So many people see the Bible as puzzle pieces scattered on a table without the box.
They can tell you bits and pieces of stories they have heard in church, but rarely do they see the Bible as a whole, because we rarely just sit back and look at "The Big Picture".
Each week, we will take a book of the Bible and simplify it's main message, in order to help you understand the Bible as a whole. We will also mention a few main themes / lessons found in each book of the Bible. We are not trying to get too deep or even focus on one particular story, but rather tie the puzzle pieces together, so your personal study is more clear and enjoyable.
We will be using the book, "What the Bible is all About" by Henrietta C. Mears to gather our notes.
We recommend you purchase this book and use it for study - Click Here!
AUTHOR: Although the Gospel of Mark does not name its author, a tradition dating from the second century ascribes this book to John Mark (see Acts 12:12), a companion and spiritual son of Peter (see 1 Peter 5:13), and also an associate of Paul and Barnabas in their missionary endeavors. The early Church fathers also unanimously testified that the apostle Mark was the author.
DATE: The Gospel of Mark was likely one of the first books written in the New Testament, possibly in the late 50s or early 60s AD.
PURPOSE AND SUMMARY:
Scholars generally agree that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome for the Gentile believers. Mark accounts for the ministry of Jesus from His baptism to His ascension into heaven. Most scholars agree that Mark’s purpose was neither biographical nor historical but theological: to present Jesus as the Christ, the mighty worker rather than the great teacher. Hence, Mark makes fewer references to the parables and discourses of Jesus, but he meticulously records each of Jesus’ healings and miracles—20 specific miracles and allusions to others—as evidence of the fact that Jesus was the Messiah sent from God.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MARK’S GOSPEL
The skill of a gifted artist may lie in what he or she leaves out. An amateur crowds everything in. In keeping with Mark’s central purpose of emphasizing Jesus as the servant, many points covered in Matthew are omitted in Mark:
• There is nothing about the virgin birth. No reference to Jesus’ birth is made in the whole Gospel. This is significant. No one is interested in the pedigree of a servant.
The word “gospel” is used 17 times in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John together, and 8 of those times are in Mark. Yes, the servant is to bear good news! Another term that predominates Mark is the Greek word eutheos, which is translated as “immediately,” “at once,” “as soon as” and “without delay.” In all, this expression is found no fewer than 20 times in Mark’s Gospel. This is a servant’s word.
MARK 1:1-13: THE SERVANT PREPARED
The book of Mark skips over the first 30 years of Jesus’ life, but these years were all needed for His human preparation for His life’s work. Jesus must have grown to sympathize with a human’s daily toil. Surely, He wrestled, like Jacob, with life’s problems and fought many battles in the arena of His heart. Certainly, He meditated on the needs of His nation until His mental anguish almost consumed Him.
Preparation in life is always needed. Jesus’ life illustrated this. The foundations of a lighthouse are necessary, though they are unseen beneath the surface. A plant sends its roots into the dark soil before it can bring forth a flower and leaf. Look at the 40 years Moses spent in the desert before he started his great work; the long period Elijah spent before he appeared before King Ahab; the early years Amos spent on a farm; the 30 years of training that John the Baptist went through. So it was with Jesus! He spent 30 years in obscurity in Nazareth before He appeared for three years of public ministry.
Preparation by a Messenger
This Gospel begins with John the Baptist making people ready for the coming of the Messiah. John’s coming was in fulfillment of a messianic prophecy: “I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Mark 1:2).
This quotation refers to Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. In Isaiah, the messenger is known simply as “a voice”: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). It is this “voice” that was to announce Jesus Christ.”
Preparation by Baptism
John and Jesus met one day. John recognized immediately that this Man was not someone who needed the baptism of repentance that he was preaching.
Jesus was, however, baptized with John’s baptism in order to obey a divine order: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Jesus set a seal of approval on John’s message and work, and acknowledged him as His own true forerunner. The baptism by John was ordered by God and therefore was necessary for all those who acknowledged God and meant to keep His commandments.
