Skip to main content

Mark for the rest of us




Mark (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Vol. 2 by Mark L. Strauss

This newer commentary set put out by Zondervan is an excellent series, and this volume on Mark by Mark L. Strauss is no different.  Many of you will no doubt recognize Strauss, as he has labored in the field of NT studies for many years, producing substantial works on the gospels, choosing a translation of the bible, and his newest work is on paradoxes in the Bible.  This work, coming in at the hefty weight of 784 pages, leaves no stone unturned as Strauss covers introductory matters, textual issues, commentary, and theology.  The helpful layout of the book made for easy reading in that you could looking at the Scripture and Mark’s commentary alongside each other, comparing notes and engaging the original text in an accessible manner. 

What I particularly enjoyed about this commentary was its judicious balance of weighing the importance of Mark’s narrative alongside cultural and grammatical insights.  While Strauss bears witness to the importance of the term “gospel” for a Greco-Roman audience (enthronement of a king or emperor’s birthday), he helpfully points us to the OT usage where Isaiah envisions a time where the sovereign reign of God over the cosmos would endure and this would be predicated by peace (60).  Strauss goes onto to connect this theme with Jesus’ preaching on the kingdom of God.  While it is important to stress the Greco-Roman usage of gospel, Strauss helpfully steer us toward the ensuing narrative where John Mark talks about preparing for the messenger who will prepare the way for Jesus.  This overarching narrative of God’s act of bringing his kingdom with a King is part and parcel of what it means that salvation is near. 

In terms of the more disputed matters, Strauss take Markan priority, he sees Mark 16.9-20 as not part of the original text, and he focuses in on discipleship and Christology as providing the main lens in which to view Mark.  His scholarship is impeccable, wide-ranging and fair to opposing sources.  He references the Qumran scrolls, looks at cultural elements from Homer to rabbinic interpretations and carefully engages the latest NT scholarship. 


I hope you will enjoy this volume and be encouraged by its words.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…