Who was Mark in the New Testament?

Early Christian tradition identifies John Mark as the author of the Gospel that bears his name. Medieval literature named him Mark the Evangelist. The name Mark is from the Latin Marcus, and is the surname of the writer (Acts 12:12, 25).

The book of Mark probably dates from AD 66–70. It is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It records the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to His death.

Papias, bishop of the city of Hierapolis is the first known writer who speaks of Mark as the author of the Gospel of Mark. In his Interpretations, as quoted in Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History iii. 39. 15; Loeb ed., vol. 1, p. 297), Papias’ implies that Mark served as a translator for Peter when he addressed audiences in whose language the apostle was not fluent. Many statements in the Gospel of Mark make evident that it was written for non-Jewish readers. Mark was obviously a Jew who knew Aramaic and was familiar with the Old Testament.

Although the book of Mark is the shortest of the Gospels, it presents the most powerful testimony of all. Mark emphasizes Jesus as a Man of action, signs, and, wonders which is his primary testimony to the divinity of Jesus, whereas Matthew presented Jesus as the fulfillment of  Old Testament prophecies.

Mark’s mother was Mary (Acts 12:12). And he was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), who at one time had been a resident of the island of Cyprus (Acts 4:36). Mark’s home in Jerusalem seems to have been the house in which was the “upper room” (Matt. 26:18), where some of the apostles lived after the resurrection and the ascension (John 20:19; Acts 1:13), and where the early church in Jerusalem gathered (Acts 12:12).

John Mark escorted Paul and Barnabas on the first part of their first missionary journey (ch. 13:5, 13). On a later journey, Mark traveled with Barnabas to the island of Cyprus (ch. 15:36–39). Later he seems to have ministered under the guidance of Peter and Paul (1 Peter 5:13; Col. 4:10 2 Tim. 4:11).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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