Introduction to the Gospel of Mark

Mark reveals Jesus the Servant

John Mark

Heritage Images / Contributor / Getty Images

The Gospel of Mark was written to prove that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. In a dramatic and action-packed sequence of events, Mark paints a striking image of Jesus.

Key Verses

  • Mark 10:44-45
    ...and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (NIV)
  • Mark 9:35
    Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (NIV)

Mark is one of the three Synoptic Gospels. As the shortest of the four Gospels, it was likely the first, or earliest to be written.

Mark illustrates who Jesus is as a person. The ministry of Jesus is revealed with vivid detail and the messages of his teaching are presented more through what he did than what he said. The Gospel of Mark reveals Jesus the Servant.

Who Wrote the Gospel of Mark?

John Mark is the author of this Gospel. It is believed that he was the attendant and writer for the Apostle Peter. This is the same John Mark who traveled as a helper with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13). John Mark is not one of the 12 disciples.

Date Written

The Gospel of Mark was written around AD 55-65. This was probably the first Gospel to be written since all but 31 verses are found in the other three Gospels.

Written To

Mark was written to encourage the Christians in Rome as well as the wider church.


John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark in Rome. Settings in the book include Jerusalem, Bethany, the Mount of Olives, Golgotha, Jericho, Nazareth, Capernaum, and Caesarea Philippi.

Themes in the Gospel of Mark

Mark records more miracles of Christ than any of the other Gospels. Jesus proves his divinity in Mark by the demonstration of miracles. There are more miracles than messages in this Gospel. Jesus shows that he means what he says and he is who he says.

In Mark, we see Jesus the Messiah coming as a servant. He reveals who he is through what he does. He explains his mission and message through his actions. John Mark captures Jesus on the move. He skips the birth of Jesus and dives quickly into presenting his public ministry.

The overriding theme of the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus came to serve. He gave his life in service to mankind. He lived out his message through service, therefore, we can follow his actions and learn by his example. The ultimate purpose of the book is to reveal Jesus' call to personal fellowship through daily discipleship.

Key Characters

Jesus, the disciples, the Pharisees, and religious leaders, Pilate.

Missing Verses

Some of the earliest manuscripts of Mark are missing these closing verses:

Mark 16:9-20
Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation...”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. (ESV)

Outline of the Gospel of Mark

  • The Preparation of Jesus the Servant - Mark 1:1-13.
  • The Message and Ministry of Jesus the Servant - Mark 1:14-13:37.
  • The Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Servant - Mark 14:1-16:20.
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Introduction to the Gospel of Mark." Learn Religions, Aug. 29, 2020, Fairchild, Mary. (2020, August 29). Introduction to the Gospel of Mark. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Introduction to the Gospel of Mark." Learn Religions. (accessed March 27, 2023).

Watch Now: The Gospel of Mark in the Bible