities of the schools and from the slang of the streets. It is the clean, vigorous, direct speech of the sturdy middle class.
Of his 1,330 words, 60 are proper names. Of the rest 79 are peculiar to Mark, so far as the New Testament is concerned; 203 are found elsewhere only in the Synoptics, 15 only in John's Gospel, 23 only in Paul (including Hebrews), 2 in the Catholic Epistles (1 in James, 1 in 2 Peter), 5 in the Apocalypse (Revelation) (see Swete, Commentary on Mark ). Rather more than a fourth of the 79 are non-classical as compared with one-seventh for Luke and a little more than one-seventh for Mr. Hawkins also gives a list of 33 unusual words or expressions. The most interesting of the single words are σχιζομένους ,
There are indications that the writer in earlier life was accustomed to think in Aramaic. Occasionally that fact shows itself in the retention of Aramaic words which are proportionately rather more numerous than in Matthew and twice as numerous as in Luke or John. The most interesting of these are ταλειθά κούμ ,
Latinisms in Mark are about half as numerous as Aramaisms. They number 11, the same as in Matthew, as compared with 6 in Luke and 7 in John. The greater proportion in Mark is the only really noteworthy fact in these figures. It suggests more of a Roman outlook and fits in with the common tradition as to its origin and authorship.
For certain words he has great fondness: εὐύς 42 times; ἀκάθαρτος 11 times; βλέπω , and its compounds very frequently; so ἐπερωτᾶν , ὑπάγιεν , ἐξουσία , εὐαγγέλιον , προσκαλεῖσθαι , ἐπιτιμᾶν compounds of πορεύεσθαι , ουνζητειν , and such graphic words as ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι , ἐμβριμᾶσθαι , ἐναγκαλίζεσθαι , and φιμοῦσθαι . The following he uses in an unusual sense: ἐνεῖχεν , πυγμῇ , ἀπεχει , ἐπιβαλών .
The same exact and vivid representation of the facts of actual experience accounts for the anacolutha and other broken constructions , e.g. Mark 4:31 f; Mark 5:23; Mark 6:8 f; Mark 11:32 . Some are due to the insertion of explanatory clauses, as in Mark 7:3-5; some to the introduction of a quotation as in Mark 7:11 f. These phenomena represent the same type of mind as we have already seen (II., 6. above).
The style is very simple. The common connective is καί ,
4. Original Language:
That the original language was Greek is the whole impression made by patristic references. Translations of the Gospel are always from, not into, Greek. It was the common language of the Roman world, especially for letters. Paul wrote to the Romans in Greek. Half a century later Clement wrote from Rome to Corinth in Greek. The Greek Mark bears the stamp of originality and of the individuality of the author.
Some have thought it was written in Latin. The only real support for that view is the subscription in a few manuscripts (e.g. 160,161, ἐγράφη Ῥωμαΐστί ἐν Ῥώμῃ ,
Blass contended for an Aramaic original, believing that Luke, in the first part of Acts, followed an Aramaic source, and that that source was by the author of the Second Gospel which also, therefore, was written in Aramaic. He felt, moreover, that the text of Mark suggests several forms of the Gospel which are best explained as translations of a common original. Decisive against the view is the translation of the few Aramaic words which are retained.
1. External Evidence:
The external evidence for the authorship is found in the Fathers and the manuscripts. The most important patristic statements are the following:
Clement of Alexandria - circa 200
Also (Eus., HE , II, 15): "So charmed were the Romans with the light that shone in upon their minds from the discourses of Peter, that, not contented with a single hearing and the viva voce proclamation of the truth, they urged with the utmost solicitation on Mark, whose Gospel is in circulation and who was Peter's attendant, that he would leave them in writing a record of the teaching which they had received by word of mouth. They did not give over until they had prevailed on him; and thus they became the cause of the composition of the so-called Gospel according to Mk. It is said that when the apostle knew, by revelation of the Spirit, what was done, he was pleased with the eagerness of the men and authorized the writing to be read in the churches."
