Mark 1 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1 - Buckle up, because the book of Mark moves fast. Notice just in the bullet points below how each section begins with words written in a way that pushes the narrative forward and you along with it. Mark's gospel starts with the same word Genesis starts with: Beginning. Chapter one isn't about the creation of the universe, it's about the beginning of the gospel (good news).

  • v2-8 - "And so John appeared..."

  • Before telling about John the Baptist, Mark appeals to the prophet Isaiah to show where John's authority came from. Notice how much of the New Testament depends upon and fulfills the Old Testament.

  • John came from the wilderness, and in a few verses we'll read about Jesus being led into the wilderness. Any guesses as to what the 'wilderness' is a metaphor for? (think of how the wilderness is the opposite of the Garden at the Bible's other beginning chapter in Genesis)

  • John came baptizing with water, which was not an unheard of thing to do in order to signify purification from sin. But what made John different was that he pointed forward to one who would baptize not with water, but the Holy Spirit.

  • v9-11 - "At that time..."

  • Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, along with thousands of others.

  • What makes Jesus' baptism so different was what happened next:

  • Heaven was torn open (the curtain of the temple will be torn open after Jesus dies).

  • This is the only spot in the Bible where all three members of the Trinity are visibly active at the same time.

  • v12-13 - "At once the Spirit..."