The Remarkable Career of John Mark And What it Says Especially to Pastors & Pastoral Students: Pt. 1 – The Bible Tells Stories About People

by | Apr 21, 2020 | New Testament, Practical Theology

The Bible Tells Stories About People

One of the special things about the Bible is that it tells stories—stories not just about God, but about human beings. This makes it much more interesting actually than the Koran which simply provides saying after saying and is in my opinion not only terribly wrong but deadly boring.  Usually stories in the Bible about particular persons are told in one book.  Sometimes you will get the same story in two books of the Bible.  Occasionally, as in the supremely important story of the Christ, these stories are told in four gospels.

But the story of the person I want to talk about in this blog series is actually told in bits and pieces across the New Testament. It is not told in any one, continued account. These bits and pieces of the story I have in mind are told in six books of the New Testament.  This is the unusual way in which the Holy Spirit decided to tell the story of the man called, John Mark.

I have been preaching on the Book of Acts on and off for a couple of years now to GRBC Owensboro.  Recently, I took the time to enlarge on the little statement in Acts 13:5 about John Mark. It reads as follows: “When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.” 

As I have studied the references to this man in the New Testament, I have divided the story told of his life into seven chapters.  I have entitled them, The Remarkable Career of John Mark.  But before I come to that, there are a couple of things to be said by way of introduction:

The first thing is that there are actually four different Johns in the New Testament. 

  • The first and least known John is the father of Simon Peter. He is only mentioned in the Gospel of John. Cf. John 1:42; 21:15-17.
  • The second is well-known. It is John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus.  He is the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, the relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
  • There is John the Apostle, the brother of James.  James and John were “the Sons of Thunder” and the sons of Zebedee.
  • There is also John Mark. As we will discover, he was the cousin of Barnabas.

We will discover a great deal about John Mark from the several mentions of him in the New Testament.  But there is something else you need to know.

John Mark is not always identified in the same way.  There are passages that refer to him as John Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37). There are passages that refer to him as John (Acts 13:5; 13). And there are passages that refer to him simply as Mark (Acts 15:39; Col. 4:10; Phm. 1:24; 2 Tim. 4:11; 1 Pet. 5:13). There is even a passage which I think speaks of him without giving us his name (Mark 14:51-52).

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