Also xi: "Accordingly he had Titus as interpreter just as the blessed Peter had Mark whose Gospel was composed, Peter narrating and Mark writing."
Preface Commentary on Matthew: "The second is Mark, interpreter of the apostle Peter, and first bishop of the Alexandrian church; who did not himself see the Lord Jesus, but accurately, rather than in order, narrated those of His deeds, which he had heard his teacher preaching."
To these should be added the Muratorian Fragment - circa 170
These names represent the churches of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, and practically every quarter of the Roman world. Quite clearly the common opinion was that Mark had written a Gospel and in it had given us mainly the teaching of Peter.
That our second Gospel is the one referred to in these statements there can be no reasonable doubt. Our four were certainly the four of Irenaeus and Tatian; and Salmon ( Introduction ) has shown that the same four must have been accepted by Justin, Papias and their contemporaries, whether orthodox or Gnostics. Justin's reference to the surname "Boanerges" supports this so far as Mark is concerned, for in the Gospel of Mark alone is that fact mentioned ( Mark 3:17 ).
A second point is equally clear - that the Gospel of Mark is substantially Peter's. Mark is called disciple, follower, interpreter of Peter. Origen expressly quotes "Marcus, my son" (1 Peter 5:13 the King James Version) in this connection. "Disciple" is self-explanatory. "Follower" is its equivalent, not simply a traveling companion. "Interpreter" is less clear. One view equates it with "translator," because Mark translated either Peter's Aramaic discourses into Greek for the Hellenistic Christians in Jerusalem (Adeney, et al.), or Peter's Greek discourses into Latin for the Christians in Rome (Swete, et al.). The other view - that of the ancients and most moderns (e.g. Zahn, Salmon) - is that it means "interpreter" simply in the sense that Mark put in writing what Peter had taught. The contention of Chase ( HDB , III, 247) that this was a purely metaphorical use has little weight because it may be so used here. The conflict in the testimony as to date and place will be considered below (VII).
There is no clear declaration that Mark himself was a disciple of Jesus or an eyewitness of what he records. Indeed the statement of Papias seems to affirm the contrary. However, that statement may mean simply that he was not a personal disciple of Jesus, not that he had never seen Him at all.
The Muratorian Fragment is not clear. Its broken sentence has been differently understood. Zahn completes it thus: "( ali ) quibus tamen interfuit , et ita posuit ," and understands it to mean that "at some incidents (in the life of Jesus), however, he was present and so put them down." Chase (
The patristic testimony may be regarded as summarized in the title of the work in our earliest manuscripts, namely, κατὰ Μάρκον ,
2. Internal Evidence:
The internal evidence offers much to confirm the tradition and practically nothing to the contrary. That Peter is back of it is congruous with such facts as the following:
(1) The many vivid details referred to above (III, 6) must have come from an eyewitness. The frequent use of λέγει ,
(2) Certain awkward expressions in lists of names can best be explained as Mark's turning of Peter's original, e.g. Mark 1:29 , where Peter may have said, "We went home, James and John accompanying us." So in Mark 1:36 (contrasted with Luke's impersonal description, Luke 4:42 f); Mark 3:16; Mark 13:3 .
(3) Two passages (Mark 9:6 and Mark 11:21 ) describe Peter's own thought; others mention incidents which Peter would be most likely to mention: e.g. Mark 14:37 and Mark 14:66-72 (especially imperfect ἠρνεῖτα ,
(4) In Mark 3:7 the order of names suits Peter's Galilean standpoint rather than that of Mark in Jerusalem
(5) Generally Mark, like Matthew, writes from the standpoint of the Twelve more frequently than Luke; and Mark, more frequently than Matthew, from the standpoint of the three most honored by Jesus. Compare Mark 5:37 with Matthew 9:23 , where Matthew makes no reference to the three; the unusual order of the names in Luke's corresponding passage (Luke 8:51 ) suggests that James was his ultimate source. The language of Mark 9:14 is clearly from one of the three, Luke's may be, but Matthew's is not. The contrast in this respect between the common synoptic material and Lk 9:51 through 18:14 lends weight to this consideration.
