Who Wrote the Gospel of Mark?

St Mark and Peter

St. Mark Writes his Evangelium at the Dictation of St. Peter, Pasquale Ottino, 17th Century

The Christian church teaches that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are accurate historical accounts of the teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  According to the church, these documents were written by direct eyewitnesses to the events recorded, or by people who captured the first-hand testimony of eyewitnesses.

Some argue that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, but were instead compiled by anonymous editors several generations after the fact.  However, significant evidence favors the church’s point of view.  In this article, we explore the evidence for Mark’s gospel.

Who Was Mark and When Did He Write?

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Busted (14): Mark’s “Error” Regarding Jewish Handwashing Rituals

Washing-handsCritics are fond of claiming that the gospels are full of historical errors, and that they are therefore unreliable as historical documents.  Today’s article focuses on an alleged error in Mark’s gospel.  Let’s get started by allowing biblical scholar, Bart Ehrman, to enlighten us regarding Mark’s ineptitude as an historian:

Mark 7:3 indicates that the Pharisees ‘and all the Jews’ washed their hands before eating, so as to observe ‘the tradition of the elders.’ This is not true: most Jews did not engage in this ritual.1

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Busted (13):  On Mark’s (& Matthew’s) Geographical Ineptitude

Mark Coptic IconIn this short article, we tackle yet another alleged error in the Gospel of Mark (and address the same “error” in Matthew’s gospel, as well).  Let’s dive right in by reading the first verse in question, Mark 10:1 (NIV):

 Jesus then left that place [Capernaum, in Galilee] and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

 Some critics have argued that this verse contains a geographical error because it says that Jesus went from Capernaum, across the Jordan, and into Judea.  That’s impossible, we are told, because Judea is not actually across the Jordan river from Capernaum…They’re both on the same side of the river. Continue reading

Busted (12): Mark’s Alleged Geographical Ignorance

In this article, we tackle an alleged error in the Gospel of Mark.  Critics point to this “error” as clear evidence that Mark’s gospel was not actually written by Mark.  Let’s see if the argument is persuasive.

The passage in question is Mark 7:31, which describes the route that Jesus took on one of his travels.  Here’s the verse:

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Before we dive into the alleged error, it would be helpful to view Jesus’ route on a map.  As you can see in figure 1, Jesus would have left the vicinity of Tyre, then travelled north, seemingly about 15-20 miles out of his way, before turning south and heading towards the region of the Decapolis. Continue reading

Contradictions (6):  Jairus’ Daughter

“Raising of Jairus’ Daughter” by Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov, 1871

“Raising of Jairus’ Daughter” by Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov, 1871

Continuing with our series on gospel “contradictions,” today we look at the account of Jairus’ daughter.  Jairus was a Jewish elder whose daughter became very ill and died.  Immediately, Jairus asked Jesus if he could heal her.  According to both gospel accounts, Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter back to life.  However, critics point out an apparent contradiction between the accounts in Mark and Matthew.  This alleged contradiction is extremely minor, but it seems to be important to some people.  So, here goes… Continue reading

Busted (10): Mark’s Bad Geography?

Image credit: Map adapted from one created by Ralph F. Wilson, pastor@joyfulheart.com

Image credit: Map adapted from one created by Ralph F. Wilson, pastor@joyfulheart.com

Throughout our ongoing Busted series, we’ve been exploring critics’ claims that the gospels are full of historical and geographical errors, and are therefore untrustworthy sources of information.  So far, the gospel writers are coming out looking pretty good.

In today’s short article, we tackle a totally nit-picky, never-should-have-been-made accusation against Mark. The verse in Question is Mark 11:1 (ESV): Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 6: Tear Down This Temple

Driving of the Merchants from the Temple, Scarsellino, 1580-1585

Driving of the Merchants from the Temple, Scarsellino, 1580-1585

This is the sixth installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

Tear Down This Temple

In this article, we’ll consider an undesigned coincidence between Mark 14:57-58, Mark 15:29-30, and John 2:18-20. Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 3: Feeding of the 5,000

feeding 5000This is the third installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

Feeding of the 5,000

In this article, we offer you a two-for-one deal.  Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 1: Healing at Peter’s House

Christ healing the mother-in-law of Simon Peter

On this blog, we spend a lot of time shooting down the criticisms, myths, and outright lies that anti-Christian authors spread about Christianity and the gospels.  This upcoming series of short articles (about 10-12) does not focus on the critics.

Instead, it focuses on one type of positive evidence for historical accuracy: Undesigned coincidences within the gospels. Continue reading