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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Introduction to Mark

  • Writer: Mark

  • Place Written: Rome

  • Writing Completed: c. 60-65 C.E.

  • Time Covered: 29-33 C.E.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • This is the shortest of the Gospel accounts. It is fast-moving. The Greek word eu·thysʹ, which can be rendered “immediately,” “at once,” “without delay,” occurs over 40 times. Mark’s Gospel account can be read through entirely in just one or two hours, giving the reader a dynamic view of Jesus’ life and ministry.

  • According to ancient tradition, the apostle Peter was the source of many of the eyewitness accounts that Mark recorded. (13:3) This would agree with the fact that Mark was associated with Peter in Babylon. (1Pe 5:13)

  • Mark frequently records how Jesus felt and reacted. (3:5; 7:34; 8:12; 9:36; 10:13-16, 21)

  • Mark emphasizes the activities of the Christ rather than Jesus’ sermons and teachings. Whereas Matthew portrayed Jesus as the promised Messiah and King, Mark shows us Jesus as a man of action​—the miracle-working Son of God, the conquering Savior. Mark refers to at least 19 miracles. In contrast, he records only a few of Jesus’ illustrations, one of which is exclusive to his Gospel. (4:26-29)

  • This Gospel may have been composed during the years 60-65 C.E. when Mark visited Paul in Rome.

  • While Matthew wrote his Gospel for the Jews, Mark evidently wrote primarily for the Romans. He explains Jewish customs and teachings that would be unfamiliar to non-Jewish readers. (2:18; 7:3, 4; 14:12; 15:42) He translates Hebrew and Aramaic expressions. (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36; 15:22, 34) He gives extra information about geographic locations and seasons that would not be needed by Jewish readers. (1:13; 11:13; 13:3) Using Roman money, he explains the value of coins commonly used by the Jews. (See study note on Mr 12:42.) He uses more Latin expressions and idioms than the other Gospel writers do. Some examples of this are the terms: speculator (bodyguard), praetorium (governor’s residence), and centurio (army officer). (6:27; 15:16, 39)