The lion of St Mark


Chapter 2: Overview

We can begin by reading through chapter 2 and then continuing on into chapter 3, as far as verse 6. How does 2,1 form a new beginning? Why is there is an important conclusion at 3,6? Compare too 1,45 and 3,7-8

Then look at the various incidents between 2,1 and 3,6. How many are there?

From this, there a number of questions arise. Do your best with them and the information I give before looking at my answers in the response.

What therefore 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 of these episodes 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 stories. 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 being heard frequently. Appreciating this background helps us to ask the right questions.

Having therefore had a good go at all this, it will be time to 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.