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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Mark 1

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

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Verses 1-45


Study this lesson in comparison with Matthew to discover what Mark omits and what, if anything, he adds; and then consider the same in its bearing on the object or purpose of the Gospel as described in the “Introductory” lesson.

The following analysis will aid:

Introduction (Mark 1:1 ) · Testimony of John the Baptist (Mark 1:2-8 ) · Testimony of God the Father (Mark 1:9-11 ) · Victory in the Wilderness (Mark 1:12-13 ) · Call of the Disciples (Mark 1:14-20 ) · Works of Power (Mark 1:21 to Mark 2:12 ) The introduction is without a parallel in the other Gospels. Its abruptness is almost startling, but the chief feature of it is its testimony to Christ’s deity. The Servant of Jehovah is at the same time “the mighty God” (See Isaiah 9:6 ).

John’s testimony is paralleled in Matthew 3:1-11 , but here it is much briefer (See the last lesson). Compare the intervening chapters of Matthew and observe in detail what Mark has omitted the genealogy, the Virgin birth, the visit of the wise men, the sojourn in Egypt, the settlement in Nazareth. None of these important events evidently fall in with the purpose of this Gospel. The Romans will be attracted by activity and strength, and hence the writer begins at once at the ministry of Christ.

God’s testimony to His Son is paralleled in Matthew 3:13-17 . Note here the first use of “straightway,” as referred to in the “Introduction,” and that Mark says Jesus “saw the heavens opened.” Among minor points Mark’s Gospel is notable for descriptive details of this kind.

The wilderness victory is found in Matthew 4:1-11 , and the student will be impressed with its succinctness here. Compare “driveth” with “led” in Matthew, and note the bearing on the supposed objective of this Gospel. The different temptations are omitted, but reference is made to “wild beasts,” which is also characteristic.

For what is placed here under the call of the disciples, see Matthew 4:12-22 and the comments there.

The works of power are paralleled in part in Matthew 8-9. Note another descriptive touch in Mark’s reference to the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, “He took her by the hand and lifted her up” (Mark 1:31 ). Also his reference to Christ’s early rising to pray (Mark 1:35 ), and in the case of the leper His being “moved with compassion” (Mark 1:41 ). He alone speaks of the “four” men who bore the one sick of the palsy (Mark 2:3 ).

It is interesting to observe at the close of this lesson that the journey it includes describes a kind of circle, since Jesus began His work in the synagogue at Capernaum (Mark 1:21 ), traveled to the adjacent towns and throughout all Galilee (Mark 1:38-39 ), returning to Capernaum again. Do not fail to use a map here.


1. Did you read again the chapters in Matthew leading up to the events of this lesson in Mark?

2. What strikes you as peculiar in Mark 1:1 ?

3. Among minor points for what is Mark’s Gospel noted?

4. What four illustrations of this are found in the last division of this lesson?

5. Have you examined a map in connection with this lesson?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Mark 1". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/mark-1.html. 1897-1910.
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