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Holman Bible Dictionary

Mark, John

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Early missionary and church leader; author of second Gospel. He was the son of Mary in whose home the Jerusalem believers met to pray when Peter was imprisoned by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:12 ). Mark was sometimes called by his Jewish name, John, and sometimes by his Roman name, Mark.

John Mark was kin to Barnabas (Colossians 4:10 ). After Barnabas and Saul completed a relief mission to Jerusalem, they took Mark with them when they returned to Antioch (Acts 12:25 ). When Barnabas and Saul went as missionaries, they took Mark to help (Acts 13:5 ). They went from Antioch to Cyprus and then on to Pamphylia, where Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13 ). The most likely reason was because Paul had become the dominant missionary and was taking the gospel to Gentiles (Acts 13:4-12 ). Later, when Paul and Barnabas planned another journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark. When Paul refused, Barnabas and Mark went together while Paul and Silas went together (Acts 15:36-40 ).

When Paul wrote Philemon, Mark was one of Paul's fellow workers who sent greetings (Philippians 1:24 ). Paul wrote to the Colossians to receive Mark if he came to them (Colossians 4:10 ). When Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy, he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him because Paul considered Mark a useful helper (2 Timothy 4:11 ).

Peter referred to Mark as his “son,” and sent greetings from him near the end of his first letter (1 Peter 5:13 ).


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Mark, John'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/m/mark-john.html. 1991.

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