Because Christ was the standard for and an example of righteousness, He would fulfill every duty that He required of others, including being baptized (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Preparation by Receiving the Holy Spirit
“And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him” (Mark 1:10). The Spirit descended, not only in the manner of a dove, but also in the bodily shape of a dove (see Luke 3:22).
Because Jesus went down into the baptismal water of obedience to God, He came up under an opened sky with the Holy Spirit descending upon Him
Preparation by a Divine Call
“There came a voice from heaven” (Mark 1:11).
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
Preparation by Testing
Baptism and temptation are here crowded together. Hardly had the voice from heaven died away then we hear a whisper from hell.
Mark says, “And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness,” which shows how quickly the Spirit moves (Mark 1:12). “Immediately” indicates continuity, showing that temptation was as much a part of the preparation of the servant for His work as His baptism. Suffering and trials are as much God’s plan as thrills and triumphs. Jesus was “sent” to be tempted. It was no accident or evil fate but a divine appointment.
MARK 1:14–8:30—THE SERVANT WORKING
As mentioned earlier, there is a continuous, unbroken service of the servant recorded in this Gospel. We read, “And He did this. And He said that.” He must teach people; they were in darkness. He must cheer people; they were without hope. He must heal people; they were sick and suffering. He must free people; they were under the power of Satan. He must pardon and cleanse people; they were sinful.
We see Jesus preaching by the seashore and selecting four of the fishermen to become His first disciples to learn under His guidance how to become “fishers of men” (Mark 1:26). They were to take all their practical knowledge and skill used to catch fish and use them to catch men and women.
It is interesting to note that Jesus never called any idle person. He called busy and successful people to follow Him. Any business can be adapted to be used in service for Christ. How was Christ’s call received? “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him” (Mark 1:18). Too often there is time lost between our call and our coming; our doing lags far behind our duty.
The Servant Observes Sabbath
Mark records a wonderful statement concerning the Sabbath: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). This great saying by Jesus is the central principle of Sabbath observance. The Sabbath is not made to annoy humankind, to confine them, to impoverish them, but to enrich and bless them!”
The Servant Heals
In Mark, Jesus appears at once as one “anointed . . . with power” and as fully engaged in His work (Acts 10:38).
Demons were cast out (see Mark 1:21-28); fever banished (see Mark 1:29-31); different diseases healed (see Mark 1:32-34); lepers made whole (see Mark 1:40-45); a paralytic man made to walk (see Mark 2:1-12); a withered hand cured (see Mark 3:1-5); multitudes healed (see Mark 3:6-12); storm at sea quelled (see Mark 4:35-41); maniac’s mind restored (see Mark 5:1-15); woman’s hemorrhage stopped (see Mark 5:21-34); Jairus’s daughter brought back to life (see Mark 5:35-43); five thousand fed (see Mark 6:32-44); the sea made into His sidewalk (see Mark 6:45-51); all that touched Him were made whole (see Mark 6:53-56); the deaf heard and the dumb spoke (see Mark 7:31-37); four thousand fed (see Mark 8:1-9); a blind man healed (see Mark 8:22-26).
The miracles of Jesus showed that He was the promised Redeemer and King, the One we all need. Because Jesus was God, miracles were as natural to Him as acts of will are to us! Through His miracles, Jesus inspired faith in many of those who saw and heard Him.
The Servant Prays
The morning following the great Sabbath day of preaching and healing, Jesus rose very early and went out of the city to a lonely place and prayed (see Mark 1:35). His work was growing rapidly, and Jesus needed communion with heaven, an intimate conversation with God.
Jesus wasn't talking to another, separate entity. Jesus was manifesting the proper way for humanity to touch heaven. He was bridge between man and God.
The Servant Forgives Sin
“Who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7), the people said. Sins are against God and, therefore, He only can forgive. Jesus said, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” (Mark 2:10-11).
