The Gospel According to Mark

Mantegna's St. Mark |

MarkNIV archaeological study Bible: An Illustrated walk through Biblical history and culture. (2005). Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan. 9780310938521.

Mark was the second gospel I finished in the Read through the Bible Challenge. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four gospels. Also, this gospel is probably the oldest.  

Beth Moore recognizes Mark as the one who “wrote to tell the Romans what Jesus did” (Moore, 2002). I’ve long viewed Mark as the news journalist of the group. He relays the facts in summary.  

Below is the end of the Gospel. Earliest texts do not include these verses:

9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

   12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

   14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

   15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16: 9 -20)

For more on Mark and Bible-Reading Challenge, check out the following links:

The Gospel According to Matthew

St. Matthew | Bible Studies - Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

MatthewNIV archaeological study Bible: An Illustrated walk through Biblical history and culture. (2005). Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan. 9780310938521.

Matthew was the fifth book I finished in the Read through the Bible Challenge. The Gospel of Matthew is the first book comes of the New Testament and thus, the first Gospel (Good News) book I’ve read in this challenge.

Scholars normally give credit to Matthew the Disciple for the writing of this gospel and they consider this book one of the Synoptic Gospels. A Jewish tax collector, Jesus requested that Matthew (then Levi) follow Him as one of His disciples.

This gospel easily divides into four parts: I. The genealogy, birth, and infancy of Jesus, II. The life and ministry of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, III. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and IV. The sacrifice, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Great Commission.

The gospels of the New Testament form the bedrock of the Christian faith. 
Of all the gospels in the Bible, scholars and Christians alike consider Matthew the most Jewish-centric. Bible laureate and Christian hedonist Beth Moore calls Christians, saying “Matthew wrote to show that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah” (Moore, 2002). For example, Matthew begins by listing the genealogy of Jesus through His earthly father-figure Joseph and traces it all the way back to Abraham, the Father of the Nations.Still and all, Matthew does tell of Mary’s immaculate conception of the Messiah and that Jesus extended the gift of salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike.

So many of the verses of Matthew remain with me, however I’ve selected the Great Commission:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

For more on Matthew and Bible-Reading Challenge, check out the following links:

The Shack by William P. Young

God as you have never seen Him before.

God as you have never seen Him before.

Young, W. P. (2007). The shack: a novel. Newbury Park, Calif: Windblown Media.

The hostess of the Bible Study I attend each Tuesday determined that I, the librarian in the group, should choose a book for all of us to read for the summer. At the end of the season, the hostess wanted me to lead a discussion on the book I selected. Very quickly, my mom noticed The Shack by William P. Young. After I had read the first chapter on a website for the book, Mom and I quickly acquired the book. Soon, Mom had finished The Shack. Then, I was completely enthralled by this book myself.

The Shack is one book where a reader should start with the Foreword rather than skip to the first chapter. Here, the writer, “Willie” offers the reader a sketch of the protagonist, Mackenzie “Mack” Allen Phillips. Mack is a husband and a father of five children. While on a Labor Day weekend family camping trip with his three youngest children, his youngest child, Missy, is abducted. After seeing indications of Missy’s murder in an old shack, Mack feels The Great Sadness settle upon him. Four years later, Mack receives a letter from “Papa” (Mack’s wife, Nanette, calls God “Papa”). Papa invites Mack to the same shack for a weekend. When curiosity gets the best of Mack, Mack faces some of his darkest hours.

Overall, I was truly impressed by The Shack. I found Mack to be a sympathetic character. Also, I really appreciated Young’s writing style. I gather Young is a visual learner like me. I felt as though I could see perfectly the places and the situations where Mack walked. In addition, I like how this book presents questions such as: “Is it necessary to have a good, strong relationship with God?” “How can we be expected to forgive even the most heinous of crimes?” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Much controversy has taken place over this book, actually. Some stores do not even sell it for crazy views presented in The Shack. While I do not agree with everything said by the characters, I found many of the points made quite valid. In the end, The Shack is a work of fiction. Yet, one uneasy thing to do would be to forget this book. Like belief and trust, some of the events and concepts presented in The Shack take a Kierkagaardian Leap of Faith.

Five Out of Five Pearls

Places: Oregon, Nebraska, Heaven,