The lion of St Mark

THE GOSPEL OF MARK

Chapter 2: Overview

Begin by reading through chapter 2 but then continue on into chapter 3, as far as verse 6. How does 2,1 form a new beginning? Why do I think there is an important conclusion at 3,6? Compare too 1,45 and 3,7-8

Then we need to count the number of incidents are there between 2,1 and 3,6. Having done that, a number of questions arise. Do your best with them and the information I have given before going to my answers in the response.

What is characteristic of these stories, what is the change of tone that makes them different to those of the first chapter? How does the tone progress and develop as the stories unfold and lead up to 3,6?
Which episode might be seen as the central story? What marks it out from the other stories? Can you find any further links between the stories on either side? (A good way to do this is to write out the episodes in two columns with the middle story between them.)
There is also a theme (and a contrast) common to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th story. Can you spot it?

An Oral Background

These may not be easy questions if we are coming to them for the first time. As I will be explaining a bit more, the Gospels are the product of an oral culture. People were far better at listening and remembering than we are today. With this came a number of techniques which made the remembering easier, especially when the stories were heard frequently. Appreciating this background helps us to ask the right questions.

Having therefore had a good go at all this, now take a look at my response.

Having set the scene, we are ready to move on to the chapter itself. Each episode gives us a separate page for our reading. The last one (3,1-6) we will read as part of chapter 3. Let us now begin with the first episode, 2,1-12.