Taking Mark one chapter/Sunday is an interesting endeavor. On the one hand, we honor Mark’s way of telling the story of Jesus’ earth-time-ministry. On the other hand, there is a lot of stuff that happens that receives either a cursory mention, or none at all because every instance of speech or action has tremendous power.
Many of the friends who attend Covenant Presbyterian Church with me long for ‘more’. More on this section or that, more on the book as a whole, or more clarity from another voice as they supplement their prayerful reading of the text.
I don’t like to recommend books without a long conversation because every book has an agenda. I only feel comfortable recommending if I think that that agenda is one you might benefit from. But, I do not mind sharing the books that I enjoyed about a topic, or the specific books that form how I am preaching Mark.
1. There is no substitute for reading Mark, and then re-reading it. Especially this book, action-oriented, easy narrative division between chapters 8 and 9, with the deliberate hinge in 8:29 “Who do you say that I am?”
2. Tim Keller’s “Jesus the King” is delightful. Dr. Keller does not cover every verse. But, you cannot beat him for clarity about any section of the Bible in light of the Good News of Jesus.
3. Hans Bayer’s “A Theology of Mark” is a medium-level scholastic book focused on reading Mark in light of Jesus claims about Himself and the ramifications that has on His disciples (medium level means it is theological, but it does not do a lot with the Greek). Specifically, Dr. Bayer offers 7 repeated discipleship foci in Mark (and elsewhere). In our series at the BARN each will come up twice in this series.
4. “Mark for Everyone” A brief and helpful commentary on the book of Mark by NT Wright. Made for group discussions and study.
Supplemental work I rely upon, but do not consult each week: “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” (Richard Bauckham), “Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels” (IVP), and “Storytelling God” (A terrific New England Pastor/Teacher named Jared Wilson).