Chapter By Chapter: Mark

This study breaks down the book of Mark using my Chapter By Chapter Bible study template. The short version: for each chapter, I write down a summary, the meaning in the larger context of the book, and a representative verse. Get the full rundown, or use it for your own study by filling out the form below.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1

The beginning of Jesus’s ministry. John the Baptist baptizes Him, and Satan tempts Him. Jesus calls disciples, preaches, prays, and heals in Galilee.

Jesus is anointed by John and by God as the Messiah and prepared for His ministry by the temptation of Satan. He begins his ministry in Galilee.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
—1:15

2

Jesus confronts religious leaders in Capernaum over Levi the tax collector, fasting, and Sabbath. He first forgives sins when He heals the paralytic.

Jesus shows He’s introducing a new paradigm. He eats with sinners, forgives sins, heals paralytics, and resets the purpose of Sabbath.

“New wine is for fresh wineskins.”
–2:22

3

The Pharisees first plot to kill Jesus, while huge crowds gather to hear Him and be healed. He calls the remaining apostles and denies healing by Satan’s power.

Jesus again rejects putting laws above service by healing on the Sabbath. He declares His authority over Satan and foreshadows opening the Kingdom to Gentiles.

“For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
—3:35

4

Jesus teaches about faith and hearing in parables: the sower, the lamp under the basket, the growing seed, and the mustard seed. He calms a storm on the sea.

Jesus draws distinctions between those who listen and understand and those who do not. Those who hear and obey will enter the growing Kingdom of God.

“To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables.”
—4:11

5

Jesus performs three healing miracles in the Decapolis: the Gerasene possessed by legions, the woman with the twelve-year issue of blood, and Jairus’s daughter.

Jesus shows His disciples that His power is for Gentiles also, not just Jews. He demonstrates authority over legions of demons, chronic illness, and even death.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
—5:34

6

Jesus preaches in His hometown, but finds little faith. He sends His disciples to preach. They retreat from the crowds, but end up feeding the five thousand.

Jesus’s teaching has made Him too popular, so He withdraws, but He continues serving, teaching, praying, and performing miracles even as He retreats.

He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
—6:34

7

Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for corrupting Moses’s laws and corrects them. Jesus heals the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter and the deaf Gentile in the Decapolis.

Jesus reveals the Kingdom of God in two ways: He shifts the focus of cleanliness from external to internal; and He heals two Gentiles in spectacular ways.

“There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
—7:15

8

Jesus again tries to retreat from the crowds, but feeds the four thousand anyway. Peter confesses He is the Christ, and He prophesies His death and resurrection.

The turning point of Mark: Jesus confirms Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, and reveals the true nature of His mission and what it means to follow.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
—8:34

9

Peter, James, and John see Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah. He heals the boy the disciples couldn’t, and again prophesies His death and resurrection.

Jesus’s transfiguration and God’s blessing mirror His baptism and inaugurate the second half of His mission: to go to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and rise again.

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
—9:35

10

Jesus corrects the Pharisees on divorce, His disciples on welcoming children, the rich young ruler on true discipleship, and the disciples again on greatness.

Jesus teaches about true discipleship: allegiance to God’s laws, not man’s; childlike faith; trust in God, not wealth; and willingness to suffer to serve.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
—10:45

11

Jesus enters Jerusalem riding a colt. He cleanses the temple of corrupt merchants, curses a fig tree, and decisively wins a challenge from the chief priests.

Jesus’s entry on a colt alludes to Davidic kings, confirming Bartimaeus’s claim. Cleansing the temple foreshadows His replacing it with Himself.

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
—11:9b-10

12

Jesus’s final public teaching and confrontation with religious leaders. Parable of the tenants, Caesar’s taxes, marriage and resurrection, the Great Commandment.

The parable of the tenants prophesies God rejecting Jewish leaders and welcoming Gentiles into His Kingdom. Jesus defies three final challenges to His authority.

“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’”
—12:10

13

“The Olivet Discourse.” Jesus prophesies the end times and provides instructions to prepare for it, watch for it, and endure it in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus prepares His beloved disciples for temptation, deception, and suffering in the service of God. Servants of God, like Jesus Himself, must endure much.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
—13:31

14

Jesus hosts Passover, instituting the Lord’s Supper and the New Covenant. He prays in Gethsemane, Judas betrays Him, the council tries Him, and Peter denies Him.

Preparations for Jesus’s death: anointing for burial, Judas’s initial betrayal, the Last Supper, prayers in the garden, and Judas’s final betrayal.

“Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
—14:25

15

The Sanhedrin council turns Jesus over to Pilate, who finds Him innocent but has Him flogged, mocked with the crown of thorns, and eventually crucified anyway.

The Passion begins with the illegitimate trial, where Jesus finally admits He is the Christ. At last, He is first. On the cross, He trusts and endures to the end.

“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
—15:39b

16

Three women bring spices to anoint Jesus’s body, but the tomb is open and an angel declares, “He has risen.” He gives the Great Commission and ascends to Heaven.

Jesus goes before the apostles to Galilee. In His resurrection, as in His life, He goes before us and gives us instructions to take up our own crosses and follow.

“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”
—16:6

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