The Gospel attributed to Mark is the shortest of the Gospel accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is also, according to most scholars, the first of the gospels to be written. And when you start at chapter 1 verse one, and read it straight through to the end of chapter 16, it moves very quickly. (I know because I once took a class where we were handed a manuscript of Mark (no chapter/verse designations) and sent to various parts of the campus to read it aloud!) If I could only read one of the synoptic gospels this is probably the one I would pick.
Based on this Gospel account, William Boekstein has given us a book with 21 studies for individual or group use. Bible Studies on Mark (Reformed Worship Inc., 2016) starts at the very beginning and goes through the book, offering insights and opinions on the text.
I appreciated the thought that Boekstein put into writing these studies, and for the most part enjoyed reading through them, although at times it seemed like there was a disconnect between some of the material presented, and the questions at the end of each chapter. I was also confused, in this study of Mark, why the author felt the need to explain why Matthew’s gospel started with a genealogy. And that disconnect, for me, continued throughout the book. Although he made a point of suggesting that one should study one gospel at a time, he made frequent references to other gospels and to the New Testament letters.
As I mentioned earlier, the Gospel of Mark is very fast paced. In the NIV, the word immediately is used 11 times, and a frequent time indicator is ‘then’. Unfortunately this book didn’t maintain the pace of the gospel. The details that Boekstein provides fit more with the gospel of Luke than of Mark.
Having said that, there is a lot to be gleaned from this book, just as there is from the Gospel on which it is based.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.