Bible Study Questions for Mark

Session 1.

1 What do you know about Mark’s gospel and its author?

2 Read Mark 1:1-8. What is “the gospel”? Why is this only “the beginning”?

3 What is significant about John’s clothing?

4 What connection is there between “gospel” and “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”?

5 Read Mark 1:9-13. Why is Jesus baptised?

6 What else are we told happened then?

7 Read Mark 1:14-20. What does Jesus mean by “the kingdom of God”?

8 Is the calling of disciples important – if so, why?

9 We have read just 20 verses, but already had three “Acts”. What is your impression of the way Mark tells the story?

Session 2

1 What do you remember as important from the opening of Mark we discussed last week?

2 Read Mark 1:21-28. Where did Jesus teach? And why was it surprising? What makes you listen to the opinions of one person rather than another – and does that tell you anything about how we should share faith?

3 What is the importance of the healing of the man with the impure spirit?

4 Read Mark 1:29-34. What is remarkable about this healing? Why do you think Jesus does it?

5 Why “after sunset” v32? Why will Jesus not let the demons speak? – and what does this imply?

6 Read Mark 1:35-39. Why does Jesus go to prayer early?

7 How do you think the disciples felt about Jesus decision to move on?

8 Read Mark 1:40-45. Why do you think Jesus was “indignant”; what does this say about contentment and anger? Why the instruction to tell no one (compare verse 34)?

9 The first chapter has given us some idea of the impact Jesus ministry had: healing, teaching, causing surprise, and sometimes offence. Why is there less impact now?

Session 3.

1 This year we have been reading (mainly) Matthew on Sundays. What differences do you notice between Matthew and Mark?

2 Read Mark 2:1-12. Where is Jesus apparently living? How do you think the four friends felt about the crowd? How do you think the

householder felt about his roof?

3 What connections are made between healing and faith? And between healing and sin?

4 What is the complaint of v7, and how is it answered?

5 Read Mark 2:13-17. What’s wrong with tax collectors (in the first century Galilee)? Why does Jesus call Levi (often identified with “Matthew”)?

6 Compare this story with 1 Cor 15:33, Ps 84:10, Prov 12:26, Prov 22:5. How can they fit together? Does v17 help provide and answer?

7 Read Mark 2:18-22 What is the point of fasting? What reasons are given for doing it? What times of fasting are you aware of in Anglican tradition?

8 What reason does Jesus give in vv19-20? In what ways might this still apply?

9 What point do vv21-22 make?

10 In these 3 stories, Jesus seems to be doing things in a new way. What is different, and does it still apply?

Session 4

1. In Mark 2, Jesus begins to face questions and criticism. Is it normal for Christians to be questioned and criticised? If so, why is this? What should we expect and prepare for?

2. Read Mark 2:23-28 What was the Sabbath law talked about here? Where does it come from?

3. In what ways does Sabbath law still apply, and in what ways is it altered?

4. Read Mark 3:1-6 If this was a deliberate “set up”, how does Jesus respond – who and what is important to him?

5. How would you answer the question in v4? How does this answer explain your attitude to God’s commands, and to the traditions you are used to?

6. Why are the Pharisees and Herodians so annoyed with Jesus (v6)? What is he threatening, and why is Jesus not content to compromise on this issue?

7. Read Mark 3:7-12 Why was Jesus so popular? What was the boat for – what did Jesus insist on doing as well as healing?

8. Read Mark 3:13-19 What were the 12 appointed for? Is this still the job of Christian disciples?

9. As we continue to read short stories, what themes come up repeatedly? Are these things Mark is trying to make sure we understand and remember?

Session 5

1. Last week we read of Jesus facing hostile opposition as well as the pressures of celebrity status. How do you feel about being the centre of attention? Are you able to be the Christian person you want to be when criticised, or praised? Which is more difficult?

2. Read Mark 3:20-35. Notice Mark wrapping one story (v22-30) in another (v20-21 + 31-35). What is the accusation of v22? Is it reasonable?

3. What is Jesus’ answer?

4. vv28-29 have sometimes caused great distress. What does Jesus mean by “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”, and why is it unforgivable?

5. In vv20-21 + 31-35, what is the family’s motivation, and Jesus’ response? How do you think they felt? Why did Jesus react in this way? Is there anything for us to learn from this?

6. Read Mark 4:1-9 and Mark 4:10-20. It is probably very familiar. What is Mark’s punchline or climax to the story? Does this suggest the emphasis is more on wasted seed, or harvest?

7. What effect do you think this parable would have had on the disciples? Should it have a similar purpose for us today?

8. What is our responsibility – do we need to agonise over the wasted seed? What will be asked of us when we give an account of our lives?

9. Read Mark 4:21-25. Compare v23 and v9. What is being asked here? Does this help with question 8?

10. As we find Jesus teaching more demanding, are we also finding more support and strength to make discipleship possible?