Introduction To Gospel Written Down By Mark

Gospel of MarkThis is a very exciting time for me personally. I just finished writing a book called “The Kind of All Israel: My Journey through the Gospel of John” and my heart is longing now to begin a new adventure.

This time I invite you to travel to Jesus through the road map we have come to know as the Gospel of Mark. This new study is my running journal that documents my heart’s journey through it and invites you to come along as well.

Why did I chose to deal with the Gospel of Mark next? Well… there is an interesting and almost anecdotal reason behind it. I picked this Gospel because of how different it is from the Gospel of John.

It can be said that some people divide humanity into men and women, rich and poor, west and east, educated and uneducated (and the list can go on and on), but as one my mentors Daniel Boyarin amply put it, the world (well at least the Christian world) is divided into those who love the Gospel of John and those who love the Gospel of Mark! I think that while this is a mere anecdote, it has a lot of truth in it. The two Gospels are very different in their approach, content and style, so it is only natural that people with different styles, interests and approaches relate to one Gospel more than to the other.

A wonderful scholar and friend in Jerusalem told me once that Gospel of John is the one Gospel he just does not like to read since he can never follow its logic and this drives him crazy. While Mark and based upon it Luke and Matthew he is able to relate to very well (millions feel the same way).[1] Opposite to this wonderful man of God’s opinion, there is a testimony of millions of other Christians that in spite of difficult passages in the Gospel of John derive the greatest amount of spiritual nourishment from this Gospel.

Some may take the above statement as valuing some parts of Holy Scriptures over others, instead of simply “going with” what theologians call “the whole council of God” – meaning entire Biblical tradition on equal footing.

I do not see it this way. We have ample examples from the New Testament authors that justify this perspective. They certainly do not quote from or allude to all the books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in equal measure. They too have their “favorites”. The three book from which the New Testament quotes the most are the Book of Isaiah, Psalms and Deuteronomy. Incidentally, Isaiah, Psalms and Deuteronomy were the three books that were also found in greatest amounts of copies in Qumran, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. There is no denial that from the four Gospels, John and Mark from the beginning took the lead in capturing the spiritual imagination of Christians. So, once we slowly walked through John it seemed like a wonderful idea to see what this Gospel has to say about Jesus.

NOTE: To enroll into new LIVE online “Jewish Background of the New Testament” course taught by me, please, leave your info by clicking HERE. (eTeacherBiblical is registering students for 50% of the regular tuition cost of its courses). Our class is to begin with 2 weeks time.

These two Gospels are very different. For example, in the New Testament studies for a long time it has been costmary to divide the four Gospels into the works of greater or lesser Jewishness (a nonsensical idea). For example, the most traditional statement is to say that the Gospel of Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels, while the Gospel of Mark was the least Jewish of them all. If you either read my book King of All Israel or took a part in our Jewish Studies for Christians Study Group you know my point of view on this:

I think that all Gospels, including the Gospel of John come to us from the Jewish matrix. Some address the issues of Christ-following non-Israelites more (like Mark and Matthew) and some much more (like Luke), some almost not at all (like John), but all of them are authored from within the counters of rich and diverse Jewish theologies and missiologies of the day.

When the Gospels are read by all Christians through the perceptions of the first century Israelites, new and surprising insights will surely emerge.

Therefore, with this brief introduction, I invite you, my dear friend, to join my exploration and to reread the Gospel of Mark as a Jewish first century document. Let us assume the opposite from what we were taught about this Gospel and see what happens.

May the Lord open our minds and hearts to receive his gracious teachings. May He add his great blessings to our readings and interpretations of His magnificent word!


Aveinu Malkeinu, Our Father Our King,

With great passion and urgency, we ask you to open up our minds and hearts,

so that we can see Jesus and Him only.


NOTE: To enroll into new LIVE online “Jewish Background of the New Testament” course taught by me, please, leave your info by clicking HERE. (eTeacherBiblical is registering students for 50% of the regular tuition cost of its courses). Our class is to begin with 2 weeks time.

[1] Approximately 70% of Matthew’s Gospel and the Gospel of Luke is the exact text of the Gospel of Mark. This is the main reason these three Gospels are called “synoptic” meaning they are so similar that it can be said they are “looking in the same direction.”

