Spring Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark

by The Rev. Daniel P Strandlund on January 14, 2021
Our spring bible study will be on Wednesdays at 7pm via Zoom and will focus on the Gospel of Mark.  We will begin this Wednesday, January 20th at 7pm, and we’ll go for roughly an hour.  The Zoom link is included below in this newsletter.  Further details:
 
We did two bible studies in 2020.  The first, on Romans, was teaching heavy and a proper study.  The second engaged a variety of scriptural narratives and was deliberately more participatory and reflective.  Our Mark study will include both.  Our seminarian, Krista Heuett, will also lead occasionally as part of her internship work.
 
I am waiting to hear back for formal permission from Bp Reed, but I am hoping to swap, extend and otherwise finagle our Sunday morning Gospel passages so as to (almost) read Mark start to finish, deviating from a continuous Mark progression only for the really big days Palm Sunday, Easter, Pentecost, etc.  So, our Wednsday bible study texts will hopefully coincide with our worship texts for the following Sunday.  I’ll also be focusing some on Mark in these newsletters.  I’ll just go ahead and name that the possibility of all this bible study + lectionary coordination makes my slightly obsessive heart very, very happy J
 
We’re in the Gospel of Mark all year long in our Sunday lectionary regardless, so our study will take as long as we need, and we’ll take weeks off here and there, too.  You are welcome to jump in and out of this bible study as you like, week in and week out! 
 
The best way to maximize your own experience of Mark’s Gospel is to sit down at some point over the next few weeks and read the whole Gospel of Mark in one sitting, stopping at the end of 16:8.  (For reasons we’ll discover in our study, 16:8 is properly the last verse.)  To recite the whole Gospel would take about two hours, so if reading it in one go is just out of the question, try splitting it in half: read 1:1 through 8:21, and then at your next sitting, read 8:22-16:8.
 
Throughout our study, we’ll be trying to hear Mark’s Gospel with the same ears Mark’s first hearers would’ve had.  Mark’s first audience would’ve heard this Gospel as a single, oral performance told start to finish by a traveling evangelist.  Nowadays, however, we tend to hear bits of the Gospel in little segments on Sunday mornings.  Familiarizing ourselves with it as a single story to be read start to finish can help not only to teach us about the original audience’s perspective, but also to reveal new insights in our own day, giving new depth and context to our smaller lectionary slices.
 
Finally, if you’re a studious type and would like an accompanying text to help you on your way, I recommend Mark as Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel by Rhoads, Dewey, and Michie (3rd edition).  You can find it on Amazon at this link.    Mark as Story can helpful for those of us who are new to approaching Mark’s Gospel as a single coherent whole.  It includes chapters on Mark’s setting, plot, and the ‘main characters’ as Mark imagines them.
 
God’s Peace,
 
 
Fr. Daniel+
 
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