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Who wrote the book of Mark? Who was the author of Mark?

author of Mark

The book of Mark, written by John Mark, is considered the earliest Gospel by the majority of scholars and commentators, though some scholars argue for Matthew’s priority. In the New Testament canon, Mark is placed after Matthew and offers a distinct perspective on Jesus. In contrast to Matthew’s Jewish-centric approach, Mark is targeted to a non-Jewish audience. It presents facts concisely and provides explanations for Jewish customs and traditions unnecessary for Jewish readers (for example, Mark 7:3–4). Mark portrays Jesus as God’s servant, distinct from Matthew’s emphasis on kingship, offering a multifaceted view of the Son of God.

Although the Gospel does not explicitly mention Mark as the author, Christian tradition attributes it to him, with good reasons. Eusebius, citing Papias, states that Mark wrote using Peter’s testimony delivered in sermons. This explains the non-chronological sequence and emphasis on Jesus’ actions. Early church figures like Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement, and Tertullian support this traditional view. Mark likely composed his Gospel in Rome after Peter’s death, accounting for the non-Jewish audience.

Internal clues suggest Peter’s influence on Mark’s work. These clues are detailed by apologist J. Warner Wallace (, accessed 3/11/24). Peter is mentioned frequently, referred to with some degree of familiarity, and is the first and last disciple mentioned in the text (Mark 1:16; 16:7). Using Peter’s name as “bookends” for the Gospel is an example of a literary device known as an “inclusio,” and, in Mark’s case, it is used to cite an eyewitness. Mark also omits information on Peter that could be seen as embarrassing to him (see Mark 5:21–34; cf. Luke 8:42–48).

The Mark who wrote the book is believed to be John Mark, mentioned in other parts of Scripture. In the book of Acts, the early church met in his mother’s house (Acts 12:12). John Mark was also a companion of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 12:25) and a cousin of the latter (Colossians 4:10). However, Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas at a point in their first missionary journey, probably out of discouragement (Acts 13:13). Paul lost trust in him due to his actions, leading to an eventual rift (Acts 15:38). Given Mark’s unimpressive resume, Paul’s later commendation of Mark indicates a remarkable turnaround (Philemon 1:23–24). Toward the end of Paul’s life, we witness a full reconciliation between Paul and Mark (2 Timothy 4:11).

God can work through anyone, including someone formerly deemed unreliable and a deserter.

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This page last updated: March 14, 2024