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  1. Drs. Charles van den Berg

    Critical examination of the originality Mark 16±9/20 is the centuries hindered by its place in the traditional church.
    During the counsel of Trente (1545-1563) in a statement clearly based on Mark 16:15, the decree “Decretum de Canonicis Scriptures “ affirms that `If anyone receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and knowingly and deliberately condemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema.” This , since Mark 16:9-20 is part of the Gospel of Mark in , the standard for Roman Catholic canon.
    During the Protestant Reformation; Martin Luther used Mark 16:16 as the basis for a doctrine in his Shorter Catechism. The American textual critic Bruce Metzger is the one you really introduced Mark 16/9/20 is not part of the original text.
    Sometimes we have to let go of old beliefs that we hold to receive new things. I’m curious about your new post Eli.

  2. Sheila

    Hi Dr. Eli!

    I just finished reading Boyarin’s book, “The Jewish Gospel.” You had pointed me to him months ago and so I read the article you suggested and then went on to read 3-4 others found on his bio page at the university. Thanks so much! His book also expounds on the book of Mark and how Jewish the “Son of Man” high Christology is. Very important for Christians to grasp that truth.

    I always look forward to your new posts. Very edifying. Keep us posted on the publishing of your new book. Thanks again!


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you! I am glad it was beneficial to you!

  3. Marinete Almeida

    Very good, Dr. Eli

    I’ like your text a lot, we’ll have a great knowledge about mark’s book by the jews influence.
    I’ll be with you..

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you, Marinete. We are in this together. Dr. Eli

  4. Kostya

    I am currently leading a study of Mark’s gospel with a group.. I am looking forward to studying it in more depth with you and the group.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Good to hear Kostya.

  5. elijahworkz

    Great! I’m excited! As part of our service we read words of Jesus from Mark together, before we let kids go to their classes. It’s been great to incorporate actual words (teaching) of Jesus into our service.

    I’m really looking forward to see this Gospel from a Jewish perspective and see what new insights and treasures there are.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think the strength of our group is that we are a lot people that are thinking about the same issues and are able to challenge each others misconception and offer to each other our different perspectives.

  6. Joan Lesabe

    Shalom Dr Eli
    Thanks for this post. I find the gospel of Mark different especially with some of its miracles. Mark 7:33-35 & 8:23.-26 I wonder why he commanded the man not to go back to the same village?. Why dont we find this in the other gospels.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      We will surely deal with it!

  7. Premkumar Samuel

    Looking forward Dr.Eli . We were told that John mark was the spokes person of the Apostle peter and there is a legend that he is the young man who fled naked. looking forward Sir and may the LORD bless your wonderful ministry.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Some even suggested that since it was (people think) penned by John Mark from the Peter’s testimony then it should be properly called The Gospel according to Peter, penned by Mark.

  8. Drs. Charles van den Berg

    Dear Eli,
    To hear you’re writing on the Jewish content of the gospel of Markus, makes me excited.
    After “ Jewish New Testament Commentary” (David Stern) , The Jewish Annotated New Testament ( Amy-Jill Levine, Marc. Z. Brettler and others) and “The Jewish Gospels” ( Daniel Boyarin), I think it’s time for a new standard –work to help Christianty to come into awareness of their Jewish roots they have rejected and often are forgotten.
    Thank you Eli, for all wealth you gave us all in your comments on the gospel of John. I wish you God’s abundant blessings for this new adventure.

    Drs . Charles van den Berg

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you, dear Drs. Charles van den Berg,

      for this encouragement. I am calling it for now the Jewish Son of God: My Heart Journey through the Gospel of Mark. I suppose I want it to be a personal jouney without the pressure of having to become a standard work on something. I think it gives me the greatest amount of freedom to say what I think.

      1. Drs. Charles van den Berg

        Really good things can only be born from a personal heart journey in great freedom. After that, others can make it to a standard for their thinking. With your permission, your comments on the Gospel of John already became a kind of standard for my thinking about this Gospel, because you gave it a new and veraciously setting.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          I am grateful for your encouragement.

  9. gustavo vargas angel

    Dear DR.:
    I was very expectant about your new post; I really hope take a very big amount of knowledge as with the gospel of John, very enlightening¡ There I got a new visual, according the participants(a very big number), however, the matrix is only one: Jesus and His message on the kingdom of the Lord. Good for you! Best regards.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      We are in it together.

  10. Mª Ruth Gomez

    Shalom, Dr. Eli:
    Hope your next coment in the Gospel of Mark will be as surprising and exciting as the John’s one
    Blessings in Jesus’ name.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Many many thanks for your kind words. May the Lord lead us to all truth.