(6) The scope of the Gospel which corresponds to that outlined in Peter's address to Cornelius (Acts 10:37-41 ).
(7) The book suits Peter's character - impressionable rather than reflective, and emotional rather than logical. To such men arguments are of minor importance. It is deeds that count (Burton, Short Intro ).
It may seem to militate against all this that the three striking incidents in Peter's career narrated in Matthew 14:28-33 (walking on the water), Matthew 17:24-27 (tribute money), and Matthew 16:16-19 (the church and the keys), should be omitted in Mark. But this is just a touch of that fine courtesy and modesty which companionship with Jesus bred. We see John in his Gospel hiding himself in a similar way. These men are more likely to mention the things that reflect discredit on themselves. It is only in Matthew's list of the Twelve that he himself is called "the publican." So "Peter never appears in a separate role in Mark except to receive a rebuke" (Bacon).
As to Mark's authorship , the internal evidence appears slight. Like the others, he does not obtrude himself. Yet for that very reason what hints there are become the more impressive.
There may be something in Zahn's point that the description of John as brother of James is an unconscious betrayal of the fact that the author's own name was John. There are two other passages, however, which are clearer and which reinforce each other. The story of the youth in Mark 14:51 seems to be of a different complexion from other Gospel incidents. But if Mark himself was the youth, its presence is explained and vindicated. In that case it is likely that the Supper was celebrated in his own home and that the upper room is the same as that in Acts 12. This is favored by the fuller description of it in Mark, especially the word "ready" - a most natural touch, the echo of the housewife's exclamation of satisfaction when everything was ready for the guests. It is made almost a certainty when we compare Mark 14:17 with the parallels in Matthew and Luke. Matthew 26:20 reads: "Now when even was come, he was sitting at meat with the twelve disciples"; Luke 22:14 : "And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the apostles with him"; while Mark has: "And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve." The last represents exactly the standpoint of one in the home who sees Jesus and the Twelve approaching. (And how admirably the terms "the twelve disciples," "the apostles" and "the twelve" suit Matthew, Luke, and Mark respectively.) Such phenomena, undesigned (save by the inspiring Spirit), are just those that would not have been invented later, and become the strongest attestation of the reliability of the tradition and this historicity of the narrative. Modern views opposed to this are touched upon in what follows.
VI. Sources and Integrity.
We have seen that, according to the testimony of the Fathers, Peter's preaching and teaching are at least the main source, and that many features of the Gospel support that view. We have seen, also, subtle but weighty reasons for believing that Mark added a little himself. Need we seek further sources, or does inquiry resolve itself into an analysis of Peter's teaching?