Jesus performed miracles, to build faith for their forgiveness! An outward manifestation to prepare an inward dedication.
The Servant Teaches
We find the account of choosing the 12 apostles in Mark 3:13-21. Notice the fourteenth verse; it tells why Jesus chose these men: “that they should be with him.” This is what Jesus wants of His disciples today—that they will take time to be in His presence and communicate with Him. In John 15:15, He says, “Henceforth I call you not servants. . . . I have called you friends.”
MARK 8:31–15—THE SERVANT REJECTED
Even before Mark sets forth Christ’s direct claim to be King of the kingdom, he reveals the way the King is to be received. Jesus said, “The Son of man must suffer many things” (Mark 8:31):
• He is to be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes (see Mark 8:31).
• He is to be delivered by treachery (see Mark 9:31).
• He is to be put to death by the Romans (see Mark 10:32-45).
• He is to rise again the third day (see Mark 9:31).”
MARK 16: THE SERVANT EXALTED
After the servant had given His life as a ransom for many, He rose from the dead. Compare the two versions of the Great Commission (see Mark 16:15; see also Matthew 28:19-20).
In Mark we do not hear a King say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” as in Matthew (Matthew 28:18). In Mark we see in Jesus’ words that His disciples are to take His place, and He will serve in and through them. He is still the servant, though risen (see Mark 16:20). The command for service resounds with urgency. Not a corner of the world is to be left unvisited, not a soul to be left out!”
Excerpts From: Dr. Henrietta C. Mears. “What the Bible Is All About KJV.”
Introduction to the New Testament:
This gospel is known as the Gospel of Matthew because, according to Church tradition from at least the second century AD, the apostle Matthew wrote it. The style of the book is exactly what would be expected of a man who was once a tax collector. Matthew has a keen interest in accounting, and the book is very orderly and concise (see Matthew 18:23-24; 25:14-15).
As an apostle, Matthew wrote this book during the early period of the Church, possibly AD 50 or earlier, when the gospel was only preached to Jewish people and not yet to Gentiles (see Acts 11:19). This was a time when most Christians were Jewish messianic believers, so Matthew’s focus is on the Jewish perspective of Jesus as the Messiah promised to the Jewish people.
PURPOSE AND SUMMARY:
This Gospel is the most complete account of Jesus’ teachings and was written to convince the writer’s Jewish audience that Jesus was the Messiah descended from David, the One promised by the Old Testament prophets. The most significant teaching passages in the Gospel of Matthew are the Sermon on the Mount (5–7) and the parable sections of the book (especially chapter 13).
MATTHEW 1–2: BIRTH OF THE KING
Matthew is the Gospel of the Messiah, God’s anointed One. The main purpose of the Spirit in this book is to show that Jesus of Nazareth is the predicted Messiah, the Deliverer of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). He is the child that was to be born, the Son given, of whom Isaiah said, “shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
The Record of Jesus’ Birth -
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king” (Matthew 2:1; see also Micah 5:2). We know this place and this king. We don’t have to pretend that this place or this person existed. Christianity is a historical religion. The Gospel does not begin with “Once upon a time” but starts with “Bethlehem of Judaea” (Matthew 2:1). The town is there, so we can visit the actual place where Jesus was born. Herod was a real person, because ancient historians wrote about him and archaeologists have found proof of him.
The History of Jesus' Line -
A genealogy is the history of the descent of an individual or family from an ancestor. The two genealogies of Christ given by Matthew and Luke are not alike, however, because each author has a different goal in mind as he traces the descent of Christ:
• Matthew traces Jesus’ line back to Abraham and David to show that He was a Jew (coming from David)—Luke traces Jesus’ line back to Adam to show that He belonged to the human race.
• Matthew shows Jesus as of royal descent, the King, the Messiah, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the promised ruler of Israel—Luke shows that Jesus has a human lineage; He is the ideal man, born of woman.
