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Of Mark, the writer of this gospel, little is certainly known. He is commonly supposed to be the same that is several times mentioned in the New Testament. He was not an apostle, or companion of the Lord Jesus, during his ministry, though some of the Fathers affirm that he was one of the seventy disciples. This is improbable, as he is mentioned by Peter (1 Pe 5:13) as his son; from which it is supposed that he was converted by the instrumentality of Peter.

From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister's son to Barnabas, (Col 4:10;) and that his mother's name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and primitive Christians often assembled, Ac 12:12.

His Hebrew name was John, (Ac 12:12,) and it is probable that he adopted a name better known, or more familiar, when he visited the Gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age. He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, in their journeys to propagate Christianity, Ac 13:5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them in Pamphylia, and probably returned to Jerusalem, Ac 15:38. Probably at this time he was the companion of Peter, and travelled with him to Babylon, 1 Pe 5:13. Afterwards he went with Barnabas to Cyprus, Ac 15:39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul, in company with Timothy, 2 Ti 4:11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there, but how long is uncertain, Col 4:10; Phm 1:24. From Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, we hear that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64.

The time when this gospel was written is not certainly known. It is supposed to have been between the years 56 and 63. It is allowed by all that it was written at Rome; of course, it was during the latter years of his life, after the apostles had left Judea, Mr 16:20. Mark was, for a considerable time, the companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Saviour in his ministry, yet, from his long acquaintance with Peter, he was familiar with the events of his life, and with his instructions. The uniform testimony of the Fathers is, that he was the interpreter of Peter, and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his approbation. It has come down to us, therefore, with the sanction of Peter's authority. Its right to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned. That it was written by Mark; that it was with Peter's approbation; that it was a record of the facts which Peter stated in his ministry; and that it was, therefore, an inspired book has never been questioned.



Verse 1. The beginning of the Gospel. The word gospel literally signifies good tidings, and particularly the good tidings respecting the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. Some have understood the word gospel here to mean, history or lifethe beginning of the history, etc. But Mark says nothing of the early life of the Saviour. It has reference rather to the preaching of John, an account of which immediately follows, and means the beginning of the good news, or annunciation, respecting the Messiah. It was very customary thus to prefix a title to a book.

The Son of God. This title was used here to attract attention, and secure the respect of those who should read this gospel. It is no common history. It does not recount the deeds of man—of a hero, or philosopher— but the doctrines and doings of THE SON OF GOD. The history, therefore, commands respect.

{a} "the Son of God" Heb 1:1,2

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