Bible Study Note: Mark Gets Ahead of Himself [Akin]


There are places in the Gospel of Mark where he “gets ahead of himself,” telling us one part of the story and then going back to fill in what we need to understand it.

And example is when he exorcizes the Gerasene demoniac. He writes:

6And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;7and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”

8*For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” [Mark 5:6-9]

Notice how verse 8 provides the explanation for the material before it. Jesus had**already* begun to perform the exorcism when the demon cried out.

This is a characteristic of Mark’s style, which is a little breathless. He’s so excited to tell the story that he gets a little ahead and sometimes needs to fill the audience in on the back story. (He also uses the word “immediately” constantly, as well as joining many clauses with “and,” and describes past events in the present tense–all of which create a driving sense of forward momentum in the plot.)

Sometime I should try to catalog all of the places where Mark does this.



Yes. I see your point. He remembers the key event, then goes back and fill in the details.

Does this indicate that it was originally designed as an orally preached Gospel that was then written down as it was preached ? It would be very unlikely to construct a written Gospel in this haphazard format, yet it is common in an excited speech.

I know, because I always give the punch line first and then try to explain why it was supposed to be funny. It never works.

Here is a partial list:

Mark 1:22
“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”

Mark 2:3-4
 “And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him”

Mark 3:4-5
“And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

Mark 3:7-12 Verse 10
“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.”

Mark 3:22-29 ?
“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-elzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” …
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Mark 5:2-5 Verse 4 (2x)
“And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; 4 for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.”

Mark 5:6-9 Verse 8
“And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”

Mark 5:25-30 Verse 26, 28
“And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” 29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?”



Mark 6:14-29 Verse 14, 16, 17 (2x), 18, 19, 20, 21
“And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 15Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. 17For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. 18For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19Therefore Herodias had a quarreld against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: 20For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed hime; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. 21And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; 22And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. … And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commandedf his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.”

Mark 6:30-32
“The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.”

Mark 9:33 -35
“And they came to Caperna-um; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 10:21-22 Verse 22
“And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

Mark 12:1-12
“And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 2 When the time came, he sent … another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. … He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others…
12 And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them; so they left him and went away.”

Mark 12:42-44
“And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.

Mark 13:14 -20
“But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; 15 let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away; 16 and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. 17 And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 **For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation **which God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.”

Mark 15:6 -10
“Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he was wont to do for them. 9 And he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.”




Mark 16:1-8 Verse 1, 8
“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. … they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples … And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

Mark 16:14
“Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”


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