Go through Matthew and follow this trail of the King:
1. The King’s name—“They shall call his name Emmanuel” (Matthew 1:23).
2. The King’s position—“Out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” (Matthew 2:6).
3. The King’s announcement—“Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:3).
4. The King’s coronation—“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
5. The King’s due respect—“Worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).
6. The King’s proclamation—“And he opened his mouth, and taught them” (Matthew 5:2). “He taught them as one having authority” (Matthew 7:29).
7. The King’s loyalty—“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30).
8. The King’s enemies—“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21).
9. The King’s love—“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
10. The King’s glory—“When the Son of Man shall come . . . then shall the King say . . . come, ye blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you” (Matthew 25:31-34).
11. The King’s sacrifice—“And they crucified him. . . . And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:35-37).
12. The King’s victory—“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6).”
MATTHEW 3–16:20: PROCLAMATION OF THE KINGDOM
John the Baptist had another name. As the prophet Isaiah began to unfold the real message of his book—the coming of the Messiah, servant of Jehovah—he introduced a character known simply as “the voice”: “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).
This voice, although unnamed in Isaiah, is to announce the coming of Jesus Christ. His two functions—that of voice and that of messenger—are all that the Old Testament tells us of John the Baptist (see Malachi 3:1). But it actually tells us a lot. It is indeed wonderful, not only that Christ should have been foretold all through the Scriptures, but also that His forerunner, John the Baptist, also is described.
In Matthew’s Gospel we hear the “voice”: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:2-3).
The King’s Power -
We find the King worked amazing special miracles (Matthew 8–9). He met human needs. There are 12 astonishing miracles in these two chapters. After Jesus had performed the miracles recorded in chapter 12, “all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?” (Matthew 12:23).
The critical teachers of the law now thrust themselves into the scene and pass their hostile judgment on the actions of Jesus (see Matthew 9:3).
The King’s Cabinet
Jesus not only preached Himself, but He also gathered others around Him to preach. It was necessary to organize His kingdom in order to reach a wider audience and establish it on a more permanent basis. A king must have subjects who would reflect His light. He told His disciples, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).”
The Kingdom of Heaven -
The word “kingdom” occurs more than 55 times in Matthew, for this is the Gospel of the King. The expression “kingdom of heaven” is found more than 30 times here and nowhere else in the Gospels. Most of the 15 parables recorded in Matthew begin with the phrase “The kingdom of heaven is like.”
Matthew 13, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to several different things:
• A harvest of wheat separated from weeds
• A mustard seed that grew into a tree
• Yeast worked through the dough
• A treasure hidden in a field
• A pearl of great value
• A net full of fish from which the bad have been thrown away
MATTHEW 16:21–20: REJECTION OF THE KING
The sad story reads that Christ “came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). The gospel of the Kingdom was first preached to those who should have been most prepared, the children of Israel. And although many came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, the majority of the people rejected their King. From Matthew 12 on we see much controversy among the leaders concerning Jesus.
The Church’s Universal Call -
In Matthew 16, we find Jesus with His disciples in Caesarea Philippi. Apparently Jesus wanted to have a private time with His disciples so that He could tell them about something important: His Church.
Only in Matthew’s Gospel is the Church named. When the Kingdom was rejected, we find a change in the teachings of Jesus. He began to talk about the Church instead of the Kingdom (see Matthew 16:18). “Church” comes from the word ecclesia, which means “called-out ones.” Because all people would not believe in Him, Christ said He was calling out everyone, Jew or Gentile, to belong to His Church, which is His Body. He began to build a new edifice, a new united body of people (see Ephesians 2:14-18).
Life’s Most Important Question -
When they were far away from the busy scene in which they lived, Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13).
Life’s Most Important Answer -
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” exclaimed the impulsive, fervent Peter (Matthew 16:16). This answer claims that Christ is the Messiah, the fulfillment of the prophecies of the old Hebrew prophets. This confession is great because it exalts Christ as the Son of God and lifts Him above humanity and crowns Him with deity. From now on He reveals to this handful of disciples new truths about His teachings.