B. Weiss believes that Mark used a document now lost containing mainly sayings of Jesus, called Logia (L) in the earlier discussions, but now commonly known as Q (Quelle). In that opinion he has recently been joined by Sanday and Streeter. Harnack, Sir John Hawkins and Wellhausen have sought to reconstruct Q on the basis of the non-Markan matter in Matthew and Luke. Allen extracts it from Matthew alone, thinking that Mark also may have drawn a few sayings from it. Some assign a distinct source for Mark 13 . Streeter considers it a document written shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, incorporating a few utterances by Jesus and itself incorporated bodily by Mark. Other sources, oral or written, are postulated by Bacon for smaller portions and grouped under X. He calls the final redactor
In forming a judgment much depends upon one's conception of the teaching method of Jesus and the apostles. Teaching and preaching are not synonymous terms. Matthew sums up the early ministry in Galilee under "teaching, preaching and healing," and gives us the substance of that teaching as it impressed itself upon him. Mark reports less of it, but speaks of it more frequently than either Matthew or Luke. Jesus evidently gave teaching a very large place, and a large proportion of the time thus spent was devoted to the special instruction of the inner circle of disciples. The range of that instruction was not wide. It was intensive rather than extensive. He held Himself to the vital topic of the kingdom of God. He must have gone over it again and again. He would not hesitate to repeat instructions which even chosen men found it so difficult to understand. Teaching by repetition was common then as it is now in the East. The word "catechize" ( κατηχέω ,
The novelty in His teaching was not in method so much as in content, authority and accompanying miraculous power (Mark 1:27 ). Certainly He was far removed from vain repetition. His supreme concern was for the spirit. Just as certainly He was not concerned about a mere reputation for originality or for wealth and variety of resources. He was concerned about teaching them the truth so effectively that they would be prepared by intellectual clearness, as well as spiritual sympathy, to make it known to others. And God by His Providence, so kind to all but so often thwarted by human self-will was free to work His perfect work for Him and make all things work together for the furtherance of His purpose. Thus incidents occur, situations arise and persons of all types appear on the scene, calling forth fresh instruction, furnishing illustration and securing the presentation of truth in fullness with proper balance and emphasis and in right perspective.
Thus before His death the general character of that kingdom, its principles and prospects, were taught. That furnished the warp for the future Gospels. The essence, the substance and general form were the same for all the Twelve; but each from the standpoint of his own individually saw particular aspects and was impressed with special details. No one of them was large enough to grasp it all, for no one was so great as the Master. And it would be strange indeed, though perhaps not so strange as among us, if none of them wrote down any of it. Ramsay, Salmon and Palmer are quit justified in feeling that it may have been put in writing before the death of Jesus. It may well be that Matthew wrote it as it lay in his mind, giving us substantially Harnack's Q. John and James may have done the same and furnished Luke his main special source. But whether it was written down then or not, the main fact to be noted is that it was lodged in their minds, and that the substance was, and the details through mutual conference increasingly became, their common possession. They did not understand it all
Then follow the great events of His death and resurrection, and for forty days in frequent appearances He taught them the things concerning the kingdom of God and expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself, especially the necessity of His death and resurrection. These furnished the woof of the future Gospels. But even yet they are not equipped for their task. So He promises them His Spirit, a main part of whose work will be to bring to their remembrance all He had said, to lead them into all the truth, and show them things to come. When He has come they will be ready to witness in power.
The apostles' conception of their task is indicated in some measure by Peter when he insisted that an indispensable qualification in a successor to Judas was that he must have been with them from the beginning to the end of Christ's ministry, and so be conversant with His words and deeds. From the day of Pentecost onward they gave themselves preeminently to teaching. The thousands converted on that day continued in the teaching of the apostles. When the trouble broke out between Hebrews and Hellenists, the Seven were appointed because the apostles could not leave the word of God to serve tables. The urgency of this business may have been one reason why they stayed in Jerusalem when persecution scattered so many of the church (Acts 8:2 ). They were thus in close touch for years, not only through the struggle between Hebrews and Hellenists, but until the admission of the GentileCornelius and his friends by Peter had been solemnly ratified by the church in Jerusalem and possibly until the Council had declared against the contention that circumcision was necessary for salvation. During these years they had every opportunity for mutual conference, and the vital importance of the questions that arose would compel them to avail themselves of such opportunities. Their martyr-like devotion to Jesus would make them quick to challenge anything that might seem a misrepresentation of His teaching. The Acts account of their discussions at great crises proves that conclusively. To their success in training others and the accuracy of the body of catechetical instruction Luke pays fine tribute when he speaks of the "certainty" or undoubted truth of it (Luke 1:4 ). Thus Jesus' post-resurrection expositions, the experience of the years and the guidance of the Spirit are the source and explanation of the apostolic presentation of the gospel.
Of that company Peter was the recognized leader, and did more than any other to determine the mold into which at least the post-resurrection teachings were cast. Luke tells us of many attempts to record them. He himself in his brief re
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