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Mark 13 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-2 - A seemingly simple reference to the amazing buildings surrounding the temple introduces one of the most mysterious chapters in Mark's gospel.

  • v3-4 - Jesus and his disciples go back out of the city to the Mount of Olives (this is a habit of Jesus we've seen often, to where He steps away from the busyness of life for times of silence with God). Therefore, this chapter is often called the Olivet Discourse.

  • v5-8 - Jesus warns you to watch out for deceivers.

    • Many will claim to be Christ returning.

    • There will always be wars & earthquakes,

      • so just because bad things happen it doesn't mean the end is near.

      • Jesus says these things "are just the beginning of birth pains (v8)."

  • v9-13 - Jesus instructs you to be on your guard.

    • The world is going to attack you because you stand with Christ.

    • Your family may even betray you.

    • But stand firm in Christ to the end, and you will be saved (v13).

  • v14-20 - If you're wondering what "the abomination that causes desolation" is (v14), you're in good company. Jesus is quoting from the prophet Daniel in saying this, but the passages Jesus refers to are some of the most difficult in the Bible to interpret.

    • Some good Christians will say that what Jesus describes here is still to come.

    • Most Reformed theologians will interpret these events Jesus is describing as having already occurred when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD.

  • v21-23 - Once again, Jesus tells you to be on guard, to not be swayed by this or that occurring.

    • Be grateful and take confidence in the fact that as one of God's elect, you will be able to stand firm no matter what happens (v22).

  • v24-27 - Jesus again draws on imagery from Daniel to announce His return. Don't worry that somehow you might miss Christ's return.

    • Tremendous phenomena will occur:

      • The sun will go dark and the moon will disappear.

      • Stars will fall from the sky.

    • The Son of Man will come down from the clouds with great glory.

    • The angels will gather you and the rest of God's elect.

  • v28-29 - We've already read about the significance of fig trees as a metaphor for God's people (Mark 11), and now Jesus points to it again.

    • When the church begins to blossom, you'll know the end is near.

  • v30-37 - What does Jesus mean when he tells the disciples that "this generation" will not pass away until these things have happened?

    • Most of the disciples generation was still alive when Jerusalem fell.

    • But Jesus' words here have a bigger application as well. We've read in Mark that the Kingdom of God has come (1:15, 9:1), and so in many ways we've been living through the 'end times' for the last 2,000 years. Remember, God doesn't keep track of time the same way we do.

    • After promising that His Words will never pass away, Jesus ends this teaching with the same two commands:

      • Be on guard and alert (v33);

      • and keep watch (v37).


Page through the second half of the book of Daniel (chapters 7-12) which prophesy about the end of the world. It will be easy to find lots of mysterious, hard to understand passages, but see how many clear passages you can find and learn from.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: The very last thing Jesus says in this chapter is a brief command, and it could easily be considered the most important thing in the chapter. In many Bible translations this command is only one word. What is it?

  2. Summarize the most important principles you’ve seen so far in Mark that tell Christians today how to “follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Only our Father knows when the end will come (v32)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask for the strength and fortitude to be on guard, alert and keeping watch.



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