After this answer concerning who He was, He said to Peter and the disciples, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). This is what Christ was going to do—build a Church of which He Himself was to be the chief cornerstone (see Ephesians 2:20). This Church was born on Pentecost (see Acts 2).
MATTHEW 21–28: TRIUMPH OF THE KING
On the morning of Palm Sunday, there was a stir in Bethany and along the road leading to Jerusalem. It was understood that Jesus was to enter the city that day. Crowds of people were gathering. A colt was procured; and the disciples, having thrown their robes over it, placed Jesus upon it, and the procession started.
This little parade could not compare in magnificence with any procession at the coronation of a king or the inauguration of a president; but it meant much more for the world. Jesus for the first time permitted a public recognition and celebration of His rights as Messiah-King. The end was approaching with awful swiftness, and He must offer Himself as the Messiah, even if only to be rejected.
The Death and Resurrection of the King -
Up until this point, we have learned about some of the highlights in the life of Jesus; now we step into the shadows as we enter Gethsemane. We see the Son of Abraham, the sacrifice, dying so that all the nations of the earth will be blessed by Him. Jesus was slain because He was named “the King of Israel” (Matthew 27:42). He was raised from the dead because He was the King of all (see Acts 2:30-36).
Although a large number of disciples believed in Jesus and followed Him, the opposition of the religious leaders was bitter and they determined to put Him to death. On the grounds of blasphemy and of claiming to be the King of the Jews (the latter making Himself the enemy of the Roman emperor), Jesus was condemned by Pilate to be crucified.
The Great Price of Redemption -
Jesus was put in Joseph’s tomb, and on the third day He rose, as He had said He would. This is the supreme test of His kingship. People thought He was dead and His kingdom had failed. But by His resurrection, Christ assured His disciples that the King still lived and that one day He will come back to establish His kingdom on earth.
The ascension of Jesus is not recorded in Matthew.
The curtain falls with the Messiah still on earth, for it is on earth that the Son of David is yet to reign in glory. The last time the Jews saw Christ, He was on the Mount of Olives. The next time they see Him, He will again be on the Mount of Olives (see Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:11).
The Commission for All Disciples -
Matthew closes his Gospel with Jesus’ climactic announcement of His great commission:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
From: Dr. Henrietta C. Mears. “What the Bible Is All About KJV.”
The Bible is a book, written by men, inspired by God, tested through time and verified by our faith.
II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Bible was written in different countries and cultures, without a single contradiction.
The Bible was written by kings, fishermen, poets, teachers, prophets, government officials, doctors, and underprivileged people.
The Bible contains the oldest and most reliable records of ancient history ever written.
Some doubt the Bible:
If you doubt the validity of something, the most common solution to resolving the question, is to study and test it's message.
This is exactly what generations have done over and over, and yet still today, millions of Christians trust all 66 books of the Bible to be the actual Word of God!
Time and again, its narratives have been shown to contain a remarkably accurate account of people, places and events of bygone ages.
The Bible is published in over 2,000 languages and dialects, and the number of Bibles produced far surpasses anything ever printed and published in the history of mankind. It remains the world’s best- selling book every year.
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek:
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, the Jews original language.
Bible historians tell us that the Jews language changed from primarily Hebrew to Greek, due to the hundreds of years of foreign invasion.
Therefore, the New Testament was originally written in Greek, the most common language in the time surrounding Jesus and His church.
The King James Bible:
In the year 1611, one of the most popular and accurate Bible translations was published into English.
This was a literal word transfer, as well as why so many have a hard time reading in the King James Version, in comparison to some of the more modern versions.
We recommend using the KJV for study, along side more modern versions, for simple comprehension.
Think of it like this -
Reading a modern version, is like paraphrasing the King James Version to your friends, so they will understand it better.
The problem with the paraphrasing, is that it puts all interpretation in the hands of the paraphraser.
This is why we study the Bible and not just read the Bible . . .
In order to extract the truth from the Bible, we must -