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The reasons for writing Mark are catechetical instruction; liturgical use in church services; to cover up the failure by Jesus to proclaim himself as the Messiah; to soften the political offensiveness to the Roman authorities; and, finally, to encourage persecuted Christians to understand that Jesus also suffered and died.
Giving new converts catechetical instruction as a reason for writing the Gospel of Mark – doesn’t hold up because Mark did not give much of Jesus’s teaching in his gospel. The outline and discussion of our text says a lot of things, but teaching is not suggested throughout the Book. Therefore it is clearer that Mark was more informational than instructional.
As far as a Mark’s gospel being written for liturgical use in church services. This comes from the word liturgy meaning a form of public worship; ritual. There are arrangement difficulties concerning style, smoothness and symmetry of Mark that do not support a liturgical document. Another objection I have with this is that a lot of writing was not the norm for teaching during the second century because religion was regularly practiced in synagogues and temples so a written gospel probably wasn’t what they used.
Jesus did not brag. However, those who think Mark writes to cover up a failure to proclaim Himself as the Messiah are missing the mark. Jesus says, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” KJV John 12:47. That was not something he kept secret, however, His miracle working prowess was not hidden, or something he seemed to be ashamed of. There appears to be an explanation for some of this in that He didn’t want to get thronged by the press of people who would want to come near Him for similar miracles to happen to them.
The softening of the political offensiveness was due to the “messianic secret” spoken about by some who thought that Mark was writing to cover up Jesus not proclaiming Himself as the Messiah. This is not likely, because people knew of Jesus from other testimonies of what was already being orally preached about at the time. The political sensation at the time was Hellenistic and Rome really didn’t care one way or another about Jesus so it would not have been necessary to lessen political stressors about Jesus.
To encourage persecuted Christians is another possible reason for writing the Gospel of Mark. This is a double-edged sword because at the time, to believe in Christ could cost you your life, so it is understandable why such a view could be considered. However I object because the people who believed in Christ already knew the risks for their faithfulness. Furthermore the Apostles preached much of what Jesus had been through monotonously and included that they would also likely suffer similar fates so such an explanation in the written form would not have been needed.
I believe the reason for the Book of Mark is as stated in 2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” Some have also written that the Gospel of Mark was a transcribing of what Peter was an eye-witness to, that was told to “John Mark” to tell us what Peter saw of Jesus so that we